ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 Review 2021

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is a high-performance notebook with two displays. It should make everyday life easier for gamers and creative people. We’ll find out in our test whether that works. The luxury notebook from ASUS should help you with creative applications and games thanks to two screens. It offers the currently fastest mobile components and packs them in a high-quality metal housing. The Zephyrus DUO 15 is not exactly cheap at first glance. In the ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 Review 2021, you will find out that it is suitable and whether what is offered can put the price into perspective again.

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 Review 2021

Technical specifications ASUS ROG Zephyrus DUO 15 GX550 Review 2021.

Product features of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus DUO 15 GX550 2021
Display15.6 “display, anti-glare, Pantone-certified, 400 nits brightness, 14.1” display, anti-glare
resolution4K resolution, 16: 9, 60Hz, 3ms, IPS, G-SYNC® 2nd display: 3840 × 1100 resolution, 60 Hz, IPS
processorIntel® Core ™ i9-10980HK processor 2.2 GHz (up to 5.3 GHz)
graphicNVIDIA® GeForce RTX ™ 2080 Super Max-Q, 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
random access memory32GB DDR4 3200MHz (16GB of which soldered)
hard disk2x 1 TB NVMe 1.2a. M.2 SSD (PCIe 3.0 x4) in a RAID0 array
network802.11ac (2 * 2)
Bluetooth 5.0
connections3x Type A 3.2 (Gen.1)
1x Type C 3.2 (Gen.1) (1x Thunderbolt 3)
1x 3.5mm microphone
1x 3.5mm headphones
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x Ethernet LAN (10 Mbit / s, 100 Mbit / s, 1000 Mbit / s)
battery pack90Wh
Input devicesfully illuminated keyboard (RGB)
touchpad with switchable number pad
Sound2 x 2.5W loudspeakers, Smart Amp, ESS Saber HiFi DAC, dual array microphone
camera
securityConnection for Kensington lock
operating systemWindows 10 Pro 64 bit
OthersIncl.ROG RANGER BP2500 backpack, ROG Delta headset & marketing giveaway (3D ROG sculpture) (only for the tested model variant)
Dimensions36.0 x 26.8 x 2.09 cm (WxDxH)
Weightapprox. 2.5 kg (including battery)
Pros
  • Outstanding 4K display at a professional level
  • Very fast components
  • Diverse connection options
  • Second display extremely practical for video editing or streaming
  • Processing at the highest level
  • A great scope of delivery with many extras
Cons
  • No SD card reader
  • Can be heard clearly under load
  • Battery life only mediocre

Scope of delivery

This is how you pack or unpack a luxury notebook: Because the Zephyrus Duo packaging gives the impression of coming from a galaxy far away. If you open them by their asymmetrical tabs, the ROG Zephyrus Duo will be handed to you as if by magic. Plastic is hardly used. Almost all packaging materials are made of cardboard. Only a little bit of foil has crept in between.

In addition to the Zephyrus, two power supplies are included. One charge via USB-C and is wonderfully compact. The second is a real block and is needed for the “hard” work.

ASUS has also included many other goodies. Buying the Zephyrus Duo 15 with Intel Core-i9 almost feels like Christmas. With the ROG Delta, you get a really sensible headset, and with the ROG Ranger BP2500, you also get a tailor-made backpack for your notebook. A mouse with RGB lighting is also included and palm rest and a solid webcam. However, other model variants come with fewer or no additional supplements.

You can Also Read: Lenovo ThinkPad L14 Review 2021

Processing & design

When you release the Zephyrus Duo from its elaborate packaging, the first thing you notice is the outstanding feel. The entire notebook is clad in metal. You are looking for gaps in vain. I especially like the matt gray alloy.

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 Review

It is very resistant to fingerprints and thus protects the Zephyrus Duo’s stylish look in the long term. Visually, the Zephyrus is refreshingly minimalistic, at least for a gaming laptop. Only a notch on the lid and the well-known Republic of Gamers logo indicate the Zephyrus Duo’s gaming origins. Otherwise, a clear design language dominates, which also does justice to the Zephyrus Duo’s creator requirements. The dual-display gamer can easily be seen in an urban co-working space.

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15

Opening with one hand is very important for quick (and above all cool) commissioning. The underside with the additional display weighs a little more than with normal notebooks, but it is very stable on the table. Overall, the Zephyrus Duo looks just massive and as if milled from one piece. Only the Surface Laptops from Microsoft currently offer me a similar feeling. The massive and stable exterior is also bought with a little extra weight. At 2.5 kilos, the Zephyrus Duo is about twice as heavy as a normal ultrabook.

