A huge freak. I spent a week with the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 laptop and want to tell about it

I've never had a device so bizarre, so unbelievable, yes ... pointless at first glance. And yet, with every minute I loved Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 more and more.

I will start this review with a small confession: laptops have long ceased to excite me. It is difficult, however, to "start" a category of equipment in which nothing has been happening for so many years.

Enclosures are leaning, components are becoming more and more powerful, working time on one charge is getting longer, but in fact, as we will place the 2010 and 2020 laptop next to each other, it can be seen that they belong to the same product category. Nihil Novi .

When I opened the cover of the new Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 laptop, I enjoyed the face every time. Whenever! My wife and even cats and dog eventually began to look at me strangely because of this, but I couldn't resist - what we see after opening this computer is so wonderfully unlike anything that it's hard not to be happy.

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15

Already last year, Asus caused me a similar reaction with excellent ZenBook: Duo and ProDuo .

This year, the concept of two screens went to a computer strictly dedicated to players, and although it seems to make no sense, it really does not take long to use Zephyrus Duo 15 to find out that it has all the meaning of this world.

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is a freak.

Let's start with how Zephyrus Duo 15 looks. From the outside, with the flap closed, it is difficult to say that we are dealing with something special.

The case is very slim for a gaming laptop: it measures 36 x 26.8 x 2 cm and weighs 2.4 kg. Not much for a computer with such components.

The first sign that something is "wrong" is the location of the connectors.

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15

On the left we only have a charging port and audio connector.

On the right: Thunderbolt 3 socket and two USB-A 3.2 gen. 1 connectors.

However, the three connectors that most disturb when docked are not on the side but on the back of the case. We have a full-size HDMI port, RJ-45 socket and a super-fast USB-A 3.2 gen. 2 connector.

After the location of these connectors, you can think that this computer will work more often on the desk than on your lap.

However, while with the flap closed, the Zephyrus Duo 15 looks quite innocent, so after opening it we see a view straight from Star Trek.

The lower part of the working desktop is occupied by a backlit keyboard with a typically ROG space. We look up, and there, in addition to the 15-inch main display, another screen emerges - 14.1-inch.

Literally "emerges", because unlike Asus ZenBook ProDuo, where the additional screen was permanently mounted in the housing, here the auxiliary screen hovers above it, which makes it much more visible when working on a laptop.

And before someone cries "oh God, what a nasty big chin under the main screen!", I reassure - his presence is practically applicable. After lifting the bottom screen, it somehow "merges" with the bottom edge of the main panel. Were it not for this "nasty chin", the additional screen would cover part of the main display.

There is nothing to cheat - after opening the hatch Zephyrus Duo 15 looks like a freak. As a concept. Like a prototype that should never have left the research and development department.

And yet, despite the prototype appearance, this laptop does not work like a prototype, but like a workstation refined in the smallest details.

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 - how do two screens work in practice?

In a word: sensational.

But one word is not enough to describe how much the presence of the second screen in the laptop changes.

But let's start from the main screen, because you can also say a lot about it. In my test copy, the 15.6-inch display was a panel with a refresh rate of 60 Hz and a resolution of 3840 x 2160 px, with full coverage of the Adobe RGB color space. A paradise for photographer.

There is also a variant with a strictly gaming matrix, with a refresh rate of 300 Hz, 3-ms response time and Full HD resolution, but coverage of the sRGB color space, which should be enough to work on content intended for the Internet.

In both versions, the main display has a matte coating and is not touch-sensitive - this is a change from the Asus ZenBook ProDuo, which had a glossy touch screen.

Personally, I also regret that Asus was not tempted to expand the work space vertically, at least to a ratio of 16:10 (3: 2 would be ideal, but well, you can't have everything).

The display above the keyboard has a resolution of 3840 x 1100 px and although it is also covered with a matte coating, it is a touch panel.

What can we do with the second display? Whatever we want.

Windows 10 recognizes it in the settings as a second monitor connected to the computer. So we can move windows between one display and the other and pin them to the edges using Windows window management.

We can of course also use the Asus application. By default, it divides the bottom display into three segments, so we can simultaneously dock three windows there. We can also swap the content of both displays with one touch of the screen (or the key above the touchpad).

Personally, I used the second screen most often to put Slack and Spotify windows on it during work, thus freeing the work space on the main desktop.

While playing, I launched the Armory Crate application, which allows you to control the computer's operating mode and monitor its parameters in real time.

Streamer should appreciate the presence of the second screen, because it is a great place to "dump" chat or recording preview there.

When I saw the Zephyrus Duo 15 for the first time, I was afraid that the raised screen would be a delicate, vulnerable element. I was wrong. The hinges on which the screen is mounted are very solid and, under normal use, the panel or tip does not bend when touched.

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15

Asus also used a raised display to improve airflow. Just like in ZenBook ProDuo and many other Asus laptops, this function is performed by a screen hinge that lifts the desktop above the table top, so here the additional auxiliary screen provides additional ventilation.

You just have to be careful that nothing accidentally falls into the crack between the housing and the screen, so as not to damage it when closing the cover.

Weirdo, but so powerful!

Asus ROG Zephyrus 15 Duo is a real monster.

For testing I received the most powerful configuration - with an Intel Core i9-10980HK processor, 32 GB RAM, 2 TB SSD and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q graphics.

But you can't really buy a "weak" version of this laptop, it just doesn't exist. The weakest variant drives the Intel Core i7-10875H processor together with GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q graphics. You also can't buy Zephyrus Duo 15 with less RAM than 16 GB. It is a pity that 32 GB is the maximum - with this class of equipment I would expect the possibility of retrofitting up to 64 GB RAM.

