ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 review
If you are looking for a gaming laptop that is the very symbol of excess, don’t move from there, because you have just found the top of the range that the market has to offer at the moment. ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is equipped with Intel’s most powerful mobile processor, fully unlocked and overclockable, combined with NVIDIA’s most powerful GPU, the RTX2080 Super. Not enough for you? And what do you think that “duo” stands for in the name if not for two screens?
Small anecdote: a year ago, we were in Taipei, for Computex 2019. On the occasion of the launch of ZenBook Pro Duo (among others). We suggested to ASUS a solution that envisaged raising the ScreenPad Plus and not the whole portable, to give a feeling of more excellent continuity between the two screens. Glad that ASUS listened to us, but in reality, the effect that came out is very different from expectations. We are not saying that it is neither good nor bad. It is a simple observation, which maybe we will elaborate better later.
Important note: the webcam is missing. This allowed us to better contain the frames around the display. But this also means that there are no biometric authentication methods (there is also a fingerprint reader).
Asus Rog Zephyrus Duo 15: Keyboard and touchpad
There’s an excellent keyboard in this Zephyrus Duo, one that wouldn’t look out of place even in more traditional laptops. The keys have a stroke of 1.4mm and have no burrs. The actuation is uniform, and the individual keycaps are stable in position, without annoying shaking. The feedback is good, although the keyboard is also silent, and can return a pleasant sensation of muffled touch to your finger.
In short, you write to each other willingly, even without the wrist resting rubber included in the package, which in the heat of these days also makes you sweat a little, as well as being less effective than what was on the ZenBook Pro Duo. All this provided you have a good surface on the desk. The situation is different if you were to write with the laptop on your lap, for example, but that’s not exactly how we imagine using Zephyrus Duo, at least not for long.
However, there are also downsides to the coin. The is above sent, and not next to it, in a position that is therefore not very common, and that will force you to try a little at the beginning. Page up / down and start / end, essential for moving quickly in the text and between the browser tabs using the keyboard, can only be activated instead of the directional arrows, via a switch button located above the touchpad, at the right end of the keyboard. This makes a continuous switch between these two solutions impractical, forcing you to use the touchpad more, which is itself the most sacrificed element. The gestures with three and more fingers are those that are most affected by its form factor and its size, and the smoothness is not maximum.
In short, ASUS has tried not to sacrifice any functionality, also succeeding in the not easy task of including them all, but obviously. The space available requires compromises that can hardly be overcome. However, if we consider that this is a gaming laptop. We can also assume that it will always be accompanied by a dedicated mouse and go over it a bit, but for the record, they should still be reported.
Asus Rog Zephyrus Duo 15: Hardware and benchmark
There are multiple versions of ROG Zephrus Duo, the differences of which are well illustrated on the official website. We tried the one more for creatives, rather than gamers. Although it is a bit of an understatement because we are still talking about one of the most powerful laptops on the market. The main difference? The main display: in our model, there is a 4K at 60 Hz, but there is indeed a full HD variant at 300Hz
- Primary screen : 15.6 “UHD (3,840 x 2,160 pixels), 60Hz IPS, Pantone validated, G-SYNC, non-touch
- Secondary screen : 14.1 “(3,840 x 1,100 pixels) touchscreen
- CPU: Intel Core i9-10980HK
- GPU: RTX2080 Super Max-Q
- RAM : 2x 16 GB DDR4 3,200 MHz
- Internal memory : 2x 1 TB SSD NVMe PCIe RAID0
- Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
- Ports: 2x audio jack, 3x USB-A 3.1, 1x Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0b, Ethernet,
- Webcam : (separate module from 1080p @ 60fps)
- Battery: 90 Wh
- Weight: 2,4 Kg
- OS: Windows 10
ASUS has spared no expense, literally, in this Zephyrus Duo, which is one of the most powerful laptops available on the market today. On paper, it’s hard to think of anything he’s missing. Maybe we would have revised some ports (e.g., 2 USB-C and 2 USB-A could be a good compromise). Especially since in the package that also a USB-C travel charger. Which, therefore, could occupy the only port of this type available. And then there is also a generous battery because it takes some to power all this hardware (but we’ll talk about this shortly).
Final note: RAM is expandable, at least in part. As for storage, there are already two 1 TB SSDs in RAID0, which should be enough for even the most demanding gamers. But let’s get to a bit of a benchmark, which in this case is particularly impressive.
The most interesting comparison is undoubtedly the one between the ‘ i9-10980HK of Zephyrus Duo and Ryzen 9 4900HS of Zephyrus G14. GeekBench 4 seems to assign the single-core victory to the first, even quite clearly. The multi-core to the second, more by measure. Even GeekBench 5 (not shown in the table) basically agrees 1,300 points for Intel in single-core against 1,200 from AMD. Seven thousand four hundred sixty points in multi-core for Intel against 7,775 from AMD. In short. While in single-core, the game seems more open, in multi-core operations, everyone agrees that AMD’s solution has an advantage, more or less marked, and all this in the face of a 10 Watt lower TPD compared to the processor. Intel. Then going to reflect these numbers on the real use is tough. But the benchmarks are here on purpose: to (try to) measure what otherwise would be just “impressions.”
