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

Asus is known for its ZenBook laptops with next screens, which are possibly integrated into the trackpad or, as in the new ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482), deployed comprehensive-width, pushing the keyboard down into what would commonly be the wrist-relaxation area. The Duo fourteen (UX482) offers hardware and computer software enhancements in excess of the earlier model, but is it far more usable than its predecessor, and does it supply great benefit for its premium cost tag (£1,399 inc. VAT with 16GB RAM in the UK, $1,299.ninety nine with 8GB in the US)? 

Outwardly, the ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) will not look everything distinctive. The blue/gray clamshell technique with its trademark concentric circles on the lid, radiating out from a silver Asus marque, is conventional ample. The desktop footprint is reasonable for a fourteen-inch laptop at 32.40cm broad by 22.20cm deep, and it is really an appropriate 1.69-1.73cm thick. 

This Intel Evo-verified laptop’s main specs expose a able technique: my evaluation unit had an 11th technology Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.


The Asus ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) is a perfectly-specified fourteen-inch laptop (11th-gen Main i7, up to 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, discrete Nvidia GPU choice), but its key attribute is the 12.sixty five-inch SceenPad Plus, which tilts up when the primary display is opened.

Photos: Asus

So far, so typical. But carry this product up to carry it around and you can expect to come to feel the variation: at 1.62kg it is really very major for a fourteen-inch laptop. The rationale for this is instantly clear when you increase the lid: a comprehensive-width next display sits in the area that would commonly be occupied by the upper rows of the keyboard, pushing the keyboard down so that there is no wrist relaxation area. The touchpad is also displaced to the ideal aspect of the keyboard. 

This ScreenPad Plus will make or break the Asus ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482). It can be a touch-responsive IPS panel measuring 12.sixty five inches throughout the diagonal and about three.25 inches deep, with a resolution of 1,920 by 515 pixels (157.1ppi). When you open the lid, the ScreenPad Plus quickly hinges up to sit at a slight angle. When I previous appeared at this configuration in the 15.six-inch ZenBook Professional Duo (UX581), the display sat flat. This minor uplift has a significant influence on usability, generating it substantially simpler to see what the display is exhibiting when you are seated at a desk or table. 

The ScreenPad Plus functions as a companion to the primary display, and since of its measurement and versatility it is really remarkably practical. Asus has labored on the computer software, and both equally versatility and capabilities are enhanced in excess of the earlier model. 

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You can drag a window from primary display downwards to fall it onto the ScreenPad Plus, or you can hit a Fn key and mail whatever’s on the primary display to the next display. If you have had two open windows aspect by aspect, for instance, and need to preserve them open but want to perform into a third, they can be immediately shifted out of the way, but still be stored seen. You can also maximise an application window so that it spans both equally screens, supplying an enhanced vertical viewing area. 


Launcher: the ScreenPad Plus’s regulate panel.

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The ScreenPad Plus has its personal computer software, which opens up even further employs. The remaining edge of the next display has a vertical row of touch-responsive regulate buttons, most of which offer you primary information and facts or features tweaks. For instance, you can adjust the screen’s brightness, established up a connection in between your cellular phone and the ScreenPad Plus to use the pad to make phone calls, lock and unlock the keyboard so you don’t accidentally faucet at keys although you are operating in touch-display manner (both equally screens are touch responsive), and perspective a swift guide to employing the ScreenPad Plus. 

You can find also a button that opens the ‘Launcher’. This is a mini-regulate panel that gives obtain to various applications and features, which includes a selection pad. You can find a handwriting recognition software, and you can run companion applications — Asus gives the Spotify app as a taster. 


Handwriting: a single of the Asus ScreenPad Plus applications accessible by means of the Launcher.

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

A attribute referred to as QuickKey gives you touch obtain to selections in purposes: for instance, if you commonly perform a assortment of display faucets or menu options to get a little something done, you can automate them into a single a single-faucet on-display key. 


Process Group allows you start collections of applications in distinct layouts on the primary display and the secondary ScreenPad Plus.

Photos: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Conscious that artistic types might be drawn to the ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482), there is also an app referred to as Handle Panel which gives controls for a assortment of graphics-related purposes. It works with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Premiere Professional and After Outcomes. 

