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The MacBook Touch Bar Killer

The MacBook Touch Bar Killer


– [Video] Go to the playground to play Pokemon with my friends, and I would spend hours
a day writing stories– – So this, my friends, is
the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo. It’s not only one of the coolest dual-screen laptops I’ve ever seen, this is also a great segue
to check out Storybooth. I did a video all with them talking about how I
got started on YouTube, so definitely be sure
to go check that out. Seriously, they did
such a cool job with it. Hey guys, this is Austin. When Apple last refreshed the MacBook Pro, they added the Touch Bar, which is a small OLED screen which does add some extra functionality, but for the most part it
hasn’t lived up to the promise. That of course brings us to today with ASUS and the ZenBook Pro Duo. I gotta say, this does the
whole dual-screen laptop concept just a little bit better. So up top, you’ll find a 15.6-inch
full 4K OLED touchscreen, and this is backed up by
a secondary touchscreen above the keyboard. Put it together, and
this is the first time this actually is a properly
useful setup, right? I mean, with the Touch Bar, it was cool, but it only worked for specific apps that had to be specifically customized for, like, a couple of
buttons or something, but as far as Windows is concerned, this is just a secondary
display that you have connected. Everything works just as
you would expect it to. ASUS calls this the ScreenPad Plus, but when you go into Windows, all you see is a secondary
3840×1100 display which is right below your main panel. Now the cool part about this is that you don’t need any kind of
specific app development or anything like that. Anything that supports dual monitors, you can easily add to the bottom, or importantly, they also have an option where you can take a single window and span across both of the displays. So for example, something like this, I can scroll, oh, I can’t scroll. (clears throat) I’m not in Chrome. I should close that, I didn’t close that. Thought I did. There we go, see? Why is nothing scrolling? Terrible. I’m panicking, man, I’m
trying to load something. Here, there we go. See, I could scroll on the top screen, scroll on the bottom screen,
it all works together, or I can just minimize it and
take it into a single window. I’m good at demos, guys. To me, this is really what
moves this from being a gimmick to something that’s legitimately useful. So ASUS has built in some software to better take advantage of it, so there is a key so I
can easily switch the apps between my bottom screen
and my top screen, even though right now it
takes a second to work. But the nice part about this
is that it is super-seamless, and what I really, really love, I can’t emphasize this enough, is that it does not require any developers to do essentially any work. If you support that
dual-screen layout, awesome. If you don’t, whatever. You can have one app on the
bottom, one app on the top. Literally, Windows just doesn’t care, and that to me makes
it so much more usable. The only thing I’m not a huge fan of is that these are two very
different-looking screens. So up top you have the full 4K OLED panel. It’s glossy, it looks awesome. On the bottom, we have a matte IPS panel. Now they are roughly the same resolution. The bottom one’s just a half height, so it’s not quite as tall, but it’s the same sort of look. The main difference is is
that because it is matte, I mean, if I kinda adjust it around, you can definitely see
some reflections here. It would certainly be much
worse if it was a glossy panel. When you look at them side-by-side, they don’t quite match, and nothing can really touch
the inky blacks of that OLED. All that being said, though,
it’s a fairly minor nitpick, and I totally understand
why they did this, especially considering
I don’t want to know how much this would be if
it had two OLED screens (laughing) instead of one. Now we’ve seen a few OLED
laptops show up here and there, and thankfully this year
they’re actually becoming much more common, but it is
absolutely terrific to see not only this level of contrast, but also the level of accuracy, and it gets properly bright, too. Now I know, like, any other laptop, this would be like the main feature, but because this has so many
other things going for it, it’s something that says, “Look, oh, yeah, “it’s got a 4K OLED, don’t worry about it. “There’s, like, eight other
things to talk about.” The ZenBook does take advantage
of ASUS’s ErgoLift tech, which essentially means that the keyboard is slightly elevated which gives you a little bit better of a typing position, although I’ll talk more
about that in a second. But importantly, this also
gives more room for cooling. Since you have a screen right here, it means that not only do you have a couple of large vents on the side, but it has to draw a lot of
that air in from the bottom and up through the top. Now there’s nothing
really wrong with that, but even with that advantage, this is still a little bit of a thicc boi, so if you put it side-by-side
with a Razer Blade 15, it’s thicker, and especially
when you put it beside a 15-inch MacBook, it’s
almost twice as thick. Now that’s fine, I mean, obviously, this has packed in a lot of performance, but for that extra screen
and that extra performance, you are paying a pretty hefty penalty as far as, well, size envy. It’s just a big laptop. Now while the ErgoLift
design is a solid move, the touchpad as well as the keyboard has been shifted down to make room for the secondary display. Now, ASUS does gives you a
wrist rest, so you can add it. It’s not exactly the most
portable thing in the world, but the problem here is that just like with the ROG Zephyrus line, it makes it a little
bit more uncomfortable. Now especially with the
touchpad on the right side, it’s actually not that
harder to get used to, but I never feel quite as confident typing on something like this as opposed to a standard
keyboard and touchpad layout. The Pro Duo needs a lot of cooling because it is packing
some serious components. So inside you have either a six-core i7 or an eight-core i9 processor, and that is backed up
by up to 32 gigs of RAM, one terabyte SSD as well
as a standard RTX 2060 GPU. And to top it all off, this is one of the very few laptops, or, well, devices in
general that I’ve tried that does have Wi-Fi 6 built in. Now, yeah, sure, it’s not going
to be a hardcore gaming PC. I mean, for that, you
would want something like an RTX 2070 or 2080, but because this is focused more on the content creation side of things, a 2060 should be more than enough, and that is really where
you’re going to see the extra benefit of that
full eight-core i9 processor. Now I will mention that
ASUS provided this for me as a prototype, so yes,
it will be coming out a little bit later this year, but right now they have not finished up all of the performance tuning, so I have run a few benchmarks, but honestly, they’re not
really going to be indicative of the final product because, well, they don’t even have, like, the final fan curves and
that kind of stuff sorted, so treat this more like an
early look at the performance, and the same thing goes for
the battery life, right? So, so far, I’ve seen
reasonable estimates, but again, it’s not final yet, and I’m really curious to
see what that final number is with stuff like two screens
and a Core i9 onboard, so when the ZenBook actually
ships later this year, hopefully I’ll be able to take a little bit of a closer look, but as of right now,
things seem promising. They certainly have a
little bit of work to do to, you know, actually finish
it up to ship to people. That’s an important part
of making a product. So while the Pro Duo is meant for working, you actually can play
games with that 2060, and because you have the dual screens, you can do something like this. Right now I’m playing Apex
as well as streaming it, or rather, recording it using OBS. Honestly, one of the only areas
I can really complain about is the limited port selection. So here we have a pair of USB-A ports, an HDMI as well as a single Thunderbolt 3. Now this kind of makes sense because a lot of the side space is being used up by vents to
keep that i9 and 2060 cool, but it is a sacrifice you have to make. This just simply doesn’t
have a lot of ports. If you’re okay with a little
bit of a thicc boi laptop, then there is a lot to like
with the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo. Not only does it have that killer OLED, but the secondary display
is legitimately useful, and it has the performance to back it up. Now this laptop will not be going on sale until a little bit later this year, but I’ve gotta say I’m
impressed with just what ASUS was able to pull
together with a package which is so well-thought out, really. I mean, it could be a lot worse, but this actually is a
legitimately useful product.

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