The power of the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo comes directly from our use of the ScreenPad Plus. We had the opportunity to try it for a few hours and although our first feeling was that it was an unnecessary addition, the truth is that little by little we began to send more applications and feel comfortable with it.
Having tried the Apple TouchBar, in this case the solution goes several steps further. Not only is it a direct access or additional menus, it is the possibility to have entire applications. Perhaps not to watch videos or read, but to have a text support, a calculator, an excel or any help. To give you an idea, the use we can give the ScreenPad Plus would be equivalent to a small external monitor connected.
The main tool to control this secondary screen is the dedicated ASUS application. From it, to which we will accede sliding from the left, we have a series of direct accesses, access to the multitask of Windows, additional adjustments and a screen to save concrete configurations and to be able to show them in the secondary screen of fast form.
The initial configuration is not exactly the most intuitive and comfortable, although after using it for a while you do begin to understand how it works and we are learning the various tricks and mechanisms.
The addition of the ScreenPad Plus has not seemed to us to harm the experience of the laptop and yet we have used it more than we could think. One of those additions that you get used to could end up becoming a real help.
The ScreenPad Plus fits up to 3 applications and can be adapted in size. Also note that it is compatible with all Windows applications. In the end what we have is a window resize, as we would normally do.
From the ScreenPad settings we can modify the brightness of the screen, change the wallpaper and activate the menu that allows us to pass applications from one to another. Although really being the two touch screens, it is easy to drag an application from one screen to another. The tactile sensitivity can be improved, but the gesture is simple.
The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo incorporates specialized applications for chatting and office automation. They are inside the dedicated application and will help us to have the list of friends when we talk or for example the text editing tools when we are in Office.
ASUS has also announced that developers will be able to adapt their applications to ScreenPad. As always this is the real battleground, but we would not be surprised if other brands sign up to this trend and then we do see more applications take advantage of the double screen in all its splendor.
In addition to this dual-screen combination in which the second can act as a mirror or additional screen, ASUS has also planned to expand the possibilities by working with developers. This is really where we can have a real improvement in multitasking, although it depends on your alliance with third parties to achieve it.
At the moment they have announced that Corel Draw will be compatible with ScreenPad Plus. What do you mean? Basically, instead of splitting the screen, Corel Draw will be able to display the main image on the OLED screen while the controls stay on the secondary. We haven’t had a chance to try it out in the first person, but it was announced during the presentation.
During the test we were able to use the ScreenPad to play the piano, to have an open PDF as we wrote, to be able to control Spotify while reading a web page or to have the calendar open while looking for how to organize an agenda. It’s not difficult to imagine situations where this secondary screen is useful to us and when it comes to controlling it we are given a solid enough experience so that its presence is not problematic.
We would have liked the quality of the secondary screen to be slightly higher and the touch sensitivity to switch from one to the other to be higher, but in general this ScreenPad is an interesting addition that can differentiate this ZenBook Pro Duo from other high-end laptops. With the only exception to that weight gain that might be enough to push back some users.
ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo, the opinion
The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is a risky notebook, but also a serious commitment to look to the future of the sector. We have high quality finishes, an excellent screen and a layout of the keyboard, trackpad and the secondary screen itself that we thought was right. It’s still too early to determine aspects such as sound, battery or performance, but the initial sensations are very good. This is important because it will probably not be an economic device, at least in its Pro version that will be around 3,000 euros.
The bet of ASUS with its ZenBook Pro Duo is not unreasonable. After a few hours we do imagine that this ScreenPad Plus can be a breakthrough when it comes to using the laptop. What accompanied by good finishes and specifications, make the ZenBook Pro Duo one of the devices to consider in the future.
ASUS has announced that it will be available after the summer at prices that will depend on the market and the configuration chosen, but have not yet been announced.
Last year ASUS surprised us with its interaction with the dual display, but this 2019 have clearly gone further. What could be considered as a test, here is transformed into a differential element that will foreseeably mark the development of ASUS in laptops over the next few years. We will see how the market responds to this secondary screen, but after having tested it for a few hours we would not mind the idea being implemented.
It is possible that the implementation could be improved, but ASUS should be rewarded for pointing towards the future, offering a fairly solid experience to be a first generation and above all surrounding it with a device as solid and well-finished as this ZenBook Pro Duo. An interesting laptop for those looking for good screen, great connectivity and a cutting-edge design.