ASUS is very well known for its dual-screen experience. I have reviewed countless notebooks in the past that all pack a unique if somewhat clumsy and cumbersome two-screen design whereas ASUS included a primary display and a second one somewhere on the device. Be it packed in the trackpad as a secondary display or packing an entire monitor-sized panel in the bottom half of the notebook. ASUS seems to think people need two displays when they are using creator notebooks and they will do anything to prove their point. Even if this means delivering low-res panels with buggy Windows integration. The latest in the collection is the ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo. A notebook that is more screen than anything else.
Watch the ASUS Pro 14 Duo UX8402Z review below
The ASUS ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo is also meant to act as a beefier version of the ZenBook range thanks to its new CPUs and GPUs. ASUS has also included various models of the notebook for those who want an entry-level experience and the best of the best. This model comes with an Intel Core-i9 12500H CPU and an RTX 3050 Ti GPU. But you can also get i5 and i7 models with the 3050Ti.
In short, this ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo is for users who need two displays in a notebook. Personally, I prefer one larger display, say a 16 or 17-inch and if I need a second I would use a larger monitor but there’s a massive market out there of creators who make use of two displays when doing graphic design, video editing and more. If you aren’t looking for a two display notebook, this is not something you would invest in but if you are, this is the best you can get and I will tell you why now.
ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo Tech Specs
- 14.5-inch 16:10 OLED 2889 x 1800 OLED
- 12.7-inch ScreenPad 32:10 2880×864 IPS
- 120Hz panels on both
- ASUS Pen and Touch support
- Intel Alder Lake 12th Gen Core i7-12900H
- Intel Iris Xe
- NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti
- 32GB (soldered)
- 1TB PCIe
- WiFi 6E
- BlueTooth 5.2
- 1x USB-A 3.2 gen2,
- 2x USB-C 3.2 with Thunderbolt 4
- HDMI 2.1
- microSD card reader
- audio jack
- White backlit keyboard
- 720p Webcam with Windows Hello
- Trackpad included
- Stereo bottom speakers
- 180W charger for quick charge
- 100W USB-C charging support
- 311mm x 221mm x 16.9mm
- ASUS Pen 2.0 Support
- Carry pouch included in the box
ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo Design
From the outside, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo looks like your average 14-inch notebook. On the top, there’s the ZenBook logo that features a circular pattern similar to the other ZenBook notebooks like the 14X. The bottom features the stereo speaker grills, cooling holes and two kickstands. As far as I know, ASUS includes these two strange adhesive kickstands in the box and you can apply them onto the notebook if you want to. You don’t have to if you will never use them. Given this was a review unit, someone already put them on. They are pretty sturdy given that they are actually soft and flimsy. Sort of feels like cardboard to be honest.
When it comes to ports, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo scatters them across the device. On the back, there’s the HDMI 2.1 port, micro SD card slot and DC charger. On the left, there’s the audio jack and on the right, you’ll find the two USB C ports and USB A port. ASUS has done away with its previous Ergolift design that used the back of the display to lift the notebook up when open. This has allowed the company to include the HDMI and SD card slot at the back. This is why they now include the optional flimsy kickstands in the box.
Opening up the ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo is where the party is at. You’ll be welcomed to a full display experience thanks to its thin-bezel and dual-panel design. The top display is the OLED panel and its hinge can be pushed back up to 160 degrees. As you open up the device, the secondary panel then slowly lifts up and it can’t be pushed down manually. You either have it up or you buy another notebook.
The gap between the second panel and the chassis is quite small and you can see the fans through the gap. I worry about cleaning this device because there isn’t a lot of space here to stick a cloth through the gap to dust the internals. If you’re like me and can’t stand dirt and dusty tech, this is going to be a challenge.
There’s also quite a substantial gap that forms between the main display and the bottom of the device. Anything can get stuck in there, especially the power cable that needs to be plugged into the back. Be careful when closing this notebook and make sure the area is clear before you close the lid.
Of course, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo’s design means the keyboard has been squashed all the way to the bottom of the device to make space for the second display. This keyboard is not easy to get used to, especially if you have had a place to put your wrists in the past. The bottom keyboard means you’ll need to have this notebook pushed further back on the desk so you can use the table as a wrist rest. Either that or you hang your wrists in the air while typing.
This also means the laptop’s 14-inch panel might be smaller than what you actually get due to the positioning of the display. You may have to increase the Windows scaling to make things bigger. 14-inch is already small so I found myself crouching forward to see the display in front of me. The keyboard also doesn’t make this notebook easy to use on your lap either. You have to basically push your arms right back to get your wrists to the bottom of the device.
While this sounds like nitpicking, it really is uncomfortable. You don’t think about how drastically different a bottom keyboard could be but when you’re using it, every position had to be tweaked to accommodate it. Just be aware of this. Maybe take your notebook and try and type on the empty space below the actual keyboard. That is the experience with this ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo.
