Asus ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581GV) review: Dual screens make your workspace seem bigger on the inside

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The Good The second screen adds some breathing room to your workspace, and its OLED display offers a wide color gamut. Equipped with the eight-core Core i9 processor, it delivers great performance, too.

The Bad No Ethernet, the keyboard is uncomfortable without the wrist rest, mediocre battery life, and it's heavy.

The Bottom Line With an OLED main display and a supplemental monitor as well as powerful components, the Asus ZenBook Pro is a strong contender as a photo-editing champ.

8.3 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 7

We wouldn't say that there are a plethora of cutting-edge dual screen and OLED laptops, but their numbers are growing slowly. The 15-inch Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is the first to put them together in the same laptop, making it a potential photo-editing powerhouse and a workhorse in cramped spaces-- if you don't mind the weight and don't need good battery life.

You can get the ZenBook in a few configurations, which seem to differ regionally. The entry-level model in the US runs $2,500 for  a six-core Core i7-9750H, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD; in the UK, you can go as low as a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM (which I wouldn't suggest), but the middle configuration with a 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM costs £2,500. We don't have pricing for Australia -- it's not available yet but is on Asus' site -- and the options seem to match those of the UK. We had the top configuration upped to the maximum, with a Core i9-9980HK,  32GB RAM and a 1TB SSD, at a nice, round $3,000. It likely costs £3,000 in the UK as well.

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581GV)

Price as reviewed $2,999.99
Display size/resolution 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160 OLED touchscreen 60Hz
PC CPU Intel Core i9-9800HK
PC Memory 32GB 2,666Hz DDR4
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
Storage 1TB SSD
Ports 1 x USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, 2 x USB-A 3.1, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x audio
Networking WiFi 6 Gig Plus, Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Microsoft Windows Pro (64-bit)
Weight 5.5 lbs./2.5 kg

Having multiple monitors makes working and playing so much more pleasant. It's like moving from a tiny apartment to a house. You're not constantly juggling windows, and you can put boring meetings to the side while you keep working on more interesting stuff. These small screens like the half-height one on the ZenBook and the tiny one on the HP Omen X 2S aren't quite as nice as having a big second screen -- except when you don't have room for a full-size monitor. 

Like the HP's, Asus' Screen Pad Plus works much like a standalone second display, and both of the displays have touchscreens, which is nice. The secondary display supports basic pressure-sensitivity, 1,024 levels, and comes bundled with a battery-driven stylus. It's not so much for artistry as for annotation and notetaking, but I still found it a little awkwardly placed for that. On the other hand, it's nice for the occasional digital signature.


While the ZenBooks have a second touchscreen that's the size and in the location of a typical large touchpad, the Pro Duo's is expanded to the width of the laptop. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

It's got a horizontal resolution of 3,840 pixels, just like the primary screen, making dragging windows around less janky, though if they're at different magnifications it gets a little glitchy. And it's annoying that, when the system takes a nap, Windows thinks the second screen has been "disconnected," so when it wakes up all the open applications have moved back to the main screen. I also noticed on both dual-screen laptops that it's a little hard to grab things at the bottom of the top screen and the top of the bottom screen: The cursor jumps. Then again, I work with everything at a pretty small size.

Unfortunately, a lot of mainstream applications aren't designed to take advantage of the way I want to use the second screen: for palettes and tools. Lightroom got too confused for me to even try.


The touchpad on the right side of the keyboard doubles as a number pad.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Asus includes some home-grown utilities for organizing windows on the second screen, but I really don't find these very useful. There's also a popup that lets you pin the app to a particular place, expand it to fill both screens or to swap screens;  there are also dedicated keys for swapping screens and locking the keyboard (so you don't accidentally type while you're using the stylus). The switcher moves everything on one screen to the other, but there's no way to move just the current window between screens like the HP can do, which I think is critical.

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