Suffice it to say that with such a configuration as the test one, it's hard to be short of breath while working or playing.

This laptop doesn't do anything like editing 4K video with effects and full color. It is not a problem for him to work on a library of several hundred photos of 100+ MB each, launched simultaneously in Lightroom and Photoshop.

There was also no problem to do these two things at once, even when connecting an additional 4K monitor. The laptop began to ventilate components very strongly then, but did not slow down even for a moment.

Speaking of ventilation, I must admit that under load it gets quite loud, much louder than in ZenBook ProDuo. The slim housing and two constantly driven displays are doing their job. Fortunately, in a non-demanding usage scenario (browser + text editor), Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 remains very quiet, although it is never silent.

Speakers are not noiseless. ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 has two 4W converters with Smart AMP technology. They play very clean, very clear and they do not lack low frequencies.

This is not the level of the MacBook Pro 16, but it is still impressive. Especially in games where the separation of audio channels is really exemplary and we can easily distinguish ourselves from e.g. bang bangs, hero's footsteps on the ground and background music.

I also highly appreciate the keyboard and trackpad. The latter is placed in a non-standard place, but it works very nicely, and after a few days of getting used to it there is no problem with smooth operation.

The keyboard, on the other hand, has a perfect pitch, it is very stable, backlit with all the colors of the rainbow and I was happy to tap on several thousand words during tests.

You just have to point out that you need the arm rest included in the set when writing. Otherwise you write rather uncomfortably.

As you would expect, in games, we will also not experience a shadow of problems.

Every game I've played on this laptop - from Dying Light, through Red Dead Redemption 2 to Gears 5 with all graphic fireworks - flashed at Full HD resolution above 60 FPS, at maximum settings.

After lowering the details to medium / high, I achieved a similar fluidity at a resolution of 2560 x 1440 px, although there were occasional drops in frame rate.

Of course, powering such components requires a power supply with adequate power. Hence, the mass of the computer must also add the mass of a powerful block, supplying 240 W to computer components.

And that kind of leads me to issues that I didn't like about Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15.

Mobile only by name.

Unfortunately, you have to get used to tugging the adapter around with you for this laptop. Although I do not know how I tried, with both screens turned on I could not squeeze more than 2.5 - 3 hours away from the socket. However, I trust that it can be squeezed more after a proper firmware update, after all, the laptop is equipped with 90 Wh cells. It should be easy to work away from the socket, just enough.

For this, as is usually the case with Windows laptops, equipped with a dedicated GPU, without a power supply Zephyrus is not able to achieve even half the performance. The graphics card simply lacks power and even when we charge the laptop with a Thunderbolt 3. 65W connector, which we can provide in this way, it is definitely not enough for the graphics card.

So you have to accept the idea that while the Zephyrus Duo 15 can be easily moved from place to place (and it will fit into most backpacks holding 15-inch laptops), we'll use it rather stationary. Many hours of work with a computer on your lap during travel generally falls off.

It also falls out because in order to comfortably type on the keyboard, you really need to have this pad with you. This one, with regret, I say this, is a step backwards compared to the pad in ZenBook ProDuo. Instead of a solid, plastic element, we get a piece of rubber that can be soft and pleasant to the touch, but is quite short, and also collects dust and dirt with disgusting ease.

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15

Not to mention that it weighs a lot. Unless the intention of Asus engineers was to equip the owner of the Zephyrus Duo 15 with an additional personal protective equipment, then I have no comments - the wristband will be great in this role.

Another minus that needs to be pointed out is the lack of a built-in webcam. With all due respect to the R&D department, but the frames around the screen are not so slim that the cam would not fit there. And if for some reason it was impossible, it would be appropriate to include an external module in the set.

However, this is missing and in the laptop for such money I think this lack is completely irrational.

And since we are talking about money ...

For most buyers, the price cannot be overcome.

Let's talk for a moment as adults. I mean sitting down and with glasses of whiskey in my hands, because sober and standing up it will be difficult to swallow the next paragraphs.

The copy of Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 that I tested, which went on sale in Poland today, costs ... PLN 17,799

The variant with the same components, but a 300 Hz matrix costs PLN 18,499.

The model with a weaker processor and graphics card and a 300 Hz screen costs PLN 14999.

The cheapest variant of Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 will cost PLN 13,899 in Polish stores.

Well, it's down.

This price, of course, does not come from nowhere. I will say more - personally I cannot write with a clear conscience that ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 was too expensive, because it is not too expensive.

It is priced adequately to the possibilities - and these are enormous. The mere use of a second display gives it functionality that 99% do not have. laptops. The innovative design is perfect for everyday work. Powerful components combined with two displays and a relatively light housing make Zephyrus Duo 15 a phenomenal mobile workstation.

Maybe part of the price is actually a "tax on new products" and a surcharge to the overall "coolness" of the device, but considering what combination of components and options we are talking about, I can't really call this computer badly priced.

Which does not change the fact that you have to objectively spend a huge amount of money on it. A sum that many potential buyers will not be able to swallow.

However, those who would decide to buy this wonderful freak will not regret it.

Since testing ZenBook laptops with two displays, I have not felt such childish, geekian joy by opening the cover of the laptop. Here this joy was even greater because I was dealing with a machine capable of dealing with absolutely every challenge and every game, and looking like a mobile control center of the universe.

My inner 14-year-old squealed with joy, and the cynical 29-year-old in front of the screen couldn't be surprised.

Amazement that someone at Asus decided that a good idea would be to release a laptop into the world, which can easily be mistaken for a prototype buried in the company's underground laboratories.

And that he did it so well.



A huge freak. I spent a week with the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 laptop and want to talk about it

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