There are times when a product seems like a poor idea that would not take off. Just look at the Samsung Galaxy Note series. Practically no other smartphone manufacturers thought putting a stylus is a brilliant idea. But now the Note series are the premier mobile content creation device without a competitor.
ASUS is no stranger to coming out with innovative mobile solutions. Remember the ASUS Padfone, a smartphone that docks onto a tablet that docks onto a keyboard? ASUS is simply ahead of its time. With the Zenbook Pro Duo, ASUS once again offers a comprehensive portable solution for content creators, through an integration of a second display.
Now, the 2021 Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582 addresses some feedback from users. The one outstanding feature is that the secondary display, which ASUS terms “ScreenPad Plus”, automatically tilts up by 9.5 degrees when the laptop unfolds. It achieves a more comfortable viewing with more seamless visuals across both displays.
Everything about the primary display specs screams top-tier: 4K UHD OLED HDR, cinema-grade 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut and Delta-E < 2 colour accuracy PANTONE Validated for professional grade colour accuracy and TÜV Rheinland-certified for eye care. Powered by NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU with 8GB VRAM. The glossy surface supports touch screen and stylus interaction.
The ScreenPad Plus, however, is an IPS Panel with a matt surface. Using the stylus on the ScreenPad Plus feels smoother and easier to glide. The different colour cast would be a slight imperfection to this well-thought machine, but I would have to assume that the secondary display is designed more as an extension for on-screen control panels.
The keyboard design remains unchanged from the first-generation, and they layout needs getting used to. Personally, I feel that the trackpad should go as is not as critical since both displays are touch-supported.
There is a compromise for such mobile productivity. Weighing 2.34kg and almost 36cm in length, it’s a heft to lug around. Also, the power consumption is rather high compared to other ultrabook laptops and the performance does not feel very snappy, even though the benchmark results are quite high. And to add to that, the AC adapter is massive and delivers 240W. But you would need all that if you needed all the juice you need for handling the creative editing. When enabling Performance mode, the massive cooling fans below the ScreenPad Plus spins up and blows air heavily, generating some of the loudest fan sounds I’ve heard on laptops.
Other than the hardware, the UX582 comes with a host of software and custom features that elevates the user experience. For instance, the ScreenXpert 2 software makes multi-tasking between the 2 displays easier. The side bar on the ScreenPad Plus brings up the control and apps shortcuts for quick access, while the additional keys above the trackpad turns on and keyboard or display conveniently.
There is also one feature that is unique to ASUS laptops: Link To MyASUS is a software that lets you connect your smartphone to the laptop and do a few useful features – Transfer, Shared Cam, and Remote. You can see the smartphone display on the laptop, control, load apps, play audio, make calls directly from your laptop, receive notification, transfer files. You can also link the smartphone as a webcam to use for your telecommuting devices. The app also allows you extend the display to the smartphone or tablet or mirror the contents. Clearly, ASUS has gained a lot of experience from their previous products, understands the benefit of device convergence, and delivers solution.
ASUS is one of the few companies that works hard in delivering innovative solutions and products to consumers. I applaud them for not always following the norm, designing niche products that targets a growing customer group, and gaining invaluable experience which could potentially help in developing better products in other areas. The ASUS UX582 is one of those interesting product lines that will benefit content creators, photographers, musicians, animators, video editors, people who appreciates the extra screen for the convenience.
While the dual-screen layout is being improved, I feel that the next improvement should be on the keyboard and the trackpad. If the input controls are not comfortable to use, users would rather plug an external keyboard and mouse. And perhaps that should be the next iteration of the Zenbook Pro Duo.
The ASUS UX582 retails at S$4998 in Singapore. Visit the product website for more details.
Specs Summary of Review Unit:
- 15.6” UHD OLED-backlit Slim IPS (3840×2160)
- Windows 10 Home
- NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3070
- 8GB GDDR6
- 1TB M.2 NVMe™ PCIe® 3.0
- Pre-installed McAfee Anti Virus, sleeve, stand & Stylus