Thanks to its second display above the keyboard, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo was arguably the most unique laptop of 2019. That uniqueness came at a cost, mainly the 5.5-pound weight and front-loaded keyboard. The newly-announced Asus ZenBook Duo solves the weight issue, but the keyboard remains a concern.
First, the weight. The ZenBook Duo comes in a 14-inch size, making it easier to carry around than the 15.6-inch ZenBook Pro Duo. The smaller footprint means a smaller secondary display on the ZenBook Duo—12.6 inches versus the ZenBook Pro Duo’s 14-inch panel. Though the secondary display shrunk, it still serves the same purpose: to offload distractions like Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, and Gmail to it, leaving the 14-inch display available for nothing but productivity. Also, the ZenBook Duo’s smaller size means it weighs just 3.3 pounds.
However, the smaller size comes with sacrifices. The ZenBook Duo’s main IPS panel steps down to 1080p compared to the ZenBook Pro Duo’s 4K OLED panel. Even though the processors are Intel’s 10th-generation Comet Lake chipsets, these are U-series processors instead of the Pro’s H-series processors. RAM tops out at 16 GB compared to the 32 GB. Your only choice for graphics is the GeForce MX250 versus the RTX 2060 you can pick for the ZenBook Pro Duo.
Apart from the presence of the secondary display, the only thing that didn’t change is the positioning of the keyboard. The front-loaded keyboard of the ZenBook Pro Duo is back, which means no wrist rest on the laptop itself and a minuscule vertical trackpad on the right. It also means the ZenBook Duo might not be the best laptop for heavy typists, particularly those who find themselves typing on their laps. Compounding matters, the ZenBook Duo doesn’t include the removable wrist rest of its larger cousin.
The ZenBook Duo will be available in Q1 2020, though pricing and regional availability are unknown. For comparison, the ZenBook Pro Duo starts at $2,499. Given its less-powerful specs, the ZenBook Duo should cost less, even if only slightly.