Asus Rog Zephyrus Duo 15: Screen
The main screen of the Zephyrus Duo is an excellent 4K (not HDR). The display is, in fact, calibrated from the factory and “ Pantone Validated “with a wide sRGB and Adobe RGB coverage, both close to 100% (the latter a real rarity). It is not touching, it is not covered in glass, and indeed it is opaque. This limits the maximum brightness a little, which still reaches 350 nits constant, which in indoor use does not give problems even near a window, thanks to the finish that hinders reflections.
You can enable G-Sync directly from the ASUS Armory Crate app. In order to guarantee superior quality fluidity but compromising the battery. As you will always use the NVIDIA GPU in place of the Intel integrated, even when you are not playing. In any case, for dedicated gamers, the 300Hz full HD screen option is recommended. Which also has a 3ms gray-to-gray response time, and which certainly offers the best gaming experience. , free of ghosting, tearing, and other defects, obviously at the expense of resolution.
Opaque is also the ScreenPad Plus. However, equipped with a touch screen. This second screen is tilted 13 ° towards the user. It is favoring a good glance when seated in front of the laptop. I confess that sometimes I would have liked to change the inclination a bit, but unfortunately, it is not possible because its opening mechanism is linked to that of the main screen. An important note. However, it must be made about the rigidity of the ScreenPad Plus: it is stable. We were even pressing it with a specific force (which we do not see a particular need in practical use. But which we have done anyway for the sake of science).
You will see it flex only minimally and only towards the center. In general, the feeling of rigidity it returns will not be comparable to that of a smartphone. But we are close to it. This is because the back of the screen is supported by the same magnesium-aluminum alloy that covers the rest of the body. Which, therefore, gives further solidity to its structure.
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In spite of the 90Wh battery, Zephyrus Duo certainly does not have high autonomy. Especially in the 4K version (in full HD, you should do about double in each shift. The screen is, in fact, a constant drain-source. But even the processor is not joking. : start to exploit it a minimum that its consumption is felt. You can still use it even away from the power outlet, and if you do not need to use it for incredibly demanding tasks. The 65W USB-C power supply is also relatively light. Both in relation to the weight of the laptop and to that of the 240W main power supply. However, here is the usual mirror of PCMark10.
- Idle: 8 hours (minimum brightness, maximum energy saving, second screen off about 7 hours with the second screen on)
- Gaming: 50 minutes (maximum brightness, maximum performance, second screen off)
- Office (writing, browsing, video conferencing): 5 hours (25 brightness, improved battery, second screen off)
- Video: 5 hours and 10 minutes (brightness at 25, audio at 25, maximum power saving, second screen off)
Unlike other times, I can confirm the hours of work calculated by PCMark 10 also in relation to my daily activity (navigation, office, chat, some photo retouching, and multimedia). This because, in any case, however much my training is a little heavier than the one simulated by the benchmark. It is not so important as to need too much more power from the system, also a sign of how much the latter is decidedly more powerful than the average.
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Experience of use
ROG Zephyrus Duo spoils you because it’s one of those machines with which you don’t have to ask yourself if it “can do it”: you assume it can, and it (almost) always does. Like all ROGs, it’s a laptop that exudes power from its looks alone. But the nicest thing is that that doesn’t mean it’s like having a jet taking off in your hands. The noise of the system settles, in fact, around 46-47 decibels. Despite being stable and with temperatures that even under the AIDA64 stress test, reach a maximum of around 90 °.
If you want, via software, you can push the fans even higher. You are bringing the noise level over 50 decibels (threshold common to many gaming laptops), and the temperatures a few degrees lower. But you will have to resort to manual settings to do this because none of the ASUS preset allows this. On the other hand, especially if with a power supply connected. It is difficult for the system to go below 30db, and you will almost always hear a certain buzz.
It was nice to see a video exported to Premiere to this machine, not only for the record speed with which it did it but also for the relative peace of mind. The CPU never dropped below the 4 GHz clock on all cores, and all this with an average temperature around 80 °. In short, one could push even more, considering that the boost frequencies reach up to 5.3 GHz.
The Core i9-10980HK always performs well. Managing to stay high ( 2.8-3 GHz ), with temperatures below 90 °, even with prolonged loads and much heavier than Premiere and recording a power consumption that, when fully operational, it is constant 45W. The consumption represents its main flaw, not only from the point of view of the heat generated. Therefore of the cooling, which ASUS seems to be able to guarantee in all circumstances. When for autonomy. The main source of energy expenditure can, in fact, easily become the processor, leading to sudden drops in autonomy that we had not recorded, for example, in the ROG G14, where the Ryzen 9 4900HS was able to be more constant and less energy-intensive.
ASUS has capitalized on the experience gained with ZenBook Pro Duo and has created what a predestined laptop: ROG Zephyrus Duo was. The first dual-screen gaming in the world. And to make it even more unique, inside, we find hardware to be envied, assembled with wisdom and attention, in order to offer you the fastest and most complete experience. You could wish for. You can easily imagine the only limits of this solution: weight, autonomy, and price. On the first two, ASUS has done everything possible. We are sure it will do even better in future generations; time will take care of the price, although it may take some time (excuse the pun).
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