Asus has been plugging away at its dual-screen laptops for several years now. The latest iteration, the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED (UX8402), further refines the screen-tilting mechanism for the secondary display, also known as the ScreenPad Plus. The tweaks make for a more cohesive viewing experience across both screens. But the same old drawbacks, like the awkward position of the touchpad mean that this dual-screen Zenbook is not for everyone.
- 14.5-inch 2,880 x 1,800-pixel OLED touchscreen (120Hz) and 12.7-inch 2,880 x 864-pixel LCD touchscreen (120Hz)
- Intel Core i7-12700H processor with Nvidia GeForce 3050 Ti, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD
- 2x Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, HDMI, microSD card reader, headphone jack
The Zenbook sports a lovely 14.5-inch OLED touchscreen that's not only crisp and vibrant, it's also smooth with a 120Hz refresh rate. The secondary touch display boasts a similar 2.8K screen resolution, and the same 120Hz refresh rate. But more importantly, it's just about as bright as the main screen at 500 nits. This means that as your eyes move from one screen to the other, the two displays look almost like one. This is an improvement over older dual-display Zenbooks that have a larger disparity in brightness between their screens. But there's room for improvement. The smaller display is still an LCD, so blacks aren't as inky dark as the ones on the main OLED screen. Switching to OLED for the ScreenPad Plus would likely solve this, but it would further bump up the already high price.
The ScreenPad Plus works more or less like previous versions. A sidebar (Control Center) lets you open compatible apps like Spotify in the ScreenPad Plus. You can even create your own layout of specific apps for both screens and save that arrangement to a hotkey. This is very convenient if you use the same handful of apps all the time. In addition, I found the Control Center's shortcuts for toggling the Zenbook's camera or microphone to be handy. The ScreenPad Plus itself can also act as a giant touchpad with a three-finger tap. Or you can turn it off to save power. Driving the two displays is a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 3050 Ti graphics chip that's decent enough for gaming. For instance, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy ran at a healthy 69fps at 1080p resolution at the highest Ultra setting.
The keyboard itself is actually comparable in size to some ultrabooks, but it feels cramped because there isn't a palm rest. The touchpad, shunted to the right, is relatively narrow, and not in the most ideal location. Both the keyboard and touchpad extend right to the edges of the notebook. This led to accidental presses when I carried the Zenbook with the lid opened. Due to the extra display and the tilt mechanism, the Zenbook is heavy for a 14-inch model at around 1.7kg. The bottom, too, gets toasty enough that I wouldn't place it on my laptop, even while watching Netflix. It's great for videos, though, thanks to its Dolby Vision display, and Dolby Atmos speakers. Performance is good — the Zenbook scored 6,792 in PCMark 10. This is significantly better than the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (5,519).
The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED lasted around just under 6 hours in our usual video-loop battery test with the main screen at maximum brightness. The ScreenPad Plus was turned off. That's not too far off from the 15-inch version I tested last year, which managed slightly over 6 hours. In short, don't stray too far from a power outlet. At S$3,699, this 14-inch Zenbook is much more expensive than the average laptop, but its dual screens, including an OLED, as well as its dedicated graphics probably justify the cost. That's assuming you get decent mileage out of these features. This Zenbook is probably most suited for content creators who need that extra screen real estate on the go. Get it now from the Asus Store, and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Asus.
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