In late September, we talked about the ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 – a two-screen monster from ASUS for work and creativity. Its feature was a powerful filling, an additional display above the keyboard and outstanding technological equipment,
in particular, it uses expensive OLED-matrix screens. However, the manufacturer also has a more affordable modification – ZenBook Duo UX481 which is suitable for those for whom the flagship performance seemed excessive, or was confused by its large size, or maybe its price is too high.
In general, the younger model is perfect as the first acquaintance in a two-screen layout (which will probably develop in the future) and will allow you to evaluate all the advantages that this bold ASUS experiment gives the user.
Technical specifications ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10
Screens: IPS, 14.0 inches 1920×1080 + IPS, 12.6 inches 1920×515
Processor: Intel Core i5-10210U / Intel Core i7-10510U
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250, 2 GB GDDR5
RAM: 8/16 GB
Storage: 256 GB / 512 GB / 1 TB
Connectors: USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, HDMI, combo audio jack, MicroSD slot
Wireless interfaces: Intel Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0
Sound: ASUS SonicMaster + Harman / Kardon Certification
Battery: 70 Wh
Dimensions: 323.0 x 223.0 x 19.9 mm
Price: from 106 990 rub.
Design ZenBook Duo UX481 turned out to be curious. When closed, it’s immediately clear that this is an ASUS product – there are branded concentric circles on the cover that diverge from the logo. It looks strict but stylish. There is no doubt that this is a flagship product.
However, the thickness of this laptop immediately attracts attention. 19.9 mm is quite a lot for current ultrabook models when manufacturers tend to make their products about 1 cm. Visually, the situation is slightly corrected by the beveled edges (and also add a twist), but anyway, when you look at the profile of the laptop, you immediately suspect that it is not so simple as other models on the market.
In the open state, everything falls into place: the thickness of the ZenBook Duo UX481 is due to a very unusual layout due to the presence of a second screen. It is located above the keyboard, which moved the buttons closer to the front edge, and the trackpad to the right, where we are used to seeing the digital block.
Honestly, this is not the most ergonomic solution, but personally, it seems to me that this is the only possible arrangement of elements here. Here’s what’s causing minor difficulties: because of the close to the edge of the keyboard located wrists can be uncomfortable (especially when working with laptops on your lap) and lack the usual support in the form of the front of the case, you will also need to get used to the location and compact layout of the trackpad .
However, these are not critical problems and everything is solved in a few days of training. In addition, few people will buy this model as a typewriter, and in those tasks that the ZenBook Duo UX481 is designed for, the second screen provides many more advantages than if the wrist had additional support when using the keyboard.
The keyboard itself is almost standard here. Shift and arrows are slightly reduced, but in general, it’s convenient to work and you don’t have to spend a lot of time getting used to it. The buttons have an excellent stroke, they are normally spaced from each other, and they also have a clearly visible white backlight.
In general, it was quite convenient for me to print even a few text fragments on the ZenBook Duo UX481. I was also able to get used to the trackpad on the second or third day. You should not be afraid of an unusual location, although still, I would not refuse to get a wrist rest in the delivery set, as was the case with the older ZenBook Pro Duo UX581.
In terms of performance, you can choose between Intel Core i5-10210U and Intel Core i7-10510U, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, as well as 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB drives. Then everything does not depend on the version: the discrete graphics here are NVIDIA GeForce MX250 with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory, the latest Intel Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connection chips, normal sound, a webcam with an infrared sensor for face recognition. I would also like to say about the connectors:
ASUS did not give in to the fashion of reducing ports to 2-4 USB Type-C and made an adequate set for connecting peripherals. On the sides are USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, two USB 3.1 Type-A, (first and second-generation), HDMI, a combined audio jack and a slot for microSD memory cards.
Power – a four-section battery of 70 Wh; in combination with an energy-efficient filling, it gives the laptop adequate autonomy. In the quietest mode,
it will last more than 10 hours, continuous playback of Full HD video from the Internet with a maximum illumination of the main screen will give about 5 hours of operation, with heavy workload with heavy tasks and two displays at maximum brightness, the ZenBook Duo UX481 will last a little more than two hours.
With a mixed-use cycle, when we work with documents, a browser, communicate with both mail and instant messengers, this laptop will last almost a whole working day. But it’s better to have a charge with you anyway because for an 8-hour workday the owner of the ZenBook Duo UX481 cannot be relaxed and will have to be economical in terms of energy consumption.
The main screen received a diagonal of 14 inches and a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels. An IPS matrix with wide viewing angles and color reproduction corresponding to 100% sRGB coverage is used. These are optimum characteristics for the device of this class.
The picture is very high-quality, the frames around the perimeter are thin, there is practically no distortion during deviation, the resolution is enough for 14 inches of diagonal. In general, the screen is fine.
The second ScreenPad Plus display received touch control support and a resolution of 1920 × 515 pixels, diagonal – 12.6 inches. It is also made using IPS technology and loses a little brightness due to deviation with respect to the user’s gaze, but this is not critical.
It was ScreenPad Plus that became the key component of the ZenBook Duo UX481 and significantly changes the familiar user experience when working. You can transfer one, two or three application windows to this screen, as well as portions of the heavy software interface.
For example, the easiest everyday scenario is vacation planning. On the main screen, you can open a browser with Booking and Aviasales, and on ScreenPad Plus – a calendar and calculator. So you keep everything important before your eyes, you can estimate the increase in costs with more days abroad and so on. However, taking the ZenBook Duo UX481 for such tasks would be too wasteful.
The second screen gives many more advantages when working with heavy professional software. For example, you can place Photoshop toolbars or the Vega timeline video editor on it. It’s especially cool that ScreenPad Plus is touch-sensitive, so changing tools or any other action is much faster than when working with the mouse, and sometimes even outperforms hotkeys. What scenarios you may have – try to imagine it yourself.
Personally, it seemed to me that in ScreenPad Plus many should find advantages for themselves and evaluate the possibilities of working with two displays.
As a result, both models of ASUS ZenBook Duo this year have become for me the most memorable laptops. While other manufacturers are trying to gradually develop some characteristics – making devices autonomous, thinner, lighter, more powerful – ASUS finally tried to revise the general concept of the laptop and offer customers something fundamentally new.
This approach impresses me and it seems that with the proper development of this technology, dual-screen laptops should become the same trend as flexible smartphones.