The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582) is a powerful notebook with a unique second screen. This secondary screen is no mere shtick. But it is clearly intended for a niche group — content creators or prosumers looking for a capable mobile PC. While you can use the second screen (dubbed ScreenPad Plus) to display the contents of a paired smartphone, or compatible apps like Spotify (the screen can fit three app windows), or even as a gigantic touchpad, it is probably too much for mainstream users. And while it has all the hardware requisites for gaming, its keyboard is not designed for it.
- 15.6-inch UHD OLED (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) touchscreen with 14-inch secondary ScreenPad Plus touchscreen
- Intel Core i9-10980HK processor with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics
The UX582 is not Asus' first attempt at a dual-screen laptop. In fact, it is a refined version of its UX581 predecessor. The main difference is the ScreenPad Plus, which stretches across the width of the notebook above the keyboard. The new version borrows from the screen-tilting mechanism of the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 gaming notebook, which lifts up the second screen when the lid is opened. We had seen this tilt mechanism earlier this year with the 14-inch ZenBook Duo. Not only does it make the two screens look more like one display, the chassis opening created is said to increase overall cooling airflow. However, screen bezels disrupt this illusion of a seamless display. It also doesn't help that the primary OLED screen looks much more vibrant than the IPS-based ScreenPad Plus.
To accommodate the ScreenPad Plus, the keyboard is moved down while the touchpad is shifted to the right where the number pad would have been (it also doubles as one). Compared with the 14-inch ZenBook Duo, the keyboard is not as squashed for the UX582. I could type comfortably at my usual speed. But the issue of the touchpad remains. It is awkward to use, especially for left-handers. In addition to the chassis gap created by the tilt mechanism, there are large air vents at the sides that expel warm air. This also limits the number of ports. While you do find two Thunderbolt 3, a USB-A port (Gen 2 10Gbps), HDMI 2.1, and an audio jack, I would have liked another USB-A port, as well as a memory card reader.
As mentioned earlier, the UX582 has the hardware of a high-end gaming notebook. It has an Intel Core i9 chip with Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics and 32GB of RAM. It produced a smooth 62fps in Watch Dogs: Legion at Ultra setting at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. But you'll have to lower the graphics settings drastically to play the game at the laptop's native 4K resolution. The laptop managed only 36fps at Very High setting at 4K. Note that you can easily switch between Nvidia's Studio Driver (for content creation apps) and Game Ready Driver (for games) in the Nvidia GeForce Experience app. Overall, the UX582 is as fast as you'd expect from its specs. Battery life is decent for a 15.6-inch model with high-end hardware. It lasted 6hr 13min in a video-loop test at maximum screen brightness, and with the ScreenPad Plus turned off.
With Asus launching the Creators Academy in conjunction with the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED, it's clear who the Taiwanese PC maker is targeting with this dual-screen powerhouse. But it does so at a price — S$4,998 to exact. Which is what you'd expect for its specs, especially given its lovely OLED screen. If you don't need to work on the go, it is definitely cheaper to go with a desktop PC and professional monitor. But there will be takers who find its unique blend of power and features appealing. It's available now at the Asus Online Store.
Note: Review unit provided by Asus.
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