ASUS Zephyrus Duo

After opening, of course, the first thing you notice is the highlighted second display. It stretches across the laptop’s entire width and has a vast aspect ratio of 14.1 inches. However, it should be ideal for timelines in video editing or the UI in individual games. There are sturdy hinges under the screen, which ensure that it is tilted. Also, the cavity should serve to cool the Zephyrus Duo.

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15

The main screen has pleasantly narrow bezels at the top and sides. Only at the bottom, it had to be a little more due to the second display. A webcam did not fit into the frame either. This is included with the Zephyrus Duo as an external device.

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 keypad

Next, your gaze wanders down to the keyboard. It’s not where you’d normally expect it to be. Set at the lower edge, the keyboard immediately begins to glow in all rainbow colors after switching on: gaming laptop stop. In the Zephyrus Duo case, this is solved very well and can also be configured or switched off. Also, the excellent quality continues with the keyboard. It doesn’t even have to hide from a high-quality desktop keyboard – like the MX Keys.

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 keypad

The individual keys have a short journey but are very crisp. The writing experience with texts is excellent. When typing, all switches offer you tactile feedback and ensure that every key hit is extremely satisfactory.

However, the keyboard’s somewhat unusual position has to be considered as there is no place for the palm. But ASUS has included a perfect palm rest that goes perfectly with the Zephyrus Duo. Thanks to the comfortable padding, it is far superior to integrated cushions. It would help if you only considered the additional space required.

The touchpad is right next to the keyboard. I couldn’t quite get used to this position. On a “normal” notebook keyboard, it is usually located under the keyboard. With this, you cannot even quickly move the mouse pointer with your index finger or thumb, especially when you are writing. Instead, you always have to move your right hand to the side. The structure is more reminiscent of a multimedia keyboard.

Despite the unusual structure, the touchpad does a good job. It is sufficient for the usual navigation in Windows and for surfing the web. It also reacts very quickly and, thanks to its excellent feel, fits well with the rest of the ensemble. There is also a button in the upper left corner that you can use to turn the Zephyrus Duo touchpad into a number pad. This gives you almost a full-size keyboard.

Personally, however, I’ve got used to larger touchpads. In the end, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo has a real gaming mouse anyway, so that’s not earth-shattering.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo is compelling in terms of design and quality. Even if it is primarily a gaming notebook, creators should also enjoy the chic, monolithic design. The RGB lighting can also be reduced to an acceptable minimum.

Connections – Thunderbolt 3 and much more

ASUS describes the connectivity of the Zephyrus Duo GX550 with the words “Goodbye Dongles!”. That sounds very good at first, and most of the connections are available and sensibly chosen – but one is still missing. An SD card reader would have been especially important for creative professionals. Unfortunately, getting the image or video files from the Zephyrus Duo camera requires an intermediate step accordingly.

ASUS Zephyrus

However, everything else is available that both gamers and creators could wish for. On the right side, there are two USB Type-A and one USB Type-C connector. All three have the standard USB 3.2, the USB-C port even in the second generation. In addition to DisplayPort 1.4, it also supports Power Delivery and Thunderbolt  3. You can even attach an eGPU to the Zephyrus Duo. All ports enable data to be transferred quickly and reliably.

On the left side, there are two 3-5mm jack sockets. One for a microphone and the other for your headphones. A refreshing appearance in 2020. Some notebooks can do without the classic connection. The headphone jack, in particular, has turned out really good. It lets your music be processed via a high-quality ESS SABER-DAC and also drives power-hungry hi-fi headphones without any problems. In addition to the two audio jacks, there is also the proprietary power connection for the large 230W power supply of the Zephyrus Duo.

But that wasn’t it yet, because ASUS has placed three more connections on the back. The RJ45 socket for the network connection is available here. An essential feature for gamers and media professionals. Another USB 3.2 port based on the 3.2 standards sits next to it. You will also find an HDMI 2.0b port here. This allows the operation of an additional monitor up to a resolution of 4K and 60Hz. In lower resolutions, however, higher frame rates are also possible via this connection. Gamers and creative people can connect several graphics monitors or gaming displays at the same time. This is also possible via the DisplayPort function of the USB-C connection.

Extremely color-accurate display

If you are mainly concerned with image and video editing, an additional display is probably not necessary at all. Because the main screen of the Zephyrus Duo 15 impresses with its grandiose color range. With its 15.6-inch display, the Zephyrus Duo is almost one of the more compact gaming notebooks. With the 4K resolution tested here, the notebook has a very high pixel density of almost 282ppi. This is an excellent value and allows the content to be presented clearly. At 60Hz, the refresh rate for the 4K model is only standard. Gamers who also want to play on their laptops prefer to use the full HD screen with an enormous 300Hz. Thanks to G-Sync and a solid 3ms response time, you can experience games on both display versions without tearing or ghosting.

