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Last Updated : Oct 12, 2020 06:01 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 First Impressions: Innovative genius meets no-compromise performance

A different type of gaming laptop!

Last month, Asus launched its second version of the dual-screen laptop in India. Unlike the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the new dual-screen ROG Zephyrus Duo is tailor-made for both gaming but also seems like a gem for content creators. With a starting price of Rs 2,79,999, the Zephyrus Duo doesn't come cheap. In fact, the starting price is around 70K more than that of the ZenBook Pro Duo we tested last year. But there are quite a few improvements here, across the board. In our first impression, we will take a closer look at Asus' first dual-screen gaming laptop.

Last month, Asus launched its second version of the dual-screen laptop in India. Unlike the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the new dual-screen ROG Zephyrus Duo is tailor-made for gaming but also works like magic for content creators. With a starting price of Rs 2,79,999, the Zephyrus Duo doesn't come cheap. In fact, the starting price is around 70K more than that of the ZenBook Pro Duo we tested last year. But there are quite a few improvements here, across the board. In our first impression, we will take a closer look at Asus' first dual-screen gaming laptop.

First off, let us explore what arrives in the box. Asus is not messing around here, providing every single essential accessory for a gaming laptop in the box. Gamers will appreciate the ROG Gladius II gaming mouse and ROG Delta USB-C headset. There's no shortage of RGB lighting on the mouse and headset. The Zephyrus Duo lacks a webcam, but Asus has included a high-quality webcam in the box. Shifting the keyboard to the bottom is not the most comfortable, but the included palm rest makes the keyboard experience more comfortable. Lastly, you also get a ROG laptop bag in the box. When it comes to top-end gaming laptops, the small things rarely matter, but we think anyone who opens the Zephyrus Duo 15 box will appreciate these inclusions.

First off, let us explore what arrives in the box. Asus is not messing around here, providing every single essential accessory for a gaming laptop in the box. Gamers will appreciate the ROG Gladius II gaming mouse and ROG Delta USB-C headset. There's no shortage of RGB lighting on the mouse and headset. The Zephyrus Duo lacks a webcam, but Asus has included a high-quality webcam in the box. Shifting the keyboard to the bottom is not the most comfortable, but the included palm rest makes the keyboard experience more comfortable. Lastly, you also get a ROG laptop bag in the box. When it comes to top-end gaming laptops, the small things rarely matter, but we think anyone who opens the Zephyrus Duo 15 box will appreciate these inclusions.

The Asus Zephyrus Duo 15 seems slightly slimmer and lighter than the Pro Duo, although it's pretty hard to tell the difference between the two in terms of weight. Despite the addition of a second screen, the Zephyrus Duo 15 weighs the same as the Zephyrus S15. The Duo 15 features a premium aluminium build quality and an elegant yet minimalist finish. The Zephyrus Duo 15 weighs around 2.4 kg and is around 20mm thick. Not to bad considering the spec sheet and dual screens.

The Asus Zephyrus Duo 15 seems slightly slimmer and lighter than the Pro Duo, although it's pretty hard to tell the difference between the two in terms of weight. Despite the addition of a second screen, the Zephyrus Duo 15 weighs the same as the Zephyrus S15. The Duo 15 features a premium aluminium build quality and an elegant yet minimalist finish. The Zephyrus Duo 15 weighs around 2.4 kg and is around 20mm thick. Not too bad considering the spec sheet and dual screens.

As with all top-end Zephyrus notebooks, the keyboard on the Duo 15 has been shifted to the bottom. The keyboard positioning doesn't make using it comfortably over prolonged periods, but the palm rest really helps here. The keys travel fairly deep and do offer a tactile feel while typing and gaming while spacing between them is just about right. The Zephyrus Duo 15 also features per-key RGB lighting as opposed to the zonal lighting. The trackpad is shifted to the right of the keyboard and doubles as a number pad. The trackpad takes a little getting used to but works quite well. And let's not forget that you do get a gaming mouse as well.

As with all top-end Zephyrus notebooks, the keyboard on the Duo 15 has been shifted to the bottom. The keyboard positioning doesn't make using it comfortable over prolonged periods, but the palm rest really helps here. The keys travel fairly deep and do offer a tactile feel while typing and gaming while spacing between them is just about right. The Zephyrus Duo 15 also features per-key RGB lighting as opposed to the zonal lighting. The trackpad is shifted to the right of the keyboard and doubles as a number pad. The trackpad takes a little getting used to but works quite well. And let's not forget that you do get a gaming mouse as well.

The notebook also features a solid selection of I/O. The power connector, microphone jack, and headphone jack sit on the left. On the right, you get two USB 3.1 ports and a USB-C port. Finally, the rest of the ports are located on the back. This includes an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and another USB 3.1 port.

The notebook also features a solid selection of I/O. The power connector, microphone jack, and headphone jack sit on the left. On the right, you get two USB 3.1 ports and a USB-C port. Finally, the rest of the ports are located on the back. This includes an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and another USB 3.1 port.

Before we get to the main display, let's start off with the second screen, titled the ScreenPad Plus. This is the second iteration of Asus' ScreenPad Plus technology, and it goes without saying that things have gotten much better. When you turn on the laptop, you are treated to a blueprint futuristic flying city on the secondary display. ScreenPad Plus allows you to open up to three applications simultaneously. Apps are easy to drag and drop in the second screen, while you can easily switch apps between the two panels with a push of a button. Not much has changed from the ScreenPad Plus on the ZenBook Pro Duo. But the biggest and most important change here is that the second screen is now elevated, which massively increases its utility over the previous version.

