Laptop

Interpreting the mystique of flagship and innovation, the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 Gaming Laptop

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If you pay more attention to the innovation in the design of electronic products, you will certainly find that manufacturers are trying to bring a second screen to the device whether it is a mobile phone or a computer, thus giving birth to products like folding phones and folding computers, dual-screen computers, Samsung and Asus are undoubtedly the leaders in their respective fields in terms of morphological innovation, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold has already ushered in its second generation, and also introduced a vertical folding screen phone like the Z Flip.

Asus, on the other hand, after the earlier X Pro, enlarged the secondary screen of the laptop to come above the keyboard and form a relay with the main screen, and brought two different sizes of 14-inch and 15-inch under the guidance of this concept, while the earlier touchpad screen scheme was also parallel at the same time, and currently Asus has as many as five dual-screen laptops on sale under its umbrella, which is unbeatable in the field of dual-screen laptops.

Before today’s review officially begins, let’s take a brief look back at the history of dual-screen laptops, understanding its past will help us better understand its future.

The world’s first dual-screen laptop was ThinkPad’s W700s, a workstation-positioned laptop introduced in 2009, with a 17.1-inch primary screen and a 10-inch secondary screen making up the laptop’s screen array, with a drawer-style storage for the secondary screen, and a horizontal and vertical layout, a common dual-screen office combination.

In 2014, ThinkPad brought with the New X1 Carbon an Adaptive Keyboard that replaced the Fx function keys via touch, which we can also interpret as a predecessor to the Touch Bar, however, ThinkPad changed this design back in 2015 and has yet to retry a similar design solution.

In 2016, Apple introduced the Touch Bar to the newly redesigned MacBook Pro and continues this design to this day.

For the first time in 2018, ASUS turned the touchpad on a PC into a ScreenPad touchscreen by officially releasing the X Pro. Building on this design, ASUS went on to bring the Deluxe 14s and ARTONE, two thin and light notebooks. HP followed up with gaming laptops using a similar scheme.

In 2019, Asus enlarged and moved up the secondary screen to unify the length of the secondary screen with the main screen, placing the screen above the keyboard to visually blend with the main screen, the first product to use this design was the X2 Pro, followed by a smaller screen Spirit X2 Duo, both products are positioned to design PCs.

Our protagonist today, the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, is the first ROG product to feature a dual-screen design and the first mass-produced product in the gaming laptop space to feature a large secondary screen.

Throughout the history of dual-screen laptops, design-driven innovation has alternated with efficiency-driven innovation, and for consumers, the price of innovation is a high price tag, and none of the above mentioned and unmentioned products such as the Razor triple-screen laptops are bargains. With consumer PCs getting cheaper and cheaper, the fact that Asus has been able to keep releasing such a variety of products that aren’t exactly breakout hits is a positive thing, but even so, we wanted to explore the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 from a practical standpoint.

Appearance – understated metallic gray body

The ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15 is available in a business-like metallic grey color, with the A-side of the chassis cut through with a high-line bar for a more three-dimensional look. The classic design language of the ROG family.

The ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15’s 15.6-inch main screen, FHD resolution, 300Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, 100% sRGB color gamut, G-Sync tear resistant technology and Pantone color certification are just some of the technical specifications that make this a top-of-the-line device. eSports screen. It’s only shortcoming is a slightly lower resolution, and I’m sure there will be some gamers willing to trade the higher resolution for a slightly lower refresh rate.

Display mode adjustment

In the ROG Control Center, we can adjust the display mode of the screen, and the ROG is pre-programmed with a variety of color tweaks, giving us more room to adjust the colors than many professional design PCs.

When the screen is turned on, the 14-inch secondary screen (officially called the ROG ScreenPad Plus) lifts up with it, and the highest angle of the secondary screen is 13°. The secondary screen has a resolution of 3840×1100, is touch-enabled, and also has a 100% sRGB color gamut. That’s a resolution we’d call 4K.

Seen from the side, the secondary screen pivot and the main screen pivot together form a very techy structure.

A clear sign underneath the secondary screen advises not to have other objects in the way when the screen is off.

There are air intakes on each side of the bottom of the secondary screen with a dust filter added.

Despite the arcane design, this looks to Windows to be nothing more than a regular second screen, and we can adjust the position of this screen in Windows’ screen settings, set the primary screen, etc. If you set the resolution to 1920×550, you can move seamlessly between the top and bottom screens, and if you set the resolution to 3840×1100, the secondary and primary screens are only half intersected, making it slightly more difficult to use.

Keyboard – outstanding feel but light transmission is average

The keyboard on the ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15 is pretty much the same as the familiar Zephyrus series, with the keyboard located below the C-face, RGB backlight support, a trackpad located on the right side of the keyboard that can be set up as a numeric keypad, some common shortcuts above the trackpad, and more.

It’s worth mentioning the feel of the ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15’s keyboard, with excellent keycap stability, moderate key travel, and stiffer feedback, this keyboard delivers a prominent enough typing feel for both typing and gaming. It also comes standard with a rubberized hand rest for a better feel with use.

The ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15’s keyboard isn’t perfect, though, with some blemishes in the keycaps’ light transmission, where light penetrates unevenly and you can clearly see the highlights in the center of the keycaps, which is rather awkward for a flagship product.

Interface – simple but not simplistic

There is one RJ45 network port, one USB 3.2 port, and one HDMI 2.0 port on the rear of the fuselage.

There is one Thunderbolt 3 port and two USB 3.2 ports on the right side of the unit.

The left side of the body has a DC power connector, two 3.5mm audio ports.

