ASUS Zephyrus Duo SE: Packed and Loaded

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Back when the first Zephyrus was announced in 2017, it catapulted ASUS Republic of Gamers to greater heights as one of the best brands for gamers. Fast forward to 2021, the Zephyrus line has spawned many iterations like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo SE. ASUS sent one over to our studio for us to experience, and you know what, it’s easily one of the best laptops I have used this year.

What I’ve got here is the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE GX551. This is just as powerful as the ROG Flow X13 with the XG Mobile 3080, without the fancy I/O and crazy contraptions. This is a standalone machine that rocks the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX Mobile Processor, 16GB RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU. It’s an unbelievably powerful and can easily perceived as an ‘overkill’ device for those who opt to play wherever they go.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo SE 3

I have a fair share of experience with this laptop and I would like to share with you how I managed to enjoy my short time with this device before they pick this up. I am not going to go through our usual review process but instead take you with a list of the things I have done. Through this, you may be able to get a perspective of how you can use and enjoy the ROG Zephyrus Duo SE.

Best in Gaming

Needless to say, the Zephyrus Duo SE is one of the best gaming laptops in the market right now. With its packed and loaded specifications, this handles the games I love to play very well. Over time, ASUS ROG has perfected thermal management and performance, and this is the very reason why this laptop managed to stay efficient despite being portable.

The portability of the laptop that I previously reviewed – the ASUS ROG Flow X13 + XG Mobile – is somehow marred with the requirement of bringing two devices in order to fully experience its power. Not that I’m complaining about its performance, but if you are after desktop-level gaming performance in a single unit, the Zephyrus Duo SE is clearly the better choice.

Games like New World and Forza Horizon 5 play very well on this laptop. Performance hiccup is almost non-existent. If there was any problem, it can clearly be attributed to the aforementioned games that are known to have some frame rate issues. These games play very well even at 4K.

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New World, at Very High Settings, plays around 45fps at average on 1080p and 32fps at average on 4K while in a very populated town. Forza Horizon 5 at Ultra Settings perform at 84fps at average on Full HD, and 58fps at average on 4K. Of course, you can play around with the settings and decide if you wish to maximize specific settings and favor frame rate up to 120fps over graphics, or the other way around.

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There was an instance when the performance of this games dropped until I realized that the laptop’s power adapter was not connected to AC. ASUS and Windows have this setting that automatically switches its performance settings to favor battery performance.

Best in Video Production

Gadget Pilipinas also has a YouTube channel, just in case you are not aware. I mostly make the videos and since our team is very lean, we do not have much resources and people to shoot, edit and produce. My video production methodology involve shooting a-rolls and b-rolls videos 60% of the time, while editing and rendering complete the overall process. Conversely, 40% of the time is attributed to sitting down in front of the computer and use it to bring all videos together and render a video that we publish on either YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Tiktok.

The Zephyrus Duo SE was my go-to video editing computer in the last 30 days. Almost all of the videos I uploaded in October and November are produced on this laptop.

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I edit videos using DaVinci Resolve 17 with a Speed Editor. The Zephyrus Duo SE, as expected, performed exceptionally fast and smooth. Timeline rendering is quick even with Timeline Proxy Mode turned off. I am not into Fusion composition, but I use pre-rendered and templated Fusion files on my videos. These get re-rendered easily on my timeline, thanks to Zephyrus Duo SE’s fast AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX Mobile Processor and almost RTX 3070-Desktop level performance RTX 3080 Laptop GPU.

An eight minute video usually takes about 3 to 4 minutes to render via DaVinci Resolve Studio 17 or around 6 minutes on DaVinci Resolve. Rendering a video is faster on DaVinci Resolve Studio 17 because it uses the GPU to render the timeline.

DaVinci Resolve’s Dual Screen Mode is fully compatible with the secondary display of the Zephyrus Duo SE. This gives users an added display that functions as a media source bin at default. All I needed to do is to enable this mode and select the secondary monitor where the media bin will appear when you are editing. If you’re using DaVinci Resolve Studio, you may choose to use the secondary display as clean feed.

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Best in Productivity

Part of what I do in our small company is to conduct online/Zoom sessions and seminars with students, parents and teachers. This means that I use Microsoft PowerPoint and Canva whenever I present my deck. If you are familiar at what I do, it is usually more efficient to present decks with Presenter Mode on so you have a better perspective of your current and upcoming slides to smoothen transition.

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My setup whenever I present is that I put the presenters view on the secondary screen. Sitting beside it is usually the Zoom chat or participants view. My presentation experience is even better when there is an external monitor available. Thankfully, the ROG Zephyrus Duo SE is not short of I/O for its users. It hosts an HDMI 2.0b port, along with a 3.5mm combo audio jack, 3 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with DisplayPort support, an RJ45 LAN port and a MicroSD card reader. This collection of ports give me the option to use additional peripherals like my other ROG Monitor, a choice of USB camera, and my mechanical keyboard.

Presenting to a virtual audience is very much similar to streaming. I do not stream so much, but if this is your cup of tea, the Zephyrus DUO SE is also designed for you. There is now no need to Alt-tab to check your stream or fix your OBS on the fly. Your OBS and stream chat can be positioned on the secondary display, and play your game without any unwanted distractions.

Best Gaming Laptop of 2021

With the overall performance of ROG Zephyrus Duo SE, it is easy to consider it as this year’s best gaming laptop. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of amazing gaming laptops right now like the ones from Legion and HP, but nothing can really topple the kind of innovation and performance that the ROG Zephyrus Duo SE can offer.

Availability

The Zephyrus Duo SE that ASUS Republic of Gamers sent me is worth PhP254,995. Bundled to the laptop are ROG GC21 webcam, ROG Delta Gaming Headset, ROG Chakram Core, a 100W Adapter and an ROG Ranger BP2701. They are also currently holding a Share2021 Promo until January 15, 2021. Those who will purchase a Zephyrus Duo SE will receive a free Elgato Stream Deck and Nanoleaf Triangle Mini Starter Kit worth PhP13,000+. Check out the promo details on this link. You can also check out the other products that are included in the promo on this link.

Rating and Stars PC and Peripherals

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of gadgetpilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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