Artist Review: ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582) (2021)

Big thanks to ASUS Singapore for providing the loan unit for this review.

My review is from the perspective of a visual content creator, someone who does graphic design, digital art, edits photos and videos.

The ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 (UX582) is the very definition of a workstation laptop. Its unique design with a 15.6-inch 4K OLED display paired with a secondary 14-inch IPS display (3840 x 1100 pixel) provides more desktop space than any other laptop in the market (as far as I know). This laptop is a multi-tasking workhorse designed for visual content creators and professionals.

UX582 is updated model of UX581 which was released towards the end of 2019. The price is SGD 4,999. It is pricey but whether it's worth the money really depends on what you're planning to do with it. If your budget is much lower but still want the dual displays, there's the ASUS Zenbook Duo 14 (UX482) priced at SGD 2,598. Here are the specifications of the two models:

Model Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582) Zenbook Duo 14 (UX482)
Main display 15.6-inch OLED touchscreen (3840 x 2160px), 440 nits 14.0-inch IPS touchscreen (1080P), 400 nits
ScreenPad Plus 14.0-inch IPS touchscreen (3840 x 1100px) 12.65-inch IPS touchscreen (1920 x 515px)
Processor Intel Core i9-10980HK (2.4 GHz x 8), Intel Core i7-10870H (2.2Ghz x 8) Intel Core i5-1135G7 (2.4Ghz x 4) to Intel Core i7-1195G7 (3.0Ghz x 4)
Memory 16 - 32GB DDR4 16 - 32GB LPDDR4X
Storage 512GB to 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD 512GB to 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 (8GB) NVIDIA GeForce® MX450 (2GB) and/or Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Ports
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
  • 2x Thunderbolt™ 3 supports display
  • 1x HDMI 2.1
  • 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
  • 1x DC-in
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
  • 2x Thunderbolt™ 4 supports display / power delivery
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
  • Micro SD card reader
Battery 92WHrs, 4S2P, 8-cell Li-ion 70WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion
Weight 2.34 kg 1.57 - 1.62kg
Dimensions 35.98 x 24.92 x 2.15 ~ 2.15 cm 32.40 x 22.20 x 1.69 ~ 1.73 cm

Here in Singapore, the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo is only sold in one configuration:

  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i9-10980HK CPU @ 2.40GHz 3.10 GHz
  • 32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD storage
  • Intel UHD Graphics, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 (8GB)
  • Windows 10 Pro

And that's also the configuration of my loan unit.

Things included


These are the accessories included:

The 240W power charger is thick.

There's a collapsible stand that you can stick to the back of the laptop with attached double-sided tape. This stand props up the laptop higher for better typing experience, and will also give you a better view of the ScreenPad Plus 2nd display.

The detachable palm rest has a plastic textured surface so it's easy to clean.

The laptop carrying case has soft interior and a pen slot, but no pockets.

The stylus supports tilt, 4,096 levels pressure sensitivity and palm rejection, and works on both displays.

Design

The laptop measures 35.98 x 24.92 x 2.15cm and weighs 2.34kg. It's quite heavy for a 15.6-inch laptop so it's certainly not one I would want to carry around that often.


Top cover design has this subtle Zen-inspired circular spun-metal finish.


The back has easy access screws, and grills for air intake. Downward firing speakers are located at the two corners. Audio quality for the speakers is decent, loud and has clarity but has limitations due to them facing downwards.


The bottom of the sides and front are angled to make it easier to pick up the laptop.


Ports on the left are power input, full-size HDMI and 3.5mm audio jack. Those huge grills are for exhaust.


On the right side are USB-A port and two Thunderbolt 3 ports with display out. Location of the Thunderbolt 3 port is unfortunately right where you may want to use a mouse. And if you place your mouse further up, your hand will feel the hot air coming out from the exhaust.

There is unfortunately no microSD card reader.


This design with dual displays stands out because it's a design that's unlike any other laptop.


The 15.6-inch 4K UHD OLED glossy touchscreen display is bright, vibrant and colour accurate. I measured colour support for 100% sRGB, 98% NTSC and 100% AdobeRGB, 97% P3 and a maximum brightness of 312 nits.

