ASUS surprised a lot of people when they released the ZenBook Pro Duo in 2019. It’s a powerful notebook that comes with a secondary screen. Then in 2020, they decided to do the same for ROG’s Zephyrus gaming line. And as a result, we now have the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Is this a better option for gamers and creators? Find out in our review.
Table of Contents
Design and Construction
The Zephyrus Duo 15 features a gunmetal colorway with a smooth matte finish. The lid sports a simple design with a reflective diagonal line, which gives an illusion of depth, and the ROG logo.
Opening the lid reveals the 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display, secondary ROG ScreenPad Plus touch display, the desktop-style RGB backlit keyboard, and the trackpad that also houses the virtual NumPad. Take a peek under the ROG ScreenPad Plus and you will see the two 28.5mm air intake.
The typing experience is good, thanks to the 1.4mm distance. It’s quiet and comfortable (which you can improve using the soft rubber palm rest) and has dedicated keys to access certain features. You can also take advantage of the pre-key RGB customization for highlighting critical keys and short cuts.
Take a look on its left side, and you will find a vent, DC-in, and 3.5mm headphone and microphone ports.
On the right, we have another vent, a USB 3.2 Type-C port, and two USB 3.2 Type-A ports.
At the back, there’s the RJ45, USB 3.2 Type-A, and HDMI 2.0b, flanked by two more vents.
Take a look underneath, and you will see six rubber feet to support the four corners and the center. You will also see more grilles for ventilation and two 4W Twin Smart Amp-powered loudspeakers on the left and right-hand sides.
The ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is a pretty sleek machine. Although a gaming laptop, we appreciate the company’s decision not to overdo the design to appeal to other users who prefer a more subtle look.
At 2.4kg, it’s not exactly comfortable to carry around, but you can easily store it in backpacks that can accommodate 15-inch laptops, thanks to its size and relatively slim build.
Display and Multimedia
The ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is equipped with a 15-inch Full HD IPS display with a 300Hz refresh rate. It also supports 100% Pantone Validated and supports NVIDIA G-Sync. In other words, the screen is vibrant with accurate colors and smooth animations and transitions.
What will probably set this laptop apart from its competition, and the ZenBook Pro Duo, is the ROG ScreenPad Plus, a 14.1-inch (3840 x 1100) touchscreen tilts up to 13-degrees for a better viewing angle. Besides adding to the laptop’s functionality, it also increases the user’s multitasking capabilities, whether for gaming or productivity purposes.
Gamers can run the game on the main display, then view your broadcast controls and chat apps on the secondary screen. Creators can utilize the main screen for editing then move other tools to the secondary screen for unobstructed viewing. You can also extend the displays if you need more room to view long documents.
Should you wish to tweak or calibrate the display, you may do so via the GameVisual tool in the Armoury Crate. From there, you can adjust the color temperature or pick from the 8 profiles that will suit your needs or current activity.
Besides gaming on it, we enjoy watching movies on the Zephyrus Duo 15, thanks to the powerful speakers. There’s not much bass to go around, but it’s clear, crisp, and can get really loud. If you want to tweak the audio experience, you may do so via the Sonic Studio III software to select sound profiles or boost the bass or treble.
OS and Features
Running the software is Windows 10 Home. One of the software tools you will frequently utilize here and on other ROG laptops are the Armoury Crate, which you can access by pressing the dedicated ROG button at the keyboard’s top row. From here, you can access CPU and GPU stats, memory and storage consumption, and fan speed, and system acoustics.
You can also select operating modes (Windows, Silent, Performance, Turbo, Manual), set scenario profiles, change system configurations, access AURA Sync and AURA Creator, and see your Game Library.
