Asus launches laptops with second 'full-width' touchscreen for professionals

Tuesday, 28 May, 2019

Even with the futuristic dual-screen design, the laptop has many familiar features that users need. All three of the new ZenBook models feature a slim design with a metallic build and include the ScreenPad 2.0, an updated version of Asus' touchscreen-embedded touchpad for more productivity. The primary display is a crisp 4K (3840×2160) OLED touch screen, but you'll probably notice the smaller display first.

We can expect the pricing of these ZenBook (Pro) Duo laptops to be revealed nearer the availability date which is set for Q3 this year. It's still hard to know if dual-screen laptop will resonate with consumers, but Asus deserves credit for pushing boundaries and trying to replace our good old trackpads.

While Computex officially kicked off today, ASUS was keen to get ahead of the game and held a "Sneak Peek" event on Sunday evening. The first is that they feature the ScreenPad 2.0 secondary display - just like the ZenBook laptops - that replaces the traditional touchpad and is created to improve multitasking and productivity. It has the same horizontal resolution and width as the main screen (4K) but roughly half the depth, which makes the diagonal length really long.

Lastly, ASUS also unveiled the ROG Strix XG17 portable display which connects to your laptop, or even Nintendo Switch, via USB-C.

Gamers can also use the second screen for maps, inventories and streaming windows. Both screens have touch capability, so you can move windows from one to another with your finger or with the onscreen cursor.

Moving windows between the two screens was slightly tricky, however. The notebook has two screens, allowing you to watch a video on one screen while editing a powerpoint presentation on the secondary screen. Asus touts the Duo as the ultimate machine for creatives, which means it'll likely have support for Adobe programs and those of a similar ilk. Instead of being a virtual screen embedded within the touchpad, ASUS has squeezed a full-width second screen above a physical keyboard into a 14-inch and 15-inch form factor.

The Trackpad gets pushed all the way to the right, too, like we've seen on some gaming laptops. Nevertheless, the dual-screen setup here is certainly attractive and opens up multiple possibilities for multitasking. Spec-wise, the device can be configured with either 9th-gen Intel Core i7 (9750H) or i9 (9980HK) processors (up to 5Ghz Turbo Boost) and 32GB DDR4 RAM. It does have a hotkey to switch among the various power profiles.

There's a keyboard below the ScreenPad, as well as a standard touchpad to the right of it that can transform into a number pad with just a few taps. Both laptops are due for release internationally in the third quarter of 2019, but Australian product managers confirmed to Kotaku Australia that the ZenBook Pro Duo would be launching in Australia first.

Though the Duos look sleek, those displays add quite a bit of weight - it's about 5.5 pounds.

The ZenBook Duo weighs in at 1.8kg, compared to the Pro Duo's 2.5kg, putting the latter well out of the thin-and-light category. Perhaps aware that some users might not like the front-forward keyboard layout, the company is offering a palm rest accessory to ease the pressure on your mits. We're sure this is something you could get used to over time, as the keyboard itself is pretty great.