Let us look at the cheaper alternative to the ZenBook Pro Duo.
Last year during Computex Asus revealed the ZenBook Pro Duo, an innovative new notebook that includes dual 4K screens that work as an extended display. We praised the device back when we reviewed it, and months after that we’re now getting a lighter and cheaper alternative, the ZenBook Duo UX481.
The UX481 is basically a smaller version of the UX581 – right from the design to the specifications. That doesn’t mean that performance is average – in fact, you’ll find an Intel Core i7-10510U CPU (there’s also a Core i5 variant) partnered with 16GB of RAM, GeForce MX250 and a 1TB SSD which is still enough to power multimedia apps and even video games. It weighs 1.5 kilograms, which makes it way more portable than its bigger brother.
Otherwise, the bones of the UX481 still mirror the UX581: from the ErgoLift feature that lifts the keyboard when the screen is opened, to backlit keyboard and the different connectivity ports. There’s also a cool IR camera that can be used to login to the UX481, an extra layer of security that’s most definitely welcome.
I also have to highlight the speakers on the UX481 – it’s certainly one of the best sounding notebooks I’ve heard. These Harman Kardon-equipped speakers offer a wider range, clearer sound output and impressive bass that you need to hear to believe.
But of course, the highlight of the ZenBook Duo series of notebooks is the dual-screen setup. On the UX481 you have the primary 14-inch Full HD display and the second screen, which Asus refers to as the ScreenPad Plus. The ScreenPad Plus is basically a secondary touchscreen located below the main screen that offers more productivity options that can help you with your tasks.
It’s a 12.6-inch panel that can work as an extended display so you can see documents on a bigger scale, or even open different programs and use the touchscreen to control them. It contains the Launcher, where you can select apps and configure other controls.
ScreenPad Plus feels like a gimmick when you first see it, but once you get to know the basic functions and what exactly it can do, it can be a great accessory on how you use the notebook.
Take for example on video editing, supported apps can use the second screen as an extension for the editing timeline. Or even for games, where you can start playing on the main and still continue to control Spotify and chat with friends on WhatsApp on the second screen. It works great with documents as well since you have a larger screen estate to read on. I just wish more applications would take advantage of the second screen, which at the moment is only supported by a few.
I used the UX481 for a couple of weeks and it eased right into my daily routine. Using ScreenPad Plus is so easy you don’t even need time to adjust to using it and like I said, the benefits are endless once you get to know its capabilities. As an everyday laptop, the UX481 does the job well. It handled all of my everyday Windows apps with ease from Office software to Photoshop to Premiere. It even played some of my Steam games in a playable quality.
Available now across all retailers in the UAE, the Asus ZenBook Duo delivers a great performance and a price (5,999 AED) that’s more affordable than the UX581.
+ Cheaper and more portable compared to the UX581
+ Good performance
+ Decent sounding speakers
– More apps should add support to ScreenPad