Asus ZenBook Pro Duo Reimagines The MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar
May 28, 2019 Andrew Cheng

Computex 2019 is upon us, and one of the most interesting new products announced so far comes from Asus. This is the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, and it has two 4K displays: one at the top, and another below the main display, right above the keyboard.

This isn’t the first time we see a similar concept, but the ZenBook Pro Duo does take it further by introducing a much larger secondary display. Asus calls it the ScreenPad Plus, and there are a couple of…interesting use case scenarios for it.

If you think the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar is interesting, this laptop may be right up your alley.

So why would you need a secondary display as big as the one found on the ZenBook Pro Duo? Well, Asus outlined a number of applications for the 14-inch 3840 x 1100 ScreenPad Plus, which are aimed at content creators. You can use the bundled stylus (or any active stylus) to write or draw on the screen, use it as a control panel of sorts, or just simply treat it as extra screen real estate.

In reality, the ScreenPad Plus functions just like any standard secondary display in Windows, and it can be used as an extension of the main display. Alternatively, you can even open separate windows on the ScreenPad – we imagine multitaskers will love this feature.

Moving beyond the ScreenPad Plus, the primary display of the ZenBook Pro Duo is very eye-catching. Much like the secondary screen, the 15.6-inch main display also has 4K resolution, but it is a far more impressive OLED panel. According to Asus, the OLED display has 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut, not to mention very deep blacks and vibrant colours.

On top of that, the ZenBook Pro Duo has very high screen-to-body ratio of 89%, thanks to the minimal bezels on all four sides of the screen. Without a doubt this is a very sleek-looking laptop, and it doesn’t have a display chin like most laptops in today’s market.

Hardware wise, the ZenBook Pro Duo is quite powerful. It packs an Intel Core i9-9980HK or i7-9750H processor paired with up to 32GB of DDR4 2666MHz RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, up to 1TB of fast PCIe SSD storage, and the webcam even has Windows Hello support.

However, all of that hardware really weigh down the laptop. Tipping the scales at 2.5kg, the ZenBook Pro Duo isn’t something you’d want to lug around too long in your backpack. On top of that, measuring 24mm thick, it’s not particularly slim either.

Unfortunately, pricing of the ZenBook Pro Duo has not been revealed yet, but expect it to cost quite a bit. After all, that 4K OLED screen, processor, and GPU combo do not come cheap.

If you want something more affordable, but still offers the same kind of features, there’s the Asus ZenBook Duo. Basically, it’s a smaller version of the Pro model, albeit with some hardware downgrades here and there to keep the price low.

Instead of the Pro variant’s impressive 4K displays, the standard ZenBook Duo only gets a primary 14-inch 1080p display, and a 12.6-inch Full HD ScreenPad Plus. Besides that, you can only equip this model with a Core i7 chip paired with up 16GB of LPDDR3 2133MHz RAM; the GPU is heavily downgraded to an MX250 too.

Even though the regular ZenBook Duo isn’t a very powerful laptop, it makes up for it in portability. Weighing only 1.8kg with a 19mm thin chassis, it’s a much more practical machine for those who are always on the go.

Much like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, we still don’t know how much the ZenBook Duo will retail at. But you won’t have to wait too long to find out: both laptops are set to be available sometime in the third quarter of this year.