Other than that, you get an Office 365 trial, McAfee subscription, and XSplit software, but that shouldn’t be a problem with the 2TB SSD (2x 1TB) we have in this unit.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering this unit is an Intel Core i7-10875H processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER (LWS) 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, and 32GB RAM (2x 16GB). While we all know that this laptop can game, but the question is, how well? Let’s check out the benchmark scores below:
• PC Mark 10 Extended – 6,796
• 3D Mark – 8,518 (Time Spy), 3,971 (Time Spy Extreme), 19,612 (Fire Strike), 10,221 (Fire Strike Extreme), 5,306 (Fire Strike Ultra)
• Geekbench – 1,235 (Single-Core), 8,078 (Multi-Core), 88,301 (OpenCL)
• Cinebench R20 – 3,986 (CPU), 456 (CPU – Single-core)
• CrystalDiskMark – 3,428.88 MB/s (Seq. Read), 3,334.09 MB/s (Seq. Write)
We’re getting a slightly lower score compared to the ROG Strix Scar 17 (Intel Core i9 -10980HK CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER GPU, 32GB of RAM, 1TB SSD) we reviewed last time in some aspects, but still great numbers for its class. Let’s take a look at its gaming performance below:
On Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, we’re getting 59.14 FPS in Ultra, 83.95 FPS in Very High, and 94.13 FPS in High.
On Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we benchmarked with DLSS On and DLSS Off to see any performance improvements. In the Highest settings, we got 98 FPS (DLSS Off) and 101 FPS (DLSS On). In High, we got 108 FPS (DLSS Off) and 106 FPS (DLSS On). In Medium, we got 108 FPS (DLSS Off) and 107 FPS (DLSS On).
On Middle Earth: Shadow of War, we got 103 FPS in Ultra, 111 FPS in Very High, and 127 FPS in Medium.
Based on this, the Zephyrus Duo 15 can handle big titles and produce decent frame rates in their highest graphics settings. Although the keyboard is positioned way down for thermals, we can still feel heat reaching up to the number row. It’s nothing serious, though, but enough to make you uncomfortable in prolonged use.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Zephyrus Duo 15 features WiFi 6 with Gig+ performance and Bluetooth 5.0, which is usual for most high-end laptops. However, what is different is the inclusion of the GameFirst VI software, which allows you to monitor and improve the network traffic on your laptop to make sure that no background tasks are hogging network resources that can affect your online gaming.
Battery-wise, we have a 90Wh battery, which is big for a normal laptop. But in the case of the Zephyrus Duo 15, we’re getting around 4 to 5 hours of productivity use. In our video loop test, which involves playing a 1080p video on loop in Airplane mode at 50% brightness and volume in Better Battery Mode, got us 6 hours of playback.
We mostly see gaming laptops as a machine designed for what they are, for games, while productivity and multitasking come second. With the ROG Zephyrus Duo, we now have something that can satisfy not just the gamers but serious creators who need the versatility provided by a secondary screen. Even if they’re away from their external monitor planted on their desktops, they can still have some of those multitasking capabilities.
It comes with a price, though, the Intel Core i7-10875H processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER (LWS)
8GB GDDR6 VRAM, and 32GB RAM (2x 16GB) model is priced at PHP 219,995 (bundled with a backpack, mouse, headset, and webcam). That’s some serious money, but then again, it’s a serious machine for some serious business.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 specs:
15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS main display
G-SYNC, 300Hz, 3ms, 100% sRGB coverage, PANTONE Validated
14.09-inch UHD (3840 x 1100) 60Hz, 72% NTSC coverage, touch, ScreenPad Plus
Windows 10 Home
Intel Core i9-10980HK
Intel Core i7-10875H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER (LXS) 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER (LWS) 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
32GB 3200MHz DDR4
2 x 512GB, 1TB M.2 SSD, RAID 0 support
WiFi 6 w/ Gig+
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C with DisplayPort 1.4, Thunderbolt 3 and Power Delivery 3.0
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A
1 x HDMI 2.0b
1 x 3.5mm Microphone-in jack
1 x 3.5mm Microphone-in/Headphone-out jack
1 x RJ45
2 x 4W speakers with Smart AMP technology
ESS, High-res certified
36 x 26.8 x 2.1 cm