In the world of bonkers Asus’ engineering exercises, the fact that the Evo-certified, Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED still exists, is noteworthy. Many such exercises fail shortly after leaving Asus’ Squid-Gamean survival-of-the-fittest SkunkWorks labs – even the revolutionary Netbook didn’t last long. But, here is the Duo’s next evolution – all updated and refreshed – so, it must have found an audience.
Once again, the target audience is Creators who want a high-quality, dual-touchscreen, compact, 14-inch, OLED laptop that’s capable of enhancing their productivity in many tasks. It’s certainly not for everyone, but our review will tell you whether this laptop should be on your radar, or not.
Table of Contents
|Screen||14-inch, glossy, 120Hz, 2,880 x 1,800, OLED display|
12-inch, matte, 120Hz, 2,880 x 864, IPS display
|Processor||3.5-4.7GHz Intel i7-12700H CPU|
|Memory||16GB LPDDR5 RAM|
|Graphics||4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti|
|Hard drive||1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe|
2 x Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x MicroSD Express 7.1 card reader
1 x 3.5mm audio
|Extra Security||Windows Hello (webcam)|
|Microphones||Twin, dual arrays|
|Dimensions||323 x 225 x 18mm|
Features and Design
Unopened, the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED looks like a perfectly normal laptop. Opened-up, it does not. Nonetheless, in the former state, the metal chassis, circular-polished lid and glossy Zenbook logo look very classy and it all feels impressively solid.
Opening the Zenbook up reveals a perfectly normal OLED screen at the top and some kind of science experiment at the bottom… A second, 12.8-inch, 120Hz, IPS touchscreen beneath the primary screen. Plus, there’s a shoved-forward keyboard and squished, trackpad at the bottom right. We found it looks either weird or awesome depending on what the second screen is displaying.
The primary, 14.5-inch OLED screen has a 120Hz refresh. This keeps most fast-and-frantic action rendered more-smoothly than most Creator-oriented rivals and is further enhanced by a fast pixel response time. So, if you’re hoping to take the opportunity to enjoy some good gaming in your downtime, you’re in luck.
The very-high, UHD, 2,880 x 1,800 resolution keeps the Windows Desktop crisp and clear. Multimedia generally looks fantastic, with superb colour vibrancy and excellent contrast. Just note that, at full (550 nit) brightness, detail can get lost in the brightest areas.
Activating Windows’ HDR is very hit and miss. In some content, it can significantly-improve contrast and gradients, with the latter moving from having a light banding in colourful areas and blockiness in monochromatic ones, to silky-smooth transitions in both. In other HDR content it can blow-out every highlight to the point of being unwatchable. Either way, Creators will love that it can display 100 per cent of the difficult DCI-P3 colour gamut and easily switch between all common, professional colour spaces. It also has low blue-light certification to help fend-off eye fatigue.
The second screen
The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED’s second screen is there for support. It’s not as great for multimedia but it’s not like people will rely on it for immersive, cinematic duties. It has a slightly lesser 500-nit brightness, but the weaker contrast makes it look like less, when next to the OLED. Its horizontal resolution of 2,880 pixels makes dragging windows down on to it, seamless, but the vertical, 864-pixel resolution can make them feel a bit squished.
It too runs at 120Hz, but the pixel response time isn’t the fastest. It’s fine for multimedia though, although sitting next to the OLED panel means it doesn’t feel as colourful despite its decent performance.
The screen itself automatically rises by 2cm and inclines 12 degrees, on opening. This simultaneously improves its viewing angle, improves ventilation and improves its tactile comfort. The latter is particularly notable when using the included stylus – the Asus Pen 2.0 which supports the Microsoft Pen Protocol (MPP) 2.0 and has 4,096 pressure levels.
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Having the second screen can be very helpful – especially if you’re consulting a spreadsheet about laptop review scores. It can also be useful for glancing at background videos. However, Asus’ ‘ScreenPad Plus’ technology adds extra bells and whistles which transform it into a productivity tool for Creators.
At a basic level, it can extend the main screen’s resolution downwards, which is as ugly and effective as you might imagine. It can also display apps like the calculator. More-impressive functions include dynamic Control Panel settings for different apps. These include basic playback settings for YouTube and extensive settings for Adobe apps. There’s also a digital colour palette for artwork that’s further enhanced when using it with the stylus. Other features include ‘Quick Key’ shortcut buttons (for the likes of Copy-Paste), App launchers and Task Groups. More details can be found here. It all feels very responsive and accurate.
Where the wrist rest should be is the keyboard. The Scrabble-tile keys are well-weighted and accurate, but we never got comfortable with the unnatural typing position. Having to hold your wrists in the air while moving your shoulders back, is just too awkward for traveling typists like this writer. The very squished arrow keys aren’t our favourite, either.
The trackpad is smooth and accurate and so are the buttons. However, its size and position take some getting used to. It’s not terrible though and the touchscreens take the onus away from it.
The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED’s HD webcam captures a good quality image that doesn’t get too grainy in low light. Sound is particularly impressive thanks to Asus’ noise cancelling technology and it’s dual-dual-array, 360-degree mics which manifest in the form of a front-facing twin-microphone array plus a rear-facing equivalent. It’s very good for web conferencing in a noisy environment.
