Last week, we got our hands on the new ZenBook Duo UX482, the new refreshed variant of ASUS’ signature dual-screen laptop. Compared to the original, the UX482 comes with a bevy of improvements, including more powerful hardware, enhanced displays, and a revamped design for the secondary screen.
Based on just the specs sheet alone, the ZenBook Duo UX482 is a clear step up from its predecessor. But is it also a major improvement in real-world use? And does it still stand up as an excellent productivity partner overall? Find out here in our full review!
If you’re familiar with ASUS’ ZenBook laptops, you’ll probably notice that the Duo looks pretty much the same as the other ZenBooks when viewed from the back. This is because the UX482 features a lid with a brushed metal finish and the signature ASUS concentric circle design. While it may not be a departure from the typical ZenBook style, the Duo is still a well-designed laptop with a premium look and feel.
What did get a revamp is the design of the ScreenPad Plus secondary display. In the previous Duo, the secondary screen lays flat on the bottom part of the laptop, with it being raised only by the ErgoLift hinge. For the UX482, the bottom half not only gets lifted by the laptop’s main hinge, the ScreenPad Plus also has its own lifting mechanism. This makes for a more raised second screen, making it easier to view and use.
As for UI, the ZenBook Duo has a 2 x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 x full size HDMI 1.4, 1 x 3.5 mm audio jack, and 1 x microSD Reader. While having a card reader already makes the UX482 better than other ultrabooks when it comes to connectivity, having only one USB Type-A port is not ideal. We would’ve preferred it if the laptop had at least two Type-A ports, especially when using a USB connected mouse or another peripheral.
Binge Watching Factor
The UX482 packs a 14” LED-backlit FHD (1920 x 1080) main display with a big upgrade over its predecessor–it is now a touch screen. While nifty for general use, touch functionality doesn’t matter for binge-watching.
Thankfully, this touch display proved to be pretty good for binge-watching. Sure, it may be a bit on the small side, but it definitely provides a good viewing experience, whether you’re watching a movie, TV show, or anime. It also helps that the display gets quite bright, meaning you don’t have to crank up the brightness to max or near max when indoors.
The Duo’s secondary screen is also quite sharp with its 1920 x 515. Of course, you wouldn’t want to binge-watch on it due to its short aspect ratio. Still, it can work well if you want to keep tabs on a video (maybe like a live NBA game) while working on something or doing something else on the main screen.
For audio, the UX482 has onboard speakers that are tuned by Harman/Kardon. While this means audio quality from the speakers is of decent quality, the volume left a lot to be desired. Even at max, the speaker output is a bit quite for me, meaning you’ll need headphones or external speakers if you want a better binge-watching and listening experience.
While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original ZenBook Duo’s keyboard, ASUS has made some improvements. For instance, the layout of the arrow keys is way better, plus the right Shift key is finally of a good size. This meant I didn’t accidentally press the arrow keys or the Shift key while I was typing as that was my problem with the original duo.
There are still some issues though. Because a trackpad had to be fitted, the UX482’s keyboard still feels a bit cramped when typing. Then there’s the fact that it no longer has an LED backlight (the original had a white backlight). Still, in spite of these, I would still say that the new Duo’s keyboard is an overall improvement over the previous model.
The ZenBook Duo UX482 we have is powered by an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, an NVIDIA MX 450 GPU, and 16GB of RAM. While it’s not made for gaming, we believed prior to testing that this configuration can work pretty well for esports titles. And we were right!
For esports titles, the ZenBook Duo actually provides a pretty good gaming experience. Dota 2 for example, ran at an average of 70FPS at the max graphics settings and at 1080p. While there are some dips to the 50FPS mark, the experience was still fairly smooth overall.
While not every esports title can be maxed out on the Duo, this new ZenBook should still provide good gaming performance for less hardware-intensive esports games. Though don’t expect the Duo to have enough power for triple-A gaming. For that, you’ll need a true gaming laptop.
Meanwhile, here are the benchmark scores:
The laptop had a score of 2084 on 3D Mark and 5122 on PCMark10. These scores are quite a bit higher than its predecessor, meaning it is a step up in performance.
Everyday use and productivity are the key use cases for the ZenBook Duo UX482, and for these, the laptop does not disappoint!
For browsing, office apps, photo editing, and light video editing (1080p video files only), the ZenBook Duo performed fast, with the laptop not slowing down one bit during our time with it. That is even with some apps open on the secondary screen.
Aside from performance, another area where the ZenBook Duo excelled at is in battery life. After running a 2 and 1/2 hour movie at 50% brightness and volume (while connected to Wi-Fi and with the ScreenPad Plus on), the UX482 still had 79% remaining. This means the laptop should last for hours on end on a single charge, when not playing games or heavy content creation apps of course.
Battery life isn’t the only edge of the UX482 over other premium laptops though. The fact that it has dual touch displays makes it an excellent fit for creative professionals and office workers. Aside from letting users multi-task more easily, there are apps such as Adobe Premiere Pro that take full advantage of the secondary screen.
Personally, I found the secondary screen incredibly useful, especially for writing as I can use the ScreenPad Plus for my research/resources for articles.
The ScreenPad Plus functions as its own screen, but it also has some built-in apps such as a handwriting program (a perfect fit for the included ASUS Stylus), calcluator, and more.
The ScreenPad Plus also has an improved version of some of its predecessor’s features, including a revamped Task Group and a cleaner App Navigator.
Overall, the improvements made to the ScreenPad Plus definitely enhance the laptop’s usability, especially for productivity.
Final Geek Lifestyle Verdict
The ZenBook Duo UX482 is another excellent laptop from ASUS. Not only does it retain what made the previous Duo great, it also added lots of useful upgrades, including a nifty lifting mechanism for the secondary screen, better performance, and impressive battery life. To top it all off, the ScreenPad Plus’ software features are made even better than the previous model.
The ZenBook Duo UX482 is a great laptop, though it does come at a premium price. Specifically, the i7 variant is priced at PHP 99,995, while the i5 model has an SRP of PHP 79,995. If you’re willing to spend a good amount for a productivity laptop, the UX482 is worth considering.
ZenBook Duo UX482 Specs:
- Processor: Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor
- Installed Memory: 16GB
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home
- GPU: NVIDIA MX 450 with 2GB VRAM
- Storage: 1TB SSD
- Display: 14” LED-backlit FHD (1920 x 1080) touch display
- Secondary Display: 12.65″ 1920 x 515 IPS-level touch display
- 2 x Thunderbolt™ 4 USB-C with full range (5~20V) of charging
- 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
- 1 x full size HDMI 1.4
- 1 x 3.5 mm audio jack
- 1 x MicroSD Reader
ASUS will announce pricing and availability info for the UX482 on March 23, 2021.
Find out more about the ASUS ZenBook Duo 14 here: http://bit.ly/ASUSZenBookDuo14UX482.