Ultimately, you can established up what Asus phone calls ‘task groups’, which are groups of up to seven purposes that can be released at the faucet of an icon. The secondary display can cope with up to three applications, with up to 4 on the primary display.

Speaking of the primary display, this is a fourteen-inch FHD (1920 x 1080, 157.3ppi) touch-enabled IPS panel with a matte anti-glare end. It can be sharp and vivid, and comfy to perspective, exhibiting 100% of the sRGB colour gamut and boasting Pantone validation. If the primary display is all you need, the ScreenPad Plus can be toggled off with a Functionality key to save the battery.

For all its expansive thoughts and features, the ScreenPad Plus does bring about some usability concerns when it arrives to the keyboard and touchpad. Critical action is fine, and although there is some flex in the keyboard it is not worrisome. But the keyboard is uncomfortable to use. The absence of a wrist relaxation has an adverse influence on comfort and usability. Asus details out that its ‘ErgoLift’ hinge system tilts the keyboard to a 4.five-degree angle for what, on its web page, it describes ‘ergonomic, fatigue-no cost typing’.

Even now, the fall from the front of the keyboard to the desktop is about 12mm, and resting the wrists at the angle produced by this fall feels unpleasant. Anybody wanting to use the Asus ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) might profit from a different wrist relaxation, but of program this is only viable for desktop use, not when operating with the ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) on your lap. Minimal desktop area offered on railway or airplane tables might also preclude employing a different wrist relaxation. 

The keyboard is somewhat compact and squished — a functionality of owning to compress it to make place for the touchpad to its ideal. My typical touch-typing velocity was a little bit lowered since of all this. 

The touchpad provides its personal concerns. It can be taller than it is broad, which is not a notably practical shape for managing the cursor on a landscape-manner display. Also, its positioning on the ideal-hand aspect of the keyboard does remaining-handers no favours. 

The Harman Kardon speakers supply great volume with almost no distortion, even when turned up to the utmost. Superior information for creators, presenters and typical online video simply call attendees. 

SEE: Windows 10 Start off menu hacks (TechRepublic High quality)

As mentioned earler, the ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) runs on an Intel Main i7-1165G7 processor. There is an choice for discrete Nvidia GeForce MX450 graphics, but my evaluation 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 really somewhat stunning that the running technique is Windows 10 Home (whilst the spec sheet states that Asus ‘recommends’ Windows 10 Professional). You can find no fingerprint sensor for biometric login, probably due to deficiency of house around the keyboard area – whilst arguably it could have been feasible to embed it into the energy 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, regrettably, will not profit from a privateness shutter. 

The tilt of the ScreenPad Plus gives a substantial house underneath it for air circulation and cooling, but still I identified the ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) ran a little bit warm even when it was idling. 


Right aspect (top rated): MicroSD card reader three.5mm audio jack USB three.two. Remaining aspect (over): HDMI 2x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C.

Photos: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Asus has identified place for a MicroSD card reader on the ideal aspect — a practical attribute for creators who might need to transfer stills or footage from a digital digicam. You can find also a USB three.two port and a three.5mm audio jack on this aspect, although the remaining aspect houses a comprehensive-measurement HDMI port and two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. You charge the laptop by means of USB-C, leaving just a single of these ports no cost when the battery is receiving a raise. 

Asus statements up to seventeen several hours of lifetime for the 70Wh battery, which is a good deal thinking of that two screens are currently being powered. My exam associated leaving the next display on and operating throughout both equally screens, jogging mainstream workloads involving net applications and media streaming, with social feeds or other applications in the ScreenPad Plus during. Beneath this routine the battery generally dropped from 100% to sixty seven% in excess of three several hours, suggesting battery lifetime of around 9 several hours — a comprehensive operating working day, but nowhere in close proximity to Asus’s declare.  


Picture: Asus


The special offering stage of the Asus ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) is its next display, and the excess viewing area and computer software features made available by the ScreenPad Plus might have appeal, specifically to artistic customers. On the other hand, these gains are offset by a compressed keyboard, the deficiency of a wrist relaxation and the ideal-aligned, portrait-manner touchpad, all of which compromise usability.

The ZenBook Duo fourteen (UX482) is a able laptop, but its special features require trade-offs, and future consumers will have to determine irrespective of whether or not individuals trade-offs perform for them. 

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