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One laptop, two screens. Meet the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo

Remember how Asus launched their own version of the TouchBar when they unveiled the ZenBook Pro? Well, today they’re kicking things up a notch with something called the ZenBook Pro Duo and as its name suggests, the device has effectively two displays.

Asus’ new device is very much still a laptop, but now it comes with something called a 14” full-width 4K ScreenPad Plus touchscreen that the company says will “interact seamlessly” with the main display. From the looks of things, the device has what is effectively a massive touch bar that takes up half of the space usually occupied by the laptop’s keyboard. So, while it stretches the width of the laptop, it isn’t quite like having two primary displays ala-Project Precog, because the ScreenPad Plus has an aspect ratio of 32:9.

With this ScreenPad Plus, Asus says that it’ll offer “endless creative possibilities for content creators”, in the vein of managing workflow and multitasking. This is done with something called ScreenXpert software that will help the secondary display work in tandem with the main display much like the original ScreenPad.

This means that you can use the ScreenPad Plus as a secondary display, switch apps, and set up task groups. With this ScreenPad Plus you can also do stuff like drag your Premiere Pro’s Sequence and tools into the smaller panel so you can use more real estate on the main display to preview your project. Seems useful in theory, considering how limited space usually is on a portable device. It’ll even work with a bundled stylus!

That said, because of the new ScreenPad Plus, the keyboard for this device has been shifted down, while the trackpad has been shifted off to the right. This is reminiscent of Asus’ ROG Zephyrus gaming laptop so it’s either a design you love or hate. I personally can’t get used to a trackpad on the side, but hey at least it doubles as a NumPad.

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Asus has also packed their new ZenBook Pro Duo to the gills with high-end specs. This includes up to an Intel Core i9-9980HK processor, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX2060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM, and up to 1TB of PCIe x4 SSD storage.

The main display on the ZenBook Pro Duo is a 15.6” 4K OLED panel that is also touch sensitive. I personally can’t think of a single laptop on sale right now that features an OLED display, so this is pretty special. The ZenBook Pro Duo also features the company’s NanoEdge bezel so it has an 89% screen-to-body ratio. It is, however, in a 16:9 aspect ratio so you won’t be getting that tall 3:2 on this device, but it does cover 100% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut and supports HDR.

For ports, you’ve got a one Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type A ports, a HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s also a 71Wh lithium polymer battery. One big downside for this ZenBook Pro Duo is the weight because it weighs a whopping 2.5kg.