Asus ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) review: An improved dual-screen design, but usability issues persist Review

Asus is identified for its ZenBook laptops with next screens, which are either included into the trackpad or, as in the new ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482), deployed complete-width, pushing the keyboard down into what would generally be the wrist-relaxation place. The Duo 14 (UX482) provides hardware and software package improvements over the earlier product, but is it far more usable than its predecessor, and does it provide very good value for its quality selling price tag (£1,399 inc. VAT with 16GB RAM in the UK, $1,299.99 with 8GB in the US)? 

Outwardly, the ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) doesn’t glimpse just about anything particular. The blue/gray clamshell technique with its trademark concentric circles on the lid, radiating out from a silver Asus marque, is standard plenty of. The desktop footprint is acceptable for a 14-inch laptop at 32.40cm extensive by 22.20cm deep, and it is an suitable 1.69-1.73cm thick. 

This Intel Evo-confirmed laptop’s core specifications expose a capable technique: my review unit experienced an eleventh technology Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.

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The Asus ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) is a perfectly-specified 14-inch laptop (eleventh-gen Main i7, up to 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, discrete Nvidia GPU selection), but its critical attribute is the 12.sixty five-inch SceenPad Moreover, which tilts up when the most important monitor is opened.


Illustrations or photos: Asus

So considerably, so typical. But raise this unit up to carry it all over and you may sense the variance: at 1.62kg it is quite large for a 14-inch laptop. The reason for this is straight away apparent when you elevate the lid: a complete-width next monitor sits in the place that would generally be occupied by the upper rows of the keyboard, pushing the keyboard down so that you will find no wrist relaxation place. The touchpad is also displaced to the suitable aspect of the keyboard. 

This ScreenPad Plus will make or crack the Asus ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482). It is really a contact-responsive IPS panel measuring 12.sixty five inches across the diagonal and about three.twenty five inches deep, with a resolution of 1,920 by 515 pixels (157.1ppi). When you open up the lid, the ScreenPad Moreover routinely hinges up to sit at a slight angle. When I last appeared at this configuration in the fifteen.six-inch ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581), the monitor sat flat. This slight uplift has a key impact on usability, making it a great deal much easier to see what the monitor is displaying when you’re seated at a desk or desk. 

The ScreenPad Moreover features as a companion to the most important monitor, and simply because of its size and overall flexibility it is remarkably handy. Asus has worked on the software package, and the two overall flexibility and abilities are enhanced over the earlier product. 

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You can drag a window from most important monitor downwards to fall it on to the ScreenPad Moreover, or you can hit a Fn critical and deliver whatever’s on the most important monitor to the next monitor. If you’ve experienced two open up home windows aspect by aspect, for instance, and have to have to continue to keep them open up but want to work into a third, they can be quickly shifted out of the way, but still be retained visible. You can also maximise an application window so that it spans the two screens, offering an elevated vertical viewing place. 

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Launcher: the ScreenPad Plus’s command panel.


Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The ScreenPad Moreover has its possess software package, which opens up even more uses. The left edge of the next monitor has a vertical row of contact-responsive command buttons, most of which offer you simple details or operation tweaks. For instance, you can adjust the screen’s brightness, set up a backlink in between your cell phone and the ScreenPad Moreover to use the pad to make calls, lock and unlock the keyboard so you do not unintentionally tap at keys when you’re working in contact-monitor manner (the two screens are contact responsive), and look at a fast guideline to applying the ScreenPad Moreover. 

There’s also a button that opens the ‘Launcher’. This is a mini-command panel that offers entry to a variety of applications and attributes, such as a range pad. There’s a handwriting recognition tool, and you can operate companion applications — Asus offers the Spotify app as a taster. 

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Handwriting: one particular of the Asus ScreenPad Moreover applications available via the Launcher.


Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

A attribute referred to as QuickKey offers you contact entry to selections within just purposes: for instance, if you commonly complete a selection of monitor faucets or menu decisions to get a little something done, you can automate them into a solitary one particular-tap on-monitor critical. 

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Undertaking Team lets you launch collections of applications in particular layouts on the most important monitor and the secondary ScreenPad Moreover.


Illustrations or photos: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Mindful that resourceful types may be drawn to the ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482), you will find also an app referred to as Command Panel which offers controls for a selection of graphics-relevant purposes. It works with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Traditional, Premiere Pro and Just after Consequences. 

Finally, you can set up what Asus calls ‘task groups’, which are teams of up to seven purposes that can be launched at the tap of an icon. The secondary monitor can cope with up to three applications, with up to 4 on the most important monitor.