ASUS has improved the keyboard experience on the ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo with new 15 x 15mm keys. These are larger than the previous 13 x 14mm ones. It is still cramped but the experience is easier.
As for the display, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo doesn’t disappoint. The main display is an OLED and it is crisp and vivid. It doesn’t get as bright as ASUS claims. The company says it can peak at 550 nits but I only measured 350 nits in a 16% white window in the middle of the display. 350 is actually quite poor for an OLED panel and probably one of the lowest OLED panels I have ever tested. This low brightness doesn’t help with the glossy screen, especially in bright areas. Sure, it has all the cool low blue light and perks OLED panel come with but the brightness isn’t great.
As for the ScreenPad, this 12.7-inch display is great considering it is an IPS panel. It gets brighter than the man display at over 650 nits but it and IPS so don’t expect it to provide vivid colours and pure blacks. Sadly, the panel is coated in a matte material which also impacts the crispness of the image quality. While the resolution is high, the coating lowers the quality of the display due to the matte design. It isn’t the end of the world though.
Both displays use touch and support the ASUS Pen included in the box. It makes moving around Windows and dragging tabs and objects much easier. Especially given how horribly small the trackpad is. ASUS has also included the apps and software needed to customize the experience. I could fully drag a window to the ScreenPad to leave it there and customize tools from apps and programs. I could even split-view two windows in the ScreenPad too. So maybe a YouTube video, a reference article I was reading and my open article on the main display. For the first time, I actually felt like this ScreenPad was useful. Will I ever use it to the max capabilities? Probably not but it just works and looks great at the same time.
In terms of performance, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo is a pretty beastly notebook. I ran some benchmarks across PC Mark, 3D Mark and a handful of games. The notebook has a range of settings that determine the power output and performance. The best mode is Performance. Here, the CPU peaks at 80W and is the best way to use the notebook for heavy tasks and games. Standard is weaker at 45W and Whisper Mode is a super-low mode that keeps fans quiet and the CPU at 25W
ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 Duo UX8402Z Benchmarks
- PCMark 10
- Essentials – 10 216
- Productivity – 9 000
- Digital Content Creation – 8 813
- Overall – 6683
- 3DMark Time Spy
- Graphics Score – 4 807
- CPU Score – 11 845
- Overall – 5 277
Gaming (highest graphics settings)
- GTA V – 1080p – 55FPS
- Far Cry 6 – 1440p – 57FPS
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider – 1080p – 80FPS
- Watch Dogs Legion – 1080p – 37FPS
You can see from the tests this notebook is definitely a creator device. Performance excels in daily tasks, multitasking and video editing. Gaming is also decent. You could get away with playing most games on the 3050 Ti at HD and older games at higher resolutions. I do need to mention that this RTX 3050 Ti does run at a higher wattage compared to other notebooks with the same GPU. I measured 60W which is great compared to the 40 and 50W on other devices. I was actually surprised at how well some games ran. The fact you can play Far Cry 6 at 60FPS on 1080p is pretty impressive.
The notebook never got too hot either. In performance, I measured max 50 degrees celsius and in Whisper mode, it never went over 30 degrees. Fan noise was loud in Performance Mode at 50 dB but in Whisper Mode it was a lot more bearable.
The Webcam is okay. It packs an RGB sensor that is meant to adjust the brightness and colour of the scene depending on your environment. It does overexpose at times but it definitely improves the scene. Is it a selling feature? Not really. The speakers are also decent. They aren’t extremely loud and have very little bass but they will be enough for your daily use.
As for the battery, the 76W cell is quite hefty for a notebook of this size. However, the two displays, being high res and 120Hz don’t help extend the battery life on this notebook much. At 70% brightness, you’ll get between 4 and 5 hours out of this notebook. Even less if you are web browsing. Whisper Mode, which uses the least resources lasts longer but if you toggle performance mode, don’t expect more than 3 hours here.
I have to say that I loved the ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 Duo. The displays especially make this notebook feel a lot better than ASUS’ attempts at their previous ScreenPads. It works and while the keyboard placement is a little uncomfortable as a result, you’ll get used to it. The displays are definitely the biggest selling point here and they work well. They are also crisp and vivid making productivity work on this notebook a dream.
This ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo UX8402Z review is based on a unit sent to us by ASUS. You can find out more about it over at the ASUS South Africa store here.
ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 Duo UX8402Z
Cooling - 8/10
Performance - 8/10
Design - 7.5/10
Value - 8.5/10
The ASUS ZenBook Pro 14 Duo UX8402Z packs two incredible displays and while the OLED panel isn’t as bright as I hoped they work together perfectly for a change
Horrible battery life
OLED panel isn’t very bright