Asus ROG Zephyrus 16 Duo Review
It has to be said. The Asus ROG Zephyrus 16 Duo is an unusual machine. Thankfully for us, it also happens to be a machine that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in a laptop. And that is something Asus has been doing across devices and categories, from smartphones to laptops and even gaming accessories.
The idea in itself is so radical that you are tempted to give them an A just for showing up with this dual-screen powerhouse of a gaming laptop. However, when you start using it, you realise that it isn’t just a great idea. Asus has gone to lengths that other manufacturers, some with even deeper pockets, wouldn’t dare go to.
To begin with, there’s the seriously impressive spec sheet. The Asus ROG Zephyrus 16 Duo gets an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX for processing duties along with Nvidia RTX 3080Ti for graphics processing. This is paired with 32GB of dual-channel DDR5 RAM and a 2TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD. Put to the test, the system rarely struggles even under sustained loads. Asus Armoury Crate gives you the option to customise how you’d want the system to manage itself thermally. When editing videos, the fans do spin up to dissipate heat, but there is very little throttling. The construction itself helps with the ScreenPad Plus moving up over the chassis when opened for better air flow. For gaming, you can opt for the Turbo fan profile which helps with far higher fps than what you’d typically expect from a laptop.
The form itself is very useful and we are still figuring out things we can do with the ScreenPad Plus that you simply can’t with any other laptop. For instance, we have been able to run reference docs on the secondary screen while putting together a story on the main screen. A trick that video editors have been using is having their timeline in Premiere Pro on the secondary screen while doing most of the editing on the main screen. Asus has engineered continuity into the secondary screen so the two screen setup functions much like how a dual monitor setup does.
The 16-inch main display offers QHD resolution along with a 16:10 aspect ratio. It gets a mini LED panel with a 165Hz refresh rate and 1100nits of peak brightness that ASUS likes to call the Nebula HDR display. With a claimed 100 per cent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut covered, the Zephyrus Duo 16’s display is a treat to use. The secondary display also happens to be 3,840 x 1,100 in resolution but gets only a 60Hz refresh rate. The experience is marred a little bit by the anti-glare coating that Asus has on, but nonetheless it isn’t something that everyone will complain about.
Overall, the Asus ROG Zephyrus 16 Duo packs some serious hardware, novel utilisation of the second screen, great display and good audio. But it does come with a hefty price tag. That said, for some workloads this Asus laptop could even function as a mobile dual-display setup and that is something a good chunk of people won’t mind shelling out for.