Before we get to the main display, let's start off with the second screen, titled the ScreenPad Plus. This is the second iteration of Asus' ScreenPad Plus technology, and it goes without saying that things have gotten much better. When you turn on the laptop, you are treated to a blueprint futuristic flying city on the secondary display. ScreenPad Plus allows you to open up to three applications simultaneously. Apps are easy to drag and drop in the second screen, while you can easily switch apps between the two panels with the push of a button. Not much has changed from the ScreenPad Plus on the ZenBook Pro Duo. But the biggest and most important change here is that the second screen is now elevated, which massively increases its utility over the previous version.

For the main display, you can opt for a high refresh rate or high-resolution IPS-grade panel. The two options include a 15.6-inch Full HD (1080p) IPS panel with a 300Hz refresh rate and a 4K variant. However, this time out Asus has opted for an IPS panel as opposed to the 4K OLED option on the ZenBook Pro Duo. The 4K panel is not ideal for gaming because of the low refresh rate, although it is excellent for content creation. Both panel options support G-Sync and are factory calibrated by Pantone. It is worth noting that the secondary display features a 4K resolution on all models. No compromise there!

For the main display, you can opt for a high refresh rate or high-resolution IPS-grade panel. The two options include a 15.6-inch Full HD (1080p) IPS panel with a 300Hz refresh rate and a 4K variant. However, this time out Asus has opted for an IPS panel as opposed to the 4K OLED option on the ZenBook Pro Duo. The 4K panel is not ideal for gaming because of its low refresh rate, although it is excellent for content creation. Both panel options support G-Sync and are factory calibrated by Pantone. It is worth noting that the secondary display features a 4K resolution on all models. No compromise there!

In terms of performance, Asus offers the ROG Zephyrus Pro Duo in an Intel Core i9-10980HK and Core i7-10875H processor options, our arrived in the former. Graphics options, including an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q or RTX 2070 Super Max-Q. The laptop can be configured with up to 48GB of RAM, although our option arrived with 32GB of RAM. Asus has equipped the Zephyrus Duo 15 with two 1-TB NVMe SSDs (M.2 2280) from Samsung.

In terms of performance, Asus offers the ROG Zephyrus Pro Duo in an Intel Core i9-10980HK and Core i7-10875H processor options, our unit arrived in the former. Graphics options, including an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q or RTX 2070 Super Max-Q. The laptop can be configured with up to 48GB of RAM, although ours arrived with 32GB of RAM. Asus has equipped the Zephyrus Duo 15 with two 1-TB NVMe SSDs (M.2 2280) from Samsung.

To give you an idea of real-world performance, it doesn't get much better than this, especially considering its slim chassis. We'll provide a more in-depth look at performance in our full review. But just to give you an idea, every AAA title we ran, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Battlefield V, and Far Cry 5, consistently delivered high frame rates, very rarely dropping below the 100fps threshold. Multiplayer titles like Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch and Fortnite managed between 150fps and 200fps on high settings.

To give you an idea of real-world performance, it doesn't get much better than this, especially considering its slim chassis. We'll provide a more in-depth look at performance in our full review. But just to give you an idea, every AAA title we ran, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Battlefield V, and Far Cry 5, consistently delivered high frame rates, very rarely dropping below the 100fps threshold. Multiplayer titles like Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch and Fortnite managed between 150fps and 200fps on high settings.

For a gaming laptop with two screens, the Zephyrus Duo 15 stands up quite well to scrutiny. We got a little over three hours while multitasking with the second screen turned on. If you make some battery-saving tweaks, like running the laptop in battery saving mode, turning the second screen off, and switching to Nvidia Optimus, you should get around four and a half hours of battery life while watching content. You would think the dual 4K displays would eat up battery life, but that didn't seem to be the case. Battery life here is definitely not the best but quite decent.

For a gaming laptop with two screens, the Zephyrus Duo 15 stands up quite well to scrutiny. We got a little over three hours while multitasking with the second screen turned on. If you make some battery-saving tweaks, like running the laptop in battery saving mode, turning the second screen off, and switching to Nvidia Optimus, you should get around four and a half hours of battery life while watching content. You would think the dual 4K displays would eat up battery life, but that didn't seem to be the case. Battery life here is definitely not the best but quite decent.

The ZenBook Pro Duo was an excellent laptop in theory but had its fair share of issues. However, most of the issues have been fixed with the Zephyrus Duo 15. The improved cooling and the elevated second screen make the Zephyrus Duo 15 a very viable option. It is worth noting that this machine does come with a hefty price tag, but between the innovation and capability of this laptop, it doesn't seem overpriced.

The ZenBook Pro Duo was an excellent laptop in theory but had its fair share of issues. However, most of the issues have been fixed with the Zephyrus Duo 15. The improved cooling and the elevated second screen make the Zephyrus Duo 15 a very viable option. It is worth noting that this machine does come at a price, but between the innovation and capability of this laptop, it doesn't seem overpriced. After our initial testing of the Zephyrus Duo 15, we have to say that the future of gaming laptops is bright and filled with possibility.

First Published on Oct 12, 2020 06:01 pm
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