Just how many screens do you need on your daily laptop? How much RAM is enough? And is touchscreen and stylus support even necessary? How you answer all of these questions likely depends on the kind of work you do every day.
If you are someone whose work involves a lot of Photoshop, video editing, and other resource-intensive tasks, then Asus is hoping its latest Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED will cater to your needs.
But is it the right laptop and does it live up to the promises? Here’s what I thought after using over two weeks.
Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED specifications: Model number UX8402 | 14.5-inch 2.8K OLED display | Intel 12th gen Core i9 processor with Nvidia RTX3050Ti_4G | 32G RAM with 1T PCIe SSD | Windows 11 with Office 365 for Home and Students | Sleeve + stylus included in the box.
Price in India: Rs 1,44,990 for the base core i5 variant | Rs 2,24,990 for Core i9 variant
Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED: Design, and those displays
When I first opened the Asus laptop I noticed one change. While the outer packaging remains as bulky as ever, the box inside has become sleeker and more stylish. And yes, it was good to see Asus pack a sleeve case for carrying this laptop inside the box. The laptop itself has a magnesium-aluminium body and comes with military-grade certification ( MIL-STD 810H) for durability.
The Zenbook looks like a very stylish laptop and muted, though you can see a hint of the iconic concentric circle design that the Asus Zenbook series tends to sport. The black variant will appeal to those who want a laptop they can carry to work. But given the dual screens, this is heavy and bulky. For someone like me, who is used to the lighter MacBook Air M1, it was quite a change. Asus says the laptop weighs around 1.7 kg, which does not seem much, but if you prefer lighter laptops, this might not be the right fit. The laptop is thicker at 17.9mm given there are two displays and a hinge that holds the second screen at an angle.
The main display is 14.5-inches and this is one powered pack display. It is a top-of-the-line OLED with Asus packing all the best specifications and features. This is a 2.8K display with Dolby Vision certification, touchscreen-enabled with 120 Hz refresh rate, 100 per cent support for the DCI-P3 colour gamut and is Pantone validated. If you’re someone whose line for work requires colour accuracy and you need a more portable option in the form of a laptop, this one wants to take that space. The second screen or what Asus called the Screenpad Plus is 12.5-inch, also has a 120 Hz refresh rate and is touchscreen enabled as well. This also supports the stylus.
I quite enjoyed using this main screen for my daily work which involves mostly writing, editing, and some very light Photoshop usage. I also watched some shows on Netflix on this, and it is clearly one of the best displays on a laptop. The viewing angles, and the overall experience remains unmatched with rich colours. But what I really appreciated the most was the touchscreen on this laptop. The reason: switching from Mac to Windows 11 meant I was just doing a lot of muscle memory fighting at times, forgetting basic commands. So, I would just tap the screen to open or close a window or make a switch. The touchscreen was a lot faster and a lifesaver in some moments.
I also used the stylus a bit, but this is not something I would reach for a lot as it is not something I really require. The ScreenPad Plus or the second screen is useful to create a custom set of applications or Task Group that can be accessed easily at one. For instance, I created a set where I could open Chrome and Photoshop side-by-side. This will be useful for folks who require these things on a daily basis and have a fixed set of apps they need to group together.
You can also launch an app on the second screen, but again this is not something I really had much use for. For me, the one screen is good enough. Do note that the second screen is at a slight tilt below the main display. Asus is using what it calls its own “Active Aerodynamic System Ultra (AAS)” which helps achieve this auto-tilting. The second screen is at 12 degrees angle and the company claims it also keeps the overall device cooler and ensures better thermal management.
Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED: The keyboard and trackpad
This is where the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo got a little challenging. That’s because the beautiful second screen is taking up space where the keyboard would have been nicely spread out. The keyboard on the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo seems tiny compared to the overall laptop.
I was not a fan of typing on this particular Zenbook and it felt like I always needed more space. The same goes for the trackpad. It is much smaller compared to what I am used to and doesn’t really do justice. I gave up and stuck to a Bluetooth mouse. Anyway, I predict that most folks who do buy this laptop will use an external mouse for more accuracy.
Overall, the trackpad was still acceptable and I managed to make use of it. But it took quite a while to get my typing skills to be accurate on this keyboard. It felt cramped. Asus claims the key travel is around 1.4mm, but I was never entirely comfortable on this one. This chiclet-style keyboard is not for me.
Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED: Performance, battery
The review unit Asus sent me is a laptop with the best-in-class specifications. It has the top-end Intel Core i9 12th-gen processor, 32GB RAM, and 1TB storage space. My daily line of work does not really need so much, and this was a lot of power from me. I didn’t expect any lags or hiccups or Chrome freezing on this and none of that happened. The laptop worked smoothly during my daily routine, though I was not doing too many of the tasks that would require a lot of pushing. The only resource-intensive program I used a lot was Photoshop, but again at a more basic level.
Still, if you want a laptop which won’t slow down no matter what you throw at it, this one has all the chops and doesn’t disappoint. What I did notice was that the Asus laptop did get rather warm at times. The fan is also rather loud on this one, especially when you have a number of applications open and are doing different tasks all at once.
This laptop also comes with a sufficient number of ports. It has an SD card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack, HDMI 2.1 port, two Thunderbolt 4 ports (USB-C) and an old-school USB Type A (USB 3.2 Gen 2) port as well. This should keep most folks who are into creating content happy. At least, you will not need extra dongles to transfer video files from your camera’s SD card to the laptop.
There is also a dedicated port at the back for the charging, though you can charge it using a Type-C charging cable as well. The laptop supports 180W charging. The battery life, though, is on the lower side and if you have both displays on at all times you will need that charger with you. I was able to get around six hours of my workday with the laptop fully charged and not plugged in. Again, this was not always with the second screen on or being used.
The laptop also comes with a 5MP HD web camera with an Infrared Sensor as well which is sharp enough for Zoom calls that you might need to take. Asus has also packed this with a lot of other software features designed for creators such as the ability to recalibrate the display for colour accuracy. There is also performance optimisation and other features which can be accessed from a dedicated dashboard.
The Zenbook Pro 14 Duo also includes Dolby Atmos support and stereo speakers. The audio quality should keep most users happy. Of course, the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo runs Windows 11 and includes three months of free access to the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.
Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED: Verdict
The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED is no doubt a very capable laptop. It has one of the best displays you can get, the performance is top-notch—at least for the high-end variant that I used—and you will get a second screen as well, provided you need something like this.
But this laptop is not meant for everyone. It is not meant for someone who is just starting out as a ‘creator’. I would say this is for people who have been in the business of creating digital art or editing films for a while now and might be looking for something new or more powerful. This is ideally for someone who has spent a few years now on Adobe’s key apps be it Photoshop or Premiere Pro or Indesign.
If you’re one of those and need a laptop with support for everything—be it a second screen, a touch-enabled main display, and a stylus—and do not wish to compromise on power, then the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED does not disappoint. But for those who are just starting out, this might be a bit of an overkill.