What you need to know
- ASUS has revealed its newest generation ZenBook Duo at CES 2024.
- The new version extends the additional display of old to become a pair of full 3K 120 Hz OLED panels.
- It has both a detachable keyboard and a built-in kickstand, and is powered by Intel's latest Core Ultra chips with NPU and Arc integrated graphics.
One of my favorite laptop reviews in recent years was the first generation of the ASUS ZenBook Duo. It had quirks, but the addition of a secondary display above the keyboard added a whole new dimension of usability. It was a laptop that looked cool as hell, but it wasn't all style, no substance. From the first use, I knew it was different. I knew it was changing the game.
At CES 2024, ASUS has unveiled its latest iteration of the ZenBook Duo, and this one is a lot different. It's no longer a traditional laptop with a strip of extra screen space, it's all display. In a similar vein to the Lenovo Yoga 9i, the 2024 ZenBook Duo packs two full displays which, once again, changes the user experience.
I had a little time to check it out in person before CES began, and it definitely gives off a wow factor. The all-new design is paired with the latest chips from Intel, the latest OLED display tech, and a price point that isn't as sky-high as you might anticipate.
ASUS ZenBook Duo (2024) key specs
|Up to Intel Core Ultra 9
|2 x 14-inch 3K OLED touch w/ pen support
|Row 2 - Cell 0
|16:10 aspect ratio
|Up to 32GB LPDDR5x
|Up to 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
|Row 5 - Cell 0
|120 Hz refresh rate
|1.35 kg (2.9lbs) without keyboard
|2 x Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Type-A, HDMI 2.1
Two full displays, endless flexibility
The previous generations of the ASUS ZenBook Duo had that extra display that could be used to display regular apps, or use some specialised ones ASUS made for it. It was always a really good addition, but obviously, since it had the keyboard below it, there was only so much you could do with it.
The newest version doesn't have this issue. Both displays are identical in size and resolution at 14-inches, 3K, 16:10 aspect ratio and OLED. They can be used together, to mirror content, or the lower one can be turned into a touchscreen keyboard. I've never really been convinced by touchscreen keyboards, but this one is pretty good to type on. If you wish, it can fill the whole display, giving you a more traditional laptop setup just without the physical keyboard.
You do get a physical keyboard, though. You can use it detached from the laptop, or snap it over the lower display, and you're back to using a 'normal' laptop. When folded close, it's naturally a little thicker than a regular Ultrabook, but not so chunky that it'd be uncomfortable to carry around. You also don't need to carry it around. That's part of the beauty of this laptop; flexibility.
I also really like the mirroring feature, allowing you to fold the laptop flat and show the same content on both displays the correct way up. The ZenBook Duo isn't a convertible, so 180-degrees is all you get, but for collaborating around a meeting table, or helping your kids with their school work, it could be extremely useful. Especially since both displays also support pen input, and both can be drawn on at the same time.
The ZenBook Duo also has a kickstand, so you can fold it flat and work on the two displays vertically with the detached keyboard. While not optimal for using all that available screen real estate, it's yet another flexible option to using the laptop however best suits you.
The keyboard is really nice, too. Despite detaching from the laptop, it's every bit as good as the keyboard ASUS puts on its other ZenBooks. The trackpad is large and accurate, and when it's attached to the laptop it connects using pogo pins so it's secure and reliable. When you drop the keyboard on, the laptop actually looks fairly unremarkable. Stylish and sophisticated, but there's absolutely no hint of the remarkable lying beneath.
Intel Core Ultra inside, ready for AI
As with the ZenBook 14 OLED that launched before the holidays, the new ZenBook Duo uses Intel's Meteor Lake chips up to the Core Ultra 9. In the highest spec versions, I'll be interested to know what true battery life is like, since it has a 75Wh pack that has to keep both of those 3K displays juiced up and the rest of the system. Meteor Lake is supposed to be more efficient, and OLED will help, but how well that'll translate on a device like this only time will tell.
Meteor Lake also means a dedicated NPU built for AI workflows. During the press preview event, some of these were discussed, both present and upcoming. Apps like Microsoft Teams will obviously be able to take advantage, but one of the more interesting use cases coming this year for many will be DaVinci Resolve.
All we were told was that it will bring "AI 4K video editing with AV1 export" which, considering it was an Intel supplied blurb, ticks the boxes. The Arc integrated graphics on Meteor Lake supports AV1 encoding, and with the dual-displays on offer here, the ZenBook Duo could be a sleeper hit for video editors.
A stand-out from CES
As soon as I laid eyes on the ASUS ZenBook Duo, I knew it was likely going to be my favorite thing from CES this year. As an aside, ASUS also had a collection of all the previous laptops the company has made with extra displays leading to this point, and it was exciting to see how things have progressed. From the first time ASUS put a small display into the trackpad, through the original ZenBook Duo, the ZenBook Fold and now to this point, each time iterating and improving on what came before.
It stands out, too, because like its predecessors, there isn't much in the way of true competition. Lenovo has something, but that's really it. Foldables are still in their infancy, but a true dual display laptop like this boasts its own benefits. And costs less.
That was one of the other striking points of the ZenBook Duo. I expected it to cost a small fortune, but the starting price is fairly reasonable considering what you're getting. In the UK, it'll start at £1,699.99 and is set to becoming available at the end of January.
I still have questions to answer, mostly around battery life and just how good the new Meteor Lake chips will be, but for now at least, it's all wow factor.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine
Excellent design, love the addition of a touchpad on the keyboard and the kickstand, both that are missing on the Yoga 9i. The weight is also quite low.Reply
3:2 screens (or thin inner bezels) would have been nice for in portrait mode but still very nice device.