Related: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo review (2021)
The twin speakers get impressively loud, offer good fidelity from top to bottom and punchy bass to boot.
All in all, there’s much to like about the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED thanks to its great, wide-ranging ergonomics and features, but… your experience will be largely defined by how annoying/irrelevant having the differently positioned keyboard is. If you type a lot, it’s a dealbreaker. If you’re mostly concerned about design work (especially when using a stylus) and having dual-touchscreens, then keep reading.
Inside the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED is a 3.5 – 4.7GHz Intel i7-12700H processor which has 6 Performance cores and 8 Efficiency cores that operate across 20 threads. It’s backed-up by 16GB of low-power LPDDR5 RAM and a fast 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe hard drive.
In the general-computing PCMark 10 test it scored a decent 7,124 which is well above average and particularly impressive for an upper-mid-range, 12th-Gen processor. In the Cinebench CPU rendering tests it scored 2,287 in the drag-race R15 benchmark and 14,640 in the longer, R23 version. These are average in the world of high performance laptops, but that’s including huge, powerful gaming beasts. They are very good scores for a 14-inch Creator-designated ultraportable.
The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED’s 3D performance comes courtesy of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (entry level, discreet) GPU with 4GB of GDDR6 RAM. It’s not our favourite GPU but it does open the door to video processing, rendering and transcoding tasks much more than the integrated Intel graphics otherwise would.
It wouldn’t run the difficult 3DMark ray-tracing tests but, in the AAA-gaming-title-like Time Spy benchmark it scored 5,834 (which is an average of 33fps) while in the similar Fire Strike Extreme test it scored 6,305 (28fps average). As such, it will play some of the latest and greatest games, but not without dialing-down the resolution and quality settings.
In the 3DMark Night Raid test, which mimics casual and competitive games, the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED scored 39,298 which is an average of 292fps. So, you’ll have no problems in this area.
In the challenging CS:GO test, which stresses the entire system, the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED averaged 153 fps in the overall test but this dropped to 22fps when rendering the toughest one per cent of frames (1% Low test) when smoke grenades were going off – players will need to tinker with settings to remain competitive.
The cooling system is generally impressive. Under a light load, it produces a low, robust whoosh which escalates into a louder, robust whoosh when things get tough. The latter can see the center of the base get uncomfortably hot, but at least it cools down quickly when the workload reduces. It runs silently for general computing tasks.
Ultimately, the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED has enough power for mobile Creators not to be waiting around all day – especially for processor-based tasks. Plus, it’s capable of low-end gaming and games will look great on the fast, colourful screen. But, it’s more of a powerful ultraportable than a powerful laptop… if that makes sense?! We just would have liked to see a bit more gaming grunt considering the excellent screen as it would add an entirely new dimension to the laptop.
Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. That’s an impressive set of current-gen connectors – although an extra USB-A port would have been nice.
Portability and battery life
It’s sometimes surprising to remember that this bundle of scaffolded technology is a 14.5-inch ultraportable that weighs only 1.76KG. Just note that the more-powerful-than-usual, 85-Watt power brick isn’t small at 565g – that’s the price of above-average power.
Despite the second-screen’s lifting mechanism, everything is very solidly built and robust to the point where it’s MIL-STD-810H certified. The metal lid doesn’t flex at all when a twisting force is applied and the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass. It should easily survive life on the road.
Meanwhile, the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED’s substantial 76Wh battery ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office benchmark for a modest 6 hours and 27 minutes. We’d like to have seen a few hours more, here, but there’s a huge amount of technology to power.
Price and availability
There are a few current SKUs of the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED available right now and this UX8402ZE model costs $3,599. That’s decent value for the features on offer, but it’s not cheap.
You can also buy a newer 13th-Gen version (UX8402VU SKU), with a Core i9-13900H processor and Nvidia 4050 GPU for $4,299. While newer might always be better, only CPU-renderers will likely see a significant uptick in performance. Asus’ spec sheet suggests an Nvidia 4060 version will be available and we’d certainly like to see if that pushes the Duo into a bona fide gaming PC space.
Conclusion: Should you buy the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED?
We won’t lie, we’re not fans of reviewing the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED for two very good reasons and they arguably define the potential market. Firstly, we do a LOT of typing and the keyboard just isn’t comfortable for that. Being as it’s a core feature for any laptop, it’s a make or break feature for most buyers.
However, the second reason is that it’s got so very many innovative features that it takes us ages to test and write about them all! That’s an endorsement, not a criticism. There are so many potential productivity boons for Creators and graphic designers, that this needs to be a top consideration for anyone who works in that space… and can live without typing all the time.
Ultimately, the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED is a niche product for a certain set of Creators, but that target market will find much to like here. Sure, we’d like some extra 3D grunt and some kind of magical keyboard whose existence defies the laws of physics, but everything else about this laptop is very impressive.
Innovative Creator features
Useful second screen
Can get hot
Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED Scores
The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED has some innovative productivity-boosting features for Creators. It also has impressive build-quality and ergonomics. But, it’s not for everyone.