Two years ago ASUS first previewed an experimental dual-screen laptop. Dubbed ‘ProjectPrCog’, the unusual concept creation effectively doubled the available screen size to both the top and bottom case of the laptop.
In 2020, ASUS have (sort-of) finally taken the plunge with the ZenBook Duo. An intriguing new design, this ‘one-and-a-half-screen’, $1499 version includes a secondary rectangular monitor in the lower half of the case for extra display room.
Among the theoretical advantages of a dual-screen laptop are the ability to hold communications apps like email or instant messaging on the lower screen while working on the upper, and the ability to stream video from the top while controlling the stream itself lower down. A powerful Intel i7 processor included as standard ensures the extra screen space isn’t wasted, and it’s easy to imagine the Duo becoming a cult-hit with graphic designers and similar.
The overall design is not quite as futuristic as ProjectPrCog – ASUS have shied away from a full touchscreen keyboard, favouring a cut-down version of conventional laptop keys, and a touchpad mouse/numberpad combination.
The ZenBook Duo is also thankfully less wacky than previously failed attempts at the same thing, such as Lenovo’s odd Thinkpad W700ds.
Conceptually though a dual-screen laptop still poses some challenges: a cramped keyboard close to the edge makes it quite difficult to type on top of er… one’s lap. At 1.5kg the model sits around average for laptop weight, but dual displays is likely to impact the battery life considerably compared with single-screen models.
A highly commendable effort from ASUS and undoubtedly interesting. World-changing? Probably not yet.
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