Asus gives mobile gamers a second, full-width 4K touchscreen
Intel's 10th Generation Core processors are here to power this year's computing machines, and the Republic of Gamers from Asus has announced a top-to-bottom refresh of its gaming laptops to take advantage of the new chips. At the top of the pile is a dual-screen powerhouse called the Zephyrus Duo 15.
Pushing the keyboard forward to occupy the space where a laptop trackpad usually sits and plonking a full-width touchscreen right under the main display is something we've seen before from Asus. This Republic of Gamers version of the ScreenPad Plus is a 14.1-inch, 3,840 x 1,100 panel that tilts up at an angle when the lid is opened.
This not only caters for viewing comfort, but also allows the 28.5-mm air intake to draw in cool air, with Asus saying that this design gives the Duo 15 enough thermal headroom to accommodate flagship processors such as a 10th Gen Intel Core-i9 processor and Nvidia RTX 2080 Super GPU.
The secondary display has a refresh rate of 60 Hz, and can serve as a multitasking interface for gaming, multimedia control, content creation, and more, or as an extension to the primary display. The Republic of Gamers is already working with game developers to optimize usage. In Dying Light 2, for example, the ROG ScreenPad Plus is used for game chats and houses controls for switching between inventory items and quests. And real-time stats, build recommendations and more will be available through apps for games like League of Legends, Fortnite and CS-GO.
When not being used for gaming, the display can host toolbars, controls and reference materials. Gearheads can keep track of system performance stats too, and there's also support for the Asus Pen active stylus for doodles and handwritten notes.
The 15.6-inch main non-touch display options are a Full HD screen with a 300 Hz refresh rate and 3 millisecond response time or a 4K UHD panel at 60 Hz with 100 percent Adobe RGB color gamut coverage. Either way, Nvidia's G-Sync tech should keep onscreen content smooth and free from tearing, though the laptop does allow for swapping between G-Sync mode and a more battery-friendly Optimus mode when needed.
As mentioned earlier, the Zephyrus Duo 15 can be had with an octa-core 10th Gen "Comet Lake" Core i9-10980HK processor that can get up to 5.3 GHz on a single core, while Hyper-Threading technology brings up to 16 parallel threads into play to deal with heavy loads. The GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU is based on the Turing architecture, meaning users can expect lifelike visuals, real-time ray tracing, and artificial intelligence processing. Support comes from up to 48 GB of onboard and slot memory, and a pair of NVM Express SSDs (up to 2 TB) run in RAID 0 configuration.
Asus says that the positioning of the chiclet keyboard here helps to keep warm, sweaty palms off the machine, giving gamers the choice of resting wrists on a table or using the detachable palm rest for more comfort. Per-key RGB lighting can help highlight important command keys, the actuation point of the switches has been raised for better response, and the trackpad to the right of the keying area can display a numeric keypad if needed.
Connectivity shapes up as a Thunderbolt 3 port with power delivery and DisplayPort 1.4, three Type A USB ports, HDMI 2.0b, Bluetooth 5.0 and multi-antenna Wi-Fi 6, and Gigabit Ethernet for low-latency cabling to a router. Two audio jacks with an ESS Sabre DAC inside should offer high resolution sonics. A 90-Wh battery holds promise for long-haul gaming, though Asus hasn't revealed per charge usage times.
All of this in a laptop that's just 20.9 mm (0.8 in) thick and tips the scales at 2.4 kg (5.3 lb). The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 will be available from May. Pricing starts at US$2,999.99, and goes up to $3,699.99 when fully tricked out.