The color space coverage is simply outstanding for a notebook. The professional AdobeRGB color space is covered to 100, which is enough for absolute professionals working in Photoshop and Lightroom. The built-in display also almost completely masters NTSC and DCI-P3. It is thus on the level of a perfect graphics monitor. These alone can cost four-digit sums. The certification of the Italian color specialist Pantone is no accident.UncalibratedCalibrated

The uniformity of colors and illumination is also at a very high level. The deviation at 100% brightness is less than 6%. This can hardly be seen with a human eye. The maximum brightness could be a bit higher for me. Don’t get me wrong, 400 cd / m2 is a good value – especially in connection with the matte display coating. Nevertheless, many premium displays can handle up to 600 nits here. Illumination uniformity 50% brightness illumination uniformity 100% brightness uniformity of color representation 50% brightness uniformity of color representation 100% brightness

Even in brighter work or gaming areas, you should still be able to see everything. However, the perfect IPS panel does not have HDR certification. As is typical for the design, the viewing angles are beyond any doubt. If you want to show your colleagues your work briefly, you don’t have to worry about color or contrast deviations depending on the viewing angle. Speaking of contrast: this is on a good level at 1300: 1.

The monitor’s color fidelity is also impressive. With an average Delta-E of 1.22, you can theoretically plunge straight into the image and video editing. Even more, it is possible when calibrated. Only the white point is clearly too warm. Our SpyderX was able to correct this without any problems. The gamma value of 2.2 already makes a precision landing without calibration. Tonal representation uncalibratedCalibrated tonal value color fidelity uncalibratedCalibrated color accuracy

Briefly about the second display: In terms of color, it cannot keep up with its larger counterpart. But it still makes a very homogeneous impression and usually doesn’t have to hide from its big brother.

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 Review 2021

Only with the angle of inclination would I have liked a stronger orientation towards the user. You really have to sit directly above the second display at normal table height, not to perceive any color or contrast shifts.

software

Asus uses Windows 10 Pro as the operating system. The Windows version isn’t the annoying thing either, but all the additional software, the use of which I sometimes strongly doubt. From DropBox to McAfee Security, all the usual representatives are there. The good news: McAfee and Co. can easily be uninstalled.

Asus itself has added some of its own software, whereby Armory Crate certainly brings added value. In this software, you control the performance profiles, which influence the clock rate of the processor, the GPU, and the fan’s speed. The profiles have self-explanatory names such as “quiet,” “turbo,” etc. If you want, you can adjust the speed of the graphics card yourself. It was an easy way to adapt the performance of the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 to my needs. For normal users, I would usually recommend “Quiet.” When it comes to gaming, “performance” is usually enough. Turbo should only be used for time-critical (video) rendering or games in which you need maximum performance.

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 RGB lighting

The RGB lighting is also controlled in Armory Crate. Here you can select all the effects from “pulsation” to “comet.” Alternatively, you can just set the lighting to white and get something understated.

Gaming & Applications – Even ray tracing is possible

With a Core-i9 10980HK and 32GB RAM, the Zephyrus Duo 15 is predestined to be a workhorse. Even in the coming years, you should still have reserves for applications and games thanks to the high-clocked eight-core core. The built-in Nvidia RTX 2080 SUPER is currently the fastest to get in graphics power in a notebook. We have accordingly approached our benchmarks with optimism. In the popular CPU benchmarks CineBench R15 and R20, the Core-i9 can perform well in single-core performance.

In gaming, the biggest limiting factor here is the 4K display – because, in the very high resolution, even the RTX 2080 Super reaches its limits. If you primarily want to gamble with the Zephyrus Duo 15, it is best to use the full HD screen and 300Hz refresh rate.

Alternatively, you can, of course, also hang a display on one of the two video outputs of the Zephyrus Duo. You have very high frame rates up to 1440p with the ASUS laptop in almost all current titles. Even with activated ray tracing, you still get playable frame rates in Rising of the Tomb Raider in the popular gamer resolution. Unfortunately, the Zephyrus’ 4K screen cannot offer native 1440p resolution in many games. In some titles, you can enforce this with “Forced Resolution,” but not always.

 Far Cry 5

In more undemanding games, such as Far Cry 5, a pleasant gaming experience is also possible in the native resolution. Not to mention Fortnite, PUBG, and other multiplayer games. These run on maximum details and with very high frame rates.

But what makes the Zephyrus Duo so unique? The second screen stays off while gaming or can be used for multitasking. As a streamer, the second display gives you completely new possibilities. So you can play relaxed on your main screen and follow the chat process on the second screen. Fast googling is also possible.

The storage medium is also part of a pleasant work experience: In the Zephyrus Duo 15, two high-quality Samsung SSDs with the sonorous name MZVLB1T0HBLR are used. These are connected in a RAID0 network and thus function as a single SSD. This does not fully understand me since the 4K write and read speed, in particular, suffers a little under the RAID array. On the other hand, the SSDs are lightning-fast overall and offer enough space for programs and games.

