ASUS recently launched the ROG Zephyrus G14, a thin and light gaming laptop that surprisingly beats Intel’s flagship i9-9980HK mobile processor. All thanks to AMD’s Ryzen 9 4900H which powers the G14 in all its glory. What made it more appealing to enthusiasts is the G14’s ultrabook level battery life at around 8-10 hours. That’s very impressive for a gaming notebook sporting an RTX 2060 or GTX 1650- read here if you want to know more of the ROG Zephyrus G14.
ASUS continues its momentum as the brand recently launched a new line of ROG gaming laptops. This time around it’s Intel’s newest 10th generation mobile processors that are powering ASUS ROG’s latest offerings. The most eye-catching gaming laptop they’ve announced is the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. That’s right, last year’s most innovative laptop, the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo, just got infused with ROG DNA. So how did ASUS ROG managed to convert a productivity laptop into a gaming laptop that offers an edge in gaming?
- Processor: Intel Core i9-10980HK
- Memory: Up to 32GB 3200MHz SDRAM, 16GB 3200Mhz Soldered
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super
- Storage: 2x M.2 NVMe x4 SSD in RAID 0
- Screen: 15.6″ 4K UHD, 100% Adobe SRGB Pantone Validated IPS G-Sync Panel or 300Hz/3ms FHD screen
- ScreenPad Plus: 14.1″ 3840×1100 touchscreen.
- I/O Ports: 3x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1x HDMI 2.0 port, 1x Ethernet Port, 2x 3.5mm jacks
Design-wise, the ROG Zephyrus Pro Duo follows its predecessors with the latest ROG logo on the side with a slash, albeit in a more formal matte finish as opposed to the textured gamer design. It’s very likely to see more gaming laptops in the future sporting a matte and plain finish with less aggressive gamer notes as we’ve experienced with the recently launched Zephyrus G14 and the first ROG Zephyrus which marked the foundation of this design.
There’s not much to brag about when it comes to the port selection of the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 considering its size and its Zenbook Pro Duo 15 counterpart. The Zenbook Pro Duo 15 had two USB-A ports and a single USB Type-C port that supports Thunderbolt 3 while the Zephyrus Duo 15 only has three USB Type-A ports. However, the Zephyrus Duo 15 has a dedicated ethernet port, a great touch for gaming.
ASUS ROG just released a 360Hz gaming monitor under the ROG Swift gaming line and they’re not stopping with that release. As it turns out, the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 sports a 300Hz / 3ms IPS display with G-Sync technology to ensure a smooth gaming experience. There’s also a 4K 100% Adobe sRGB panel option. Both types of displays are Pantone calibrated.
As much as I liked the Zenbook Pro Duo’s well-spaced keyboard, the ROG Zephyrus 15 has a few quirks. Instead of taking the exact keyboard from its Zenbook counterpart, ASUS took the Zephyrus S GX502’s keyboard with some minor tweaks. The most notable being is the keyboard’s matte finish.
Overall, the keyboard is not bad per se ASUS did one thing that breaks the gaming experience. The left shift key’s length is shortened and the standard length of the key is shared with a slash button. The shift key is primarily used for sprinting in most FPS games and having its length shortened risks a lot of misclicks with the slash button. We immediately presented the problem to ASUS and said that they’re looking for a way to make the slash button act as the shift key during gaming. A promise that we will look into once the retail units are sent to us for a full review.
Like the Zephyrus G14, the Zephyrus Duo also has an eye-catching detail but it’s more useful than just aesthetics. The ROG ScreenPad plus is the bread and butter of the device. Like the Zenbook Pro Duo, the ScreenPad plus’ 4K 3840 x 1100 enables a wide array of possibilities aimed for gaming.
Of course, it would be boring if ASUS just copy-pasted the Zenbook Pro Duo’s implementation. The new ROG ScreePad plus comes with a twist that applies the Zephyrus line’s signature Aero Active System. By tilting the ROG ScreenPad plus, the user is able to get a better viewing experience as compared to the Zenbook counterpart. The tilting mechanism also allows the Zephyrus Duo 15 to take in more airflow that’ll benefit the Intel Core i9 10980HK and RTX 2080 Super that’s powering the device.
The ScreenPad plus’ UI is skinned in typical ROG fashion with some tweaks for gaming. The pre-installed ASUS Armory Crate is now integrated with the sidebar UI of the ROG Screenpad Plus.
The inclusion of a secondary screen that acts as a control panel for various applications is a welcomed addition and has proven to provide benefits as seen with the Zenbook Pro Duo. ASUS execution with the ROG Screenpad plus on the Zephyrus Pro Duo 15 makes it a way better productivity laptop than the Zenbook thanks to the implementation Active Aerodynamic System. However, the benefits of gaming will rely on the support from app and game developers. That said, the benefits for productivity provided by an extra screen are still there so you still have your money’s worth. But if you’re going to purchase the Zephyrus Pro Duo for the sole purpose of having an elevated gaming experience is a no for now. Nonetheless, the Zephyrus Pro Duo 15 proves to be an industry-leading mobile device and pushes the industry to move forward and not just be limited to CPU and GPU hardware that we currently have. We’ll just have to wait for the full review to see how many brands, games, and companies support ROG’s groundbreaking ideas.