Talking of the most important monitor, this is a 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080, 157.3ppi) contact-enabled IPS panel with a matte anti-glare finish. It is really sharp and vibrant, and snug to look at, displaying a hundred% of the sRGB color gamut and boasting Pantone validation. If the most important monitor is all you have to have, the ScreenPad Moreover can be toggled off with a Purpose critical to save the battery.

For all its expansive suggestions and attributes, the ScreenPad Moreover does cause some usability troubles when it arrives to the keyboard and touchpad. Vital action is fantastic, and when you will find some flex in the keyboard it just isn’t worrisome. But the keyboard is uncomfortable to use. The absence of a wrist relaxation has an adverse effect on comfort and ease and usability. Asus points out that its ‘ErgoLift’ hinge system tilts the keyboard to a four.five-diploma angle for what, on its web page, it describes ‘ergonomic, tiredness-no cost typing’.

However, the tumble from the entrance of the keyboard to the desktop is about 12mm, and resting the wrists at the angle made by this fall feels not comfortable. Anyone wanting to use the Asus ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) may perhaps profit from a individual wrist relaxation, but of course this is only practical for desktop use, not when working with the ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) on your lap. Constrained desktop place out there on railway or airplane tables may perhaps also preclude applying a individual wrist relaxation. 

The keyboard is to some degree small and squished — a function of obtaining to compress it to make place for the touchpad to its suitable. My typical contact-typing speed was marginally lowered simply because of all this. 

The touchpad brings its possess troubles. It is really taller than it is extensive, which just isn’t a especially handy condition for controlling the cursor on a landscape-manner monitor. Also, its positioning on the suitable-hand aspect of the keyboard does left-handers no favours. 

The Harman Kardon speakers provide very good quantity with nearly no distortion, even when turned up to the utmost. Excellent information for creators, presenters and typical online video simply call attendees. 

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As described earler, the ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) runs on an Intel Main i7-1165G7 processor. There is an selection for discrete Nvidia GeForce MX450 graphics, but my review unit relied on Intel’s integrated Iris Xe graphics. There is 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. With all that heading on, it is to some degree shocking that the running technique is Home windows 10 Property (although the spec sheet states that Asus ‘recommends’ Home windows 10 Pro). There’s no fingerprint sensor for biometric login, quite possibly owing to lack of area all over the keyboard place – although arguably it could have been achievable to embed it into the power button that sits above the touchpad. In its place, biometric authentication is catered for by Windows Hi there facial recognition via the IR-geared up webcam, which, sadly, doesn’t profit from a privateness shutter. 

The tilt of the ScreenPad Moreover offers a major area beneath it for air circulation and cooling, but still I discovered the ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) ran marginally warm even when it was idling. 

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Correct aspect (top rated): MicroSD card reader three.5mm audio jack USB three.two. Left aspect (above): HDMI 2x Thunderbolt four USB-C.


Illustrations or photos: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Asus has discovered place for a MicroSD card reader on the suitable aspect — a handy attribute for creators who may perhaps have to have to transfer stills or footage from a digital digital camera. There’s also a USB three.two port and a three.5mm audio jack on this aspect, when the left aspect houses a complete-size HDMI port and two Thunderbolt four USB-C ports. You charge the laptop via USB-C, leaving just one particular of these ports no cost when the battery is receiving a strengthen. 

Asus claims up to 17 hrs of daily life for the 70Wh battery, which is a great deal looking at that two screens are currently being powered. My exam associated leaving the next monitor on and working across the two screens, operating mainstream workloads involving world-wide-web applications and media streaming, with social feeds or other applications in the ScreenPad Moreover all through. Beneath this regime the battery commonly dropped from a hundred% to 67% over three hrs, suggesting battery daily life of all over nine hrs — a complete working working day, but nowhere in close proximity to Asus’s assert.  

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Impression: Asus

Conclusions

The exceptional advertising stage of the Asus ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) is its next monitor, and the excess viewing place and software package attributes supplied by the ScreenPad Moreover may perhaps have attractiveness, especially to resourceful consumers. Nevertheless, these benefits are offset by a compressed keyboard, the lack of a wrist relaxation and the suitable-aligned, portrait-manner touchpad, all of which compromise usability.

The ZenBook Duo 14 (UX482) is a capable laptop, but its exceptional attributes involve trade-offs, and prospective buyers will have to come to a decision whether or not or not all those trade-offs work for them. 

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