Zephyrus Duo 15

The main memory should also be praised. Here again, Samsung is installed with a fast memory clock of 3200 MHz. Thanks to the amount (32GB) and the high speed, you should be nimble in all applications and games for the foreseeable future.

The Zephyrus Duo virtually plows through applications. The second display makes even more sense here than in gaming. In Da Vinci Resolve or Adobe Premiere, you can, for example, park the Color Wheels or the timeline on it.

You then have enough space on the excellently set main display to view your video content. The Core i9-10980HK can, of course, also process images: In our Photoshop benchmark, it achieves an absolutely top score, and in Adobe Lightroom, it also exports our test images really quickly in just 48 seconds.

Overall, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550 is a hell of a fast gaming and creator laptop. It feels like it renders your video files faster than you can tell its full – and not at all bulky – name.

emission

You can set the fan control and the processor clock with the Armory Crate software, as already mentioned. So if you want to do some research on the Internet, the CPU’s maximum power is rarely required. Normally, the device is pleasantly quiet or hardly audible when it is not used. Also, there is improved cooling by setting up the second display, which automatically rises when the display cover is opened.

Zephyrus Duo 15

Suppose you take advantage of the full graphics power of the ROG Zephyrus Duo while gaming. The fans speak up properly. As with all gaming notebooks, the waste heat has to go somewhere, and Asus’ heat management turns up accordingly. I would therefore recommend the “Performance” mode for casual gaming. This is much more pleasant than its turbo counterpart. In general, it is advisable to use a headset when gaming or to connect the Zephyrus to an external monitor and set it up a bit away.

Zephyrus Duo 15 spec

The temperatures are typically high for Intel. The 10980HK reached up to 95 degrees in the test on one core. He pulled himself up to 150W over the socket. The 14nm production of the processor has been in use since 2015. The mature design enables very high clock rates, but in terms of efficiency, it can no longer keep up with modern manufacturing processes such as 10nm (Intel Ice Lake / Tiger Lake) or 7nm (AMD Zen 2 / Zen 3).

The running time of the Zephyrus Duo is okay. If you use the dual-screen notebook in quiet mode, you can get by for about three to four hours without a power socket. I had set the display to 200 nits and wore Photoshop, Firefox, and YouTube, among other things. In general, I would always recommend certain proximity to sockets. At least you can use the smaller 65W power supply when you’re on the go. Comfortable working in Photoshop is also possible without any problems.

Gear up

The ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 does not leave much to be desired when it comes to hardware. But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want to add more RAM in a few years. The bottom can be easily removed.

Loosen the Torx screws and then carefully remove them upwards. It is best to loosen the Phillips screw on the lower left side as the last.

Zephyrus Duo 15 grip

Inside, you can clean the fans and replace the two SSDs. There is also a slot for the main memory under a film. This is occupied by a 16GB module from Samsung in the delivery state. Unfortunately, 16GB of the RAM is soldered in, which is why you can get a maximum of 48GB. Here you should pay attention to the correct clock and the appropriate memory timings.

Overall, however, upgrading the Zephyrus Duo is problem-free and very easy.

Conclusion: ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 Review

Don’t be put off by the endless name: The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550LXS is the first really well-thought-out dual-screen notebook that I was able to get my hands on. It is made from one piece and is simply fun to touch and optically – as well as the price. Only the somewhat narrow keyboard and the unusual position of the trackpad could initially bother some users. But after a short time, you got used to the input devices. With the included palm rest, it is also more comfortable to work and play than with almost all other laptops on the market. The rest of the delivery scope leaves nothing desired with a backpack, mouse, headset, and much more.

The Zephyrus also delivers in terms of performance. Both the processor and the graphics card are among the best in their class. 4K gaming is easily possible in more undemanding games, and even in AAA titles, you can usually still achieve over 30 frames per second. Rendering and the general pace of work are also excellent. Only the turbo model has become a bit too loud for me personally.

The highlights of the Zephyrus are its displays. The main screen almost steals the show from its exotic counterpart: Seldom has a notebook display been so perfectly adjusted to professional needs. The color fidelity is already excellent in the delivery state, and the coverage of the AdobeRGB color space is sufficient even for absolute professionals for image processing. The second display can show its advantages, especially in productive user scenarios.

Put the timeline or the color wheel here and operate it with ease, thanks to the touch function. Streamers can also use the display to check the chat or monitor other functions.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550LXS has become a damn interesting notebook, which is the first of its kind to use multiple screens effectively. The high price will be reserved for a smaller group of buyers, but you might find it here if you are looking for the ultimate Windows laptop for productive and gaming applications.

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