Look at it, just look at it. This glorious machine is the Asus Zephyrus Duo 15 and you’re probably going to be seeing it in a lot of the best laptops conversations going forwards. Let’s get the obvious things out of the way first: it’s a dual screen laptop. Now we’ve seen these before, but the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is the world’s first gaming laptop to feature this dual screen system, and the possibilities for gaming are wild.
Asus invited us down to see the Asus Zephyrus Duo 15 firsthand last month and we were suitably wowed by it, with some seriously impressive numbers when it comes to power. Packing an Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake i& or i9 CPU, between 16 and 32 GB of DDR4 RAM and an NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2070-SUPER/2080-SUPER GPU, this is an absolute monster of a gaming laptop. There’s some other fancy tech going on under the hood too, with Liquid metal on CPU cooling and some clever power savings that boost performance and battery life.
Then there’s the screens, which come in two flavors: HD and 4K. The Zephyrus Duo 15’s main screen is a 15.6-inch screen in either full HD (1920 x 1080) or 4K (3840 x 2160). The 4K screen costs more and looks better, but the HD screen actually has a better refresh rate at 300Hz/3ms, which means games will look smoother in motion on it, even if they won’t have quite the same pixel density.
The secondary screen, and the Zephyrus Duo 15’s party piece, is a 14.1-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 3840 x 1100. This gadget is the real selling point of the Zephyrus Duo 15. It’s a gorgeous addition to the laptop and we love the sleek mechanism that raises and lowers the secondary screen automatically as you open and close the laptop. But what do you actually use it for?
As a gaming aid, Asus says that the secondary screen can be used to display information like scoreboards, mini-maps and inventories – stuff you want to have quick access too but don’t want taking up valuable screen real estate during gameplay. Of course, games won’t automatically work with the second screen, but Asus says that it is already working with numerous developers to add interactive content for the second screen.
It can also be used for streamers on Twitch and Mixer, as they can keep their streaming programs up on the bottom screen while they game on the main screen, which is pretty cool. And while it’s made for gaming, you can easily use the second screen for multitasking when working – the screen can hold three additional windows that you can swap between with a simple touch.
Due to coronavirus outbreak messing with Asus’s plans at the last minute, we didn’t get much hands on-time with the Zephyrus Duo 15 at the event, as there was only the one device between a room full of journalists. What we can say is that during our time with it, the Zephyrus Duo 15’s fancy dual screen system worked wonderfully. Our only concern is that the usefulness of the second screen to games is going to depend entirely on support from developers. In our experience, these niche gadgets tend to get some early support when the device launches, before being forgotten about.
Oh, and our other concern is the price, which is high. Like really high. The base model with an i7 CPU and HD screen comes in at $2,999, will the most expensive variant with an i9 CPU and 4K screen is an eye-watering $3,699. That is a lot of money to spend on a laptop, but you're always going to sink a hefty chunk of cash for a gaming laptop. The Alienware m15 that we reviewed earlier this year has some much cheaper configurations, but the top-end models in that line still cost north of $4000. Considering the specs of the two machines, the Zephyrus Duo 15 looks like a bargain by comparison.
Is it worth the money? It’s hard to say at the moment, but even if the second screen does get support from the majority of game developers, the Zephyrus Duo 15 is still going to be a rich-person’s toy.
We’ll have our full thoughts later in the year when we get one of these monsters in for review. Now excuse me, I need to figure out what I can sell so I can afford this beautiful machine.