06/05/2021

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

Asus is recognized for its ZenBook laptops with next screens, which are possibly integrated into the trackpad or, as in the new ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482), deployed entire-width, pushing the keyboard down into what would normally be the wrist-rest spot. The Duo fourteen (UX482) presents hardware and application enhancements around the past model, but is it far more usable than its predecessor, and does it produce fantastic benefit for its quality rate tag (£1,399 inc. VAT with 16GB RAM in the UK, $one,299.ninety nine with 8GB in the US)? 

Outwardly, the ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) would not look everything exclusive. The blue/grey clamshell system with its trademark concentric circles on the lid, radiating out from a silver Asus marque, is standard sufficient. The desktop footprint is reasonable for a fourteen-inch laptop at 32.40cm extensive by 22.20cm deep, and it is an appropriate one.69-one.73cm thick. 

This Intel Evo-verified laptop’s main specs expose a capable system: my overview 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 fourteen (UX482) is a properly-specified fourteen-inch laptop (eleventh-gen Main i7, up to 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, discrete Nvidia GPU solution), but its critical attribute is the twelve.sixty five-inch SceenPad Furthermore, which tilts up when the primary monitor is opened.


Images: Asus

So significantly, so ordinary. But carry this product up to have it around and you’ll sense the change: at one.62kg it is really heavy for a fourteen-inch laptop. The purpose for this is promptly obvious when you increase the lid: a entire-width next monitor sits in the spot that would normally be occupied by the upper rows of the keyboard, pushing the keyboard down so that you can find no wrist rest spot. The touchpad is also displaced to the suitable aspect of the keyboard. 

This ScreenPad Plus will make or split the Asus ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482). It truly is a touch-responsive IPS panel measuring twelve.sixty five inches throughout the diagonal and about 3.25 inches deep, with a resolution of one,920 by 515 pixels (157.1ppi). When you open the lid, the ScreenPad Furthermore routinely hinges up to sit at a slight angle. When I past seemed at this configuration in the fifteen.six-inch ZenBook Professional Duo (UX581), the monitor sat flat. This slight uplift has a main result on usability, generating it a lot simpler to see what the monitor is displaying when you are seated at a desk or desk. 

The ScreenPad Furthermore features as a companion to the primary monitor, and mainly because of its dimensions and adaptability it is remarkably useful. Asus has labored on the application, and both equally adaptability and capabilities are improved around the past model. 

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You can drag a window from primary monitor downwards to drop it onto the ScreenPad Furthermore, or you can hit a Fn critical and deliver whatever’s on the primary monitor to the next monitor. If you’ve experienced two open home windows aspect by aspect, for illustration, and want to preserve them open but want to operate into a 3rd, they can be promptly shifted out of the way, but however be saved noticeable. You can also maximise an application window so that it spans both equally screens, offering an enhanced vertical viewing spot. 

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Launcher: the ScreenPad Plus’s regulate panel.


Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The ScreenPad Furthermore has its personal application, which opens up additional takes advantage of. The remaining edge of the next monitor has a vertical row of touch-responsive regulate buttons, most of which supply primary info or operation tweaks. For illustration, you can improve the screen’s brightness, set up a backlink involving your phone and the ScreenPad Furthermore to use the pad to make phone calls, lock and unlock the keyboard so you really don’t unintentionally faucet at keys whilst you are functioning in touch-monitor mode (both equally screens are touch responsive), and look at a brief guide to employing the ScreenPad Furthermore. 

You can find also a button that opens the ‘Launcher’. This is a mini-regulate panel that provides obtain to a variety of apps and capabilities, like a variety pad. You can find a handwriting recognition tool, and you can operate companion apps — Asus provides the Spotify application as a taster. 

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Handwriting: a single of the Asus ScreenPad Furthermore apps accessible by using the Launcher.


Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

A attribute named QuickKey presents you touch obtain to possibilities inside purposes: for illustration, if you commonly execute a variety of monitor faucets or menu decisions to get anything done, you can automate them into a one a single-faucet on-monitor critical. 

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Activity Group lets you start collections of apps in particular layouts on the primary monitor and the secondary ScreenPad Furthermore.


Images: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Aware that innovative styles could possibly be drawn to the ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482), you can find also an application named Handle Panel which provides controls for a variety of graphics-connected purposes. It works with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Typical, Premiere Professional and Immediately after Outcomes. 

Eventually, you can set up what Asus phone calls ‘task groups’, which are teams of up to 7 purposes that can be released at the faucet of an icon. The secondary monitor can cope with up to 3 apps, with up to 4 on the primary monitor.

