Is gaming better with two screens? Let’s find out.
Asus has pioneered dual-screen laptops with last year’s ZenBook Pro Duo and now that same design aspect has arrived on its ROG line of gaming notebooks. Meet the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550, a gaming notebook that boasts a secondary touch display that sits just above the keyboard and the main screen. Some may say it’s over the top, but gaming notebooks tend to be over the top anyways.
Let’s check out the externals first – the Zephyrus Duo 15 is surprisingly compact considering it’s a gaming PC with dual screen. It weighs just 2.4 kilograms (considering it’s an all-metal chassis), making it lighter than most of the gaming notebooks we’ve tested before. Much like other ROG notebooks, the Zephyrus Duo 15’s streamlined design gives a rather unique look without being too extreme.
The top display is a 15.6-inch 4K 60Hz IPS panel which is already great in its own right. It’s bright and beautiful which immediately translates to pure visual delight when playing games. But of course, the main highlight of this notebook is the secondary screen (Asus calls it the ScreenPad Plus) located just below it. It’s a 14.09-inch 4K touchscreen display that lifts to a 13-degree angle when you open the main screen. This allows for improved immersion and makes it look like you have one large display. It’s missing a built-in webcam though, so that might be a con if you always use it for video calls and the like – but don’t worry, Asus has included an external webcam in the package.
The ScreenPad Plus offers a plethora of options on how you can utilize the secondary display that is similar to the ZenBook Pro Duo that we reviewed last year. Options like extending a window or dragging it from the main screen to the ScreenPad Plus are still present. Its function is justified when you start playing games – you can have the main screen playing the game, while the ScreenPad Plus can handle other windows like Discord if you like chatting with your friends while playing.
Since the ScreenPad Plus supports touch, you can independently open apps without using the mouse. You can open Spotify and listen to a playlist while you’re working, or manage controls on it when you’re doing a livestream. The main screen never gets interrupted since the ScreenPad Plus handles it all. That being said, it’s not perfect, but with a few updates and further support from third-party apps, the ScreenPad Plus can go a long way.
A plethora of I/O ports is also located at the sides, which is where most of the cooling vents are also located. Since the ScreenPad Plus is raised when you open the notebook, ventilation is improved on the inside. Considering that the Zephyrus Duo 15 is running high-end hardware, it’s great that Asus managed to utilize every space inside.
The island-style keyboard on the Zephyrus Duo 15 looks great and easy to type. As expected, the keys are backlit and are also fully customizable. You may notice that there’s a small trackpad located right, but that also doubles as a numeric keypad with a press of a button. Using the trackpad is a little annoying because of its small size, which is why using an external mouse with the Zephyrus Duo 15 is highly recommended.
Asus went all out with the Zephyrus Duo 15, packing it with hardware that every gamer would dream of. There’s an Intel 10th-Gen Core i9-10980HK CPU powering the system, along with a generous 32GB DDR4 RAM and a 2TB SSD. Graphics are handled by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM. Just from those specifications alone, you can already expect great gaming performance.
So how does it perform? Excellent of course. I mostly played games at 1080p, occasionally trying out 4K to see the difference. For Rise of the Tomb Raider, I managed to get around 120 fps when graphics are set to very high, and turning it down a notch gave me a higher number at 145 fps. The same goes for Far Cry 5, where I managed to get numbers above 100 fps with both normal and ultra graphics settings. Changing the resolution to 4K of course lowered the numbers to around 40fps – still playable but a big compromise if you want the higher resolution.
The high-end hardware also means that the Zephyrus Duo 15 is a very capable multimedia machine -editing videos on Premiere Pro or manipulating images on Photoshop didn’t slow down the notebook. Despite the amount of power the Zephyrus Duo 15 has, it runs surprisingly quiet considering the improved internal cooling that it has.
Battery life is decent, I managed to get around five hours on normal usage that includes browsing, playing games, and watching videos. Results may vary of course, and you have different options including turning off the ScreenPad Plus to conserve battery.
Overall, Asus again delivers with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. It costs 17,999 AED which might not be under everyone’s budget. Still, the secondary screen on this notebook might seem like a gimmick but as you spend time with it, it actually becomes a useful accessory.
[Editor’s Note: We initially cited that the ROG Zephyrus Duo’s lack of a webcam as a disadvantage, but we missed to add an extra detail that an external webcam is included in the box when with each purchase. The review has been updated to reflect those changes.]
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 will be available from today, July 30th, 2020 in the UAE from Amazon, Computronic, Emax, Noon, Sharaf DG, and Virgin Megastores.
+ Secondary display is actually useful
+ Slim design
+ Excellent gaming performance
We Didn’t Really Like:
– The price isn’t for everyone
– No built-in webcam
Final Rating: 4/5