Asus Zenbook Duo (2024) hands-on review: The refined dual-screen laptop

Has the proof of concept been perfected?

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024)
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The new-look Asus Zenbook Duo fixes a lot of my problems with the dual-screen laptop concept. It also packs the latest Intel CPU and sells for a surprisingly competitive price.

Pros

  • +

    Two gorgeous 14-inch OLED displays

  • +

    Intel Core Ultra power

  • +

    Surprisingly sleek

  • +

    Physical touchpad is a dual-screen game changer

  • +

    Excellent $1,499 starting price

Cons

  • -

    Battery life is uncertain with a dual-screen device

  • -

    Limited port array

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The Asus Zenbook Duo has always been a bit of a weird laptop — squashing the keyboard and touchpad further down the deck with a letterbox-sized touchscreen display. But for CES 2024, the company has thrown out the rulebook and made one of the most exciting laptops to come out of Las Vegas.

Why do I say that? It’s not as if the dual-screen laptop is a new concept. Other companies have their own versions. But Asus has learned from these systems' strengths and weaknesses and refined them while keeping the price surprisingly affordable.

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024): Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Asus Zenbook Duo
Price$1,499 (starting)
DisplayDual 14-inch 3K OLED touchscreens — 120Hz refresh rate, 16:10 aspect ratio
CPUUp to Intel Core Ultra 9 185H
GPUIntegrated Intel Arc graphics
MemoryUp to 32GB LPDDR5x
StorageUp to 1TB PCIe Gen 4
Ports2x Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x Audio jack
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.3
Dimensions12.3 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches (with bluetooth keyboard)
Weight3.6 pounds (with bluetooth keyboard)

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024): Price and availability

Probably the biggest win for the Asus Zenbook Duo is that it starts at $1,499. All this time, I assumed dual-screen laptops would remain firmly in a luxury category. But through undercutting the costs of its competitors this significantly, Asus has made a mightily tempting proposition.

As for when you’ll be able to pick one up, Asus has confirmed that the Duo (UX8406) will be available “later in Q1.”

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024): Design and display

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024)

(Image credit: Future)

My oh my, the Zenbook Duo has come a long way since its more awkward years. From the bizarre second-touch display on the bottom deck that I reviewed for Laptop Mag, Asus has gone all in on the dual-screen deliciousness with a second 14-inch OLED panel. In person, it looks like a rather unassuming laptop (and has the dimensions to match), which opens up to reveal this secret weapon.

With two OLED displays (Asus’ bread and butter by this point) featuring a 120Hz refresh rate, everything feels full of vivid color and super smooth to interact with — especially to the touch. Firing up the GTA 6 trailer for the 150th time highlights the HDR-esque breadth of contrast leveling, as the lights of this Miami-inspired region pop off the screen with impressive luminosity.

Plus, the productivity potential of a second panel is rather tasty, as within seconds, I found myself naturally throwing off this website’s CMS system to the bottom window while I edited an image for my article on the top screen. I thought using it vertically like a book would be a little too weird for my workload, but seeing websites on a large, tall display like this was a game changer for seeing all the content without needing to scroll.

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024)

(Image credit: Future)

Design-wise, this all leads to a sleek system that may be a little lacking on the port array (would it kill you to stick an SD card slot on here?), but is thin and light enough for portability. You won’t have any problems throwing this in your backpack for the next big commute.

Of course, it would be wrong of me to not acknowledge the devices that have come before this — not Asus’ own lineup of past Zenbook Duos, but rather the likes of the HP Spectre Fold and Lenovo Yoga Book 9i. These have been two of the big driving forces behind sticking one panel atop the other and providing a detachable keyboard, but it is Asus that (in my opinion) has come a lot closer to perfecting the formula.

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024): Keyboard and touchpad

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024)

(Image credit: Future)

What is the crucial element of this formula? Well, it’s a simple mission statement: a system of this caliber has to be just as good at being both a single-screen laptop and a dual-screen workstation. Don’t get me wrong, the Spectre Fold works just fine with the keyboard attached to the bottom screen, but without that physical touchpad, other companies are missing that tactile feel of navigating/clicking through the OS.

Asus takes a different approach — providing you with a full-size keyboard and physical touchpad that connects to the bottom deck via pogo pins. The keyboard, as you’d expect from the company, is a joy to type on with a decent amount of key depth to give every letter a good feeling of intention, and to have an actual touchpad is miles ahead of its competition.

Plus, it has a battery inside that keyboard that lasts for a good long while during testing, so you’ll be able to convert this into the full big-screen beauty for hours without any issues whatsoever.

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024): Performance

The power of dual-screen laptops has been a bit of an oddity. The $5,000 HP Spectre Fold packs only 12th Gen Intel after all. But Asus is keeping up with the cutting edge by packing its Zenbook Duo with Meteor Lake. That means you can spec this with up to an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H — sure to keep everything zippy and really turbo boost its AI capabilities with that built-in NPU.

With integrated graphics, this may not be the best for gaming. But Intel has made some big inroads into tackling this by flipping its graphical architecture to be similar to its Arc GPU. The result, as you can see from my Asus Zenbook 14 OLED benchmarks, is a tidy bump in performance that should mean you can get some AAA games running at decent frame rates with lower fidelity settings.

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024): Outlook

Asus Zenbook Duo (2024)

(Image credit: Future)

As a natural skeptic about literally everything, I’ve always been a little jaded towards the idea of a dual-screen laptop or other prototypical ideas. But with the refinements Asus has made to the formula with its Zenbook Duo, I think we’re really onto something here.

Some of my concerns persist — that second screen could impact the longevity of that 75Wh battery quite significantly, and Windows 11 is still a little awkward at times when reacting to this orientation-agnostic hardware, regardless of the software tweaks Asus has made.

But those concerns will be answered with more hands-on time for a proper review. In the meantime though, I have no hesitation in saying that this is definitely one of the most exciting laptops coming out of CES this year.


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Jason England
Managing Editor — Computing

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.