Simplicity means it has a slightly smaller number of ports, not simplicity means its ports are of high quality, and aside from the Thunderbolt 3 port that supports PD charging, all three of its USB ports are USB 3.2 Gen 2 standard with 10Gbps transfer speed, which is rare.

However, its interface design is equally imperfect, with the DC power connector and the two identical round audio jacks placed close together on the same side, which is a bit inconvenient for daily use, and the downward position for the must-have power cable itself doesn’t make sense.

Secondary screen play – can be used as a game auxiliary screen, personalization space is extremely high

ROG provides several applications in the secondary screen menu, such as ROG Control Center, numeric keypad, pen tablet, browser, etc. There are both ASUS “applets” specially developed for the touch screen, as well as the familiar traditional EXE program, through the finger dragging, we can drag different windows to different areas for easy use, the operation logic is no different from the familiar Windows.

We can also set the background of this screen manually, ROG preset is a sci-fi style fake perspective, if with dynamic wallpaper tool, this screen will have infinite space for personalization, unfortunately ASUS does not provide the official dynamic wallpaper tool, users need to explore on their own.

In the game, we can work with overwolf to provide plug-ins to display game information in real time.

In League of Legends, Overwolf offers a plugin called Facecheck, which, when entering the game, will display data such as the skill order of your chosen heroes, real-time replenishment/heads, etc., and with this auxiliary information, you can be more organized in your battles.

If you’re a player of Game of Genting, you can open a browser in the secondary screen to find strategies for your chosen lineup, grab heroes based on other people’s successes, synthesize equipment, and more. In addition, this screen also allows you to follow the anchor while playing strategy games such as Tomb Raider and other synchronized passages.

Asus has yet to bring any eye-catching system-level cross-screen interactive experience to it, and all of its features rely heavily on third-party plug-ins and Windows itself.

To summarize, ASUS has brought an eye-catching hardware design, but it hasn’t left its mark on the software.

Hardware – everything is top of the line

The ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15 we got is equipped with an Intel 10th Generation Core Octa-Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and the graphics card is an RTX 2070 Super Max-Q.

ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15 offers multiple operating modes to suit different scenarios, our test is based on the enhanced mode, and we have adjusted the machine to the Direct-unique mode, which is more efficient than the automatic switching mode of the graphics card, and will automatically enable G-Sync.

CPU benchmark test

The ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15 is available with both i7 and i9 CPUs, and we got the i7 version with the i7-10875H, which is based on the Intel Comet Lake architecture design, 14nm manufacturing process, eight cores and 16 threads, 2.3GHz main clock and 5.1GHz core clock. It is one of the highest frequency processors available in laptops.

CineBench R15

CineBench R20

The i7-10875H scores well in both CineBench R15 and CineBench R20 tests, with the 8C16T core design and up to 5.1GHz core speed delivering good performance in both multi-threaded and single-threaded performance.

GPU benchmark test

As for the graphics card, we got a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q, based on the Turing architecture, 12nm manufacturing process, 1030MHz core frequency, 1255MHz Boost frequency. Memory bit width 256Bit, memory bandwidth 359.7GB/S, memory capacity 8GB GDDR6.

3DMark FireStrike

3DMark FireStrike Extreme

We’re also already familiar with the performance of the RTX 2070 Super Max-Q, and the ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15’s performance output is strong, with no loss of performance due to the thinness of the chassis.

SSD Benchmarking

The ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15’s SSD is made from two 1TB hard drives from Samsung’s Raid 0 set, and when tested with CrystalDiskMark, its sequential read and write speeds exceeded 3000MB/S, and its 4K performance was outstanding.

Gaming Performance Test – A Clear Top Ranking

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

GEARS 5

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Metro:Exodus

We ran Benchmark performance tests on four large games, all with the screen set to FHD resolution, maximum quality, and vertical sync turned off. From the test results, the ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15 is capable of satisfying large games running smoothly at 60fps, which is an outstanding performance.

If that’s not enough for you, the ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15 is also available in the higher-end RTX 2080 Super Max-Q edition.

Testing – Full performance release

The ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15 uses liquid metal as the heat transfer medium and is equipped with two 12V high-speed fans with air intake space above and below the fans, and particularly generous air intake space below the secondary screen, with a total of four air outlets on the left, right and rear sides of the unit.

With AIDA 64 system stability testing tool and FurMark, the ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15 has a stable CPU power of 45W at around 3.0GHz and a stable GPU power of 90W at around 1395MHz, which is an ample performance release.

Conclusion – A new attempt at innovative notebook form
The ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15 series is the earliest of the thin and light gaming book series, and after the MSI GS series, the Razorbacks and the Acer Blade series, the ROG Zephyrus is the most imaginative thin and light gaming book series. Since the release of the first Zephyrus, ROG has brought the Zephyrus family of thin and light gaming books in a variety of sizes, and today’s Zephyrus Duo can be seen as a natural progression in the development of the Zephyrus series, incorporating many of ASUS’ innovations in PC technology, making it a worthy flagship.

However, the utility of the ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15, a secondary screen, is not as powerful as it seems, and ROG officials have not brought more convenient and quicker ways to use the screen for it, nor have they worked with game makers to develop the potential of a secondary screen, which relies on existing software resources and the imagination and creativity of the player to play. As a consumer product, this undoubtedly limits the product’s audience.

But even so, this is a rare and innovative product in the current gaming book market and the PC market as a whole, it is not a simple performance build-up, not a flashy RGB lighting effect, and not mindlessly stuffed with a series of tasteless software and hardware, the ROG-Zephyrus-Duo-15, on the premise of ensuring a flagship experience, brings users an extension of the visual and experience through a touch-enabled secondary screen, and brings an unprecedented cool design to the laptop, and for this reason alone, it is a product worthy of our praise.

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