Chatting of the primary monitor, this is a fourteen-inch FHD (1920 x 1080, 157.3ppi) touch-enabled IPS panel with a matte anti-glare finish. It truly is sharp and dazzling, and comfortable to look at, displaying a hundred% of the sRGB colour gamut and boasting Pantone validation. If the primary monitor is all you want, the ScreenPad Furthermore can be toggled off with a Function critical to conserve the battery.

For all its expansive tips and capabilities, the ScreenPad Furthermore does cause some usability challenges when it will come to the keyboard and touchpad. Crucial action is wonderful, and whilst you can find some flex in the keyboard it isn’t really worrisome. But the keyboard is uncomfortable to use. The absence of a wrist rest has an adverse affect on ease and comfort and usability. Asus points out that its ‘ErgoLift’ hinge mechanism tilts the keyboard to a 4.5-degree angle for what, on its internet site, it describes ‘ergonomic, fatigue-absolutely free typing’.

Nonetheless, the tumble from the front of the keyboard to the desktop is about 12mm, and resting the wrists at the angle produced by this drop feels unpleasant. Anybody seeking to use the Asus ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) may gain from a separate wrist rest, but of class this is only practical for desktop use, not when functioning with the ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) on your lap. Minimal desktop spot obtainable on railway or airplane tables may also preclude employing a separate wrist rest. 

The keyboard is fairly little and squished — a function of acquiring to compress it to make room for the touchpad to its suitable. My ordinary touch-typing pace was slightly diminished mainly because of all this. 

The touchpad provides its personal challenges. It truly is taller than it is extensive, which isn’t really a significantly useful condition for controlling the cursor on a landscape-mode monitor. Also, its positioning on the suitable-hand aspect of the keyboard does remaining-handers no favours. 

The Harman Kardon speakers produce fantastic volume with virtually no distortion, even when turned up to the greatest. Fantastic news for creators, presenters and frequent video clip connect with attendees. 

SEE: Home windows 10 Start out menu hacks (TechRepublic High quality)

As talked about earler, the ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) operates on an Intel Main i7-1165G7 processor. There is an solution for discrete Nvidia GeForce MX450 graphics, but my overview 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 fairly astonishing that the working system is Home windows 10 Home (despite the fact that the spec sheet states that Asus ‘recommends’ Home windows 10 Professional). You can find no fingerprint sensor for biometric login, possibly owing to deficiency of area around the keyboard spot – despite the fact that arguably it could have been feasible to embed it into the power button that sits over the touchpad. As an alternative, biometric authentication is catered for by Windows Hello there facial recognition via the IR-outfitted webcam, which, unfortunately, would not gain from a privacy shutter. 

The tilt of the ScreenPad Furthermore provides a major area underneath it for air circulation and cooling, but however I uncovered the ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) ran slightly heat even when it was idling. 

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Right aspect (leading): MicroSD card reader 3.5mm audio jack USB 3.2. Left aspect (over): HDMI 2x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C.


Images: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Asus has uncovered room for a MicroSD card reader on the suitable aspect — a useful attribute for creators who may want to transfer stills or footage from a electronic digicam. You can find also a USB 3.2 port and a 3.5mm audio jack on this aspect, whilst the remaining aspect homes a entire-dimensions HDMI port and two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. You demand the laptop by using USB-C, leaving just a single of these ports absolutely free when the battery is acquiring a raise. 

Asus claims up to seventeen hrs of everyday living for the 70Wh battery, which is a good deal thinking about that two screens are getting powered. My exam involved leaving the next monitor on and functioning throughout both equally screens, operating mainstream workloads involving net apps and media streaming, with social feeds or other apps in the ScreenPad Furthermore all over. Less than this regime the battery normally dropped from a hundred% to sixty seven% around 3 hrs, suggesting battery everyday living of around 9 hrs — a entire functioning day, but nowhere in close proximity to Asus’s claim.  

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Picture: Asus

Conclusions

The exceptional advertising place of the Asus ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) is its next monitor, and the more viewing spot and application capabilities offered by the ScreenPad Furthermore may have appeal, particularly to innovative users. Nevertheless, these positive aspects are offset by a compressed keyboard, the deficiency of a wrist rest and the suitable-aligned, portrait-mode touchpad, all of which compromise usability.

The ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) is a capable laptop, but its exceptional capabilities contain trade-offs, and possible consumers will have to come to a decision regardless of whether or not those trade-offs operate for them. 

Modern AND Linked Articles

Asus ZenBook Duo fourteen UX482 overview: A twin-monitor laptop that would make feeling (CNET)

Asus ZenBook fourteen UX435EG overview: ScreenPad-outfitted ultraportable receives updated hardware

Asus ZenBook Professional Duo UX581 overview: Exclusive structure, but beware the trade-offs

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