The embargo for the Nvidia RTX 3000 series GPUs for laptops has finally been lifted, so here’s our hands-on of the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE. Powered by the beefiest GPU in the lineup, the RTX 3080, this is one serious gaming powerhouse.
If you want one of the most powerful gaming laptops in the market now, the Zephyrus Duo is a great option. Of course, given that this is a high-end, premium gaming machine, you do have to fork out a large sum of money for it – more on that further down this hands-on.
Since performance is the highlight of the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE, let’s get to that first. This laptop can be configured with an RTX 3070 or a more powerful RTX 3080 GPU, but in this hands-on, we’re testing the latter. As the most powerful GPU option for laptops right now, the RTX 3080 can keep up with any game that I throw at it.
Since this variant of the Zephyrus Duo is equipped with a 4K screen, I ran the games below with maxed out graphics settings at 4K resolution. Granted, this laptop GPU can’t quite match the performance of the desktop-class RTX 3080 graphics card, but hey, these are impressive figures nonetheless.
|Games (max settings @ 4K)||Average FPS|
|Genshin Impact (1.5 render resolution, locked at 60fps)||60.358|
|Borderlands 3 (DX11)||38.01|
|Witcher 3 (HairWorks disabled)||55.948|
|Processor||Single-core test||Multi-core test|
|AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX (Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE)||566||5461|
|AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS (Asus ROG Zephyrus G14)||481||4173|
|AMD Ryzen 7 4800H (Asus TUF Gaming A15)||481||4106|
|Intel Core i7-10875H (Acer Predator Triton 500)||483||3773|
Aside from its GPU performance, I ran CineBench R20 on the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE as well to see just how the brand new AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor compares to the Ryzen 4000 series. Judging by the figures above, it definitely brings notable performance gains.
Thermals of the Zephyrus Duo, on the other hand, are reasonably good too considering the beefy hardware under the hood of this laptop. In heated gaming sessions, the RTX 3080 got up to 78°C, while the Ryzen 9 5900HX hit a peak temperature of 90°C – quite a bit more toasty than the GPU. Keep in mind that I got these figures with the laptop set to Turbo mode, where the fans are spinning a lot more frequently (and louder).
Now that we’ve got performance out of the way, let’s talk about other aspects of the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE, such as its sharp 15.6-inch 4K IPS screen with a fast 120Hz refresh rate. Granted, most games can’t take advantage of this refresh rate at 4K resolution, but it is still an absolutely stunning display for both gaming and content consumption.
Now, who can ignore the secondary display underneath the primary one? Just like last time, the ScreenPad Plus is a 14.1-inch 3840 x 1100 touch-enabled screen with a matte finish that props up at an angle when the lid is opened. Truth be told, I wasn’t convinced this secondary display will offer much utility, but after spending some time with the laptop, there were a few times where it came in handy.
Whether it’s to monitor the system’s temperatures or to look at an interactive map of Genshin Impact while I’m farming for certain materials in the game, the ScreenPad Plus is…surprisingly useful.
And then the have the keyboard of the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer a lot of key travel, which makes for a shallow typing experience. Thankfully enough, the keys do have a pretty pronounced tactile feedback, so I can still type rather comfortably on this keyboard.
As for the trackpad positioned to the right of the keyboard, it’s surprisingly natural to use. I do wish it was a tad larger for a more comfortable browsing experience, but all in all, it’s quite an accurate trackpad with a smooth surface. Oh, just like its predecessor, the trackpad also doubles as a numpad.
All in all, the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE looks to be a pretty complete gaming laptop with some powerful hardware under the hood. Naturally, this also means it does not come cheap: this particular configuration of the laptop costs a cool RM19,999 in Malaysia, and it’s set to be available here by the end of this month in January 2021. For that kind of money, you do get 2TB of SSD storage and 32GB of RAM.
Alternatively, there’s also the RTX 3070 variant of the Zephyrus Duo, which is more “affordable” at RM12,999. For the most part, it has similar hardware as the RTX 3080 model, though it does come with a lower resolution 15.6-inch 1080p screen – but with a faster 300Hz refresh rate – as well as a 1TB SSD. This model, unlike the higher-end RTX 3080 configuration, will only arrive in Malaysia in the middle of February 2021 next month.
Without a doubt the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE is not an affordable gaming laptop, but this has always been the case for the Taiwanese company’s line of premium Zephyrus gaming machines. If you can look past the high asking price of the Zephyrus Duo – and you like the fact that it has two screens – I reckon you will be very happy with this gaming powerhouse.