OLED displays may have pulse wave modulation. According to notebookcheck, PWM is 60Hz when brightness is 81% or lower. I am not affected by PWM thankfully but there are people who do.

The second display is called the ScreenPad Plus and is an 14-inch IPS matte touchscreen panel that supports a resolution of 3840 x 1100, almost half the height of the main display. I measured colour support for 97% sRGB, 72% NTSC, 76% AdobeRGB, 76% P3 and a maximum brightness of 338 nits.

There's definitely a visual difference in quality between the two displays.

ASUS provides calibration through the ProArt Creator Hub version 1.1.23 which uses X-Rite i1Display Pro/Plus. I wasn't able to get my X-Rite colour calibrator to work though so in the end I used the Spyder5pro instead.

The OLED display has better contrast. Blacks are deep blacks and this this is OLED there is no backlight glow, IPS glow or backlight bleeding at the edges.

Colours on the IPS panel still look good. However the image quality is affected by the matte textured surface which introduces slight grain to the visuals. Colours on a glossy display also appear more vibrant compared to a matte textured display.


Pixel density for both displays is 282 PPI so all the visuals are sharp with no noticeable pixelation.

The addition of the second display makes this laptop a multi-tasking workhouse. This is almost like connecting an external display to the laptop except you get one that's built in. Sure it's not as big as an external display but it's more convenient, and there are several features provided by ASUS software to help with productivity.


Windows can automatically resize to fit onto the ScreenPad Plus. And since you can put any window there, the possibilities of how you can use that extra space is limitless.


When you tap and drag the title bar of any window, a pop-up box will appear and you can choose precisely which slot to put the window. It's very intuitive and works really well.


I use Windows Explorer a lot so I usually have two opened side by side. For the third slot, I can have my email app, have Youtube play music or a social media app.


ASUS has software to control the ScreenPad Plus functionality, e.g. window arrangement, moving windows to and from the main display, changing brightness, etc. There's also special integration with selected Adobe software namely Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro and Lightroom Classic. This special integration comes in the form of an extended control panel with touch sensitive controls such as dials, buttons and scroll wheels.

Below are some of the shortcuts available for the four apps. You can click for a larger view of the screenshots.


When it comes to editing photos with Lightroom Classic, individual controls are useful because you no longer have to scroll down to look for the controls. The downside here is the control increment is in unit of 1. I prefer the default increment of 1/3 units. There's no way to adjust the increment units with the ScreenPad control panel so this severely affects the usability.

ASUS really needs to ask the professionals users of these Adobe apps to improve control panel functionality because the potential is here is tremendous.


This is the control panel for Photoshop. Again, there's the same issue with sensitivity of the controls. For example, it's not easy to control the brush size precisely. The dial is too sensitive and it's easy to make the brush too big or too small. Also when adjusting brush sizes, the brush size number will change but the brush size cursor will only update after you release the dial. In short, you can't adjust the brush size cursor on the fly visually.

The other downside is there's no way to customise your own keyboard shortcuts to the control panel. I use a lot of typography and I cannot assign buttons to adjust the font size (Ctrl + Shift + ). You can only choose from the pre-programmed shortcuts. The thing is there is a pre-programmed shortcut to change font size but the update is not shown instantly (lag) so this shortcut is kinda useless.


It's more useful to put the Photoshop and Illustrator panels on the bottom screen. I use a lot of palettes with Illustrator so having a second display helps tremendously with productivity.


This is the control panel for After Effects. I don't use After Effects much so I can't say much about that or if there are any software glitches.


This is the control panel for Premiere Pro. Being able to use the dials to scrub the timeline, and to zoom the timelines is incredibly useful.

The main downside with the ScreenPad Plus control panel is there's no keyboard shortcut customisation.

Looking at ScreenPad Plus for long periods of time is not good due to posture. But as an additional screen for additional controls or windows that you look at occasionally, it works great and is very useful,


There's no palm rest with this keyboard. If you need palm rest, you can attached the included detachable palm rest. The lack of a palm rest is actually not a big deal because if you haven't noticed, the wired and wireless keyboards we use also don't have palm rests. The main difference here is you will need to use this laptop on a table with space for you to rest your palm. The keyboard is also higher off the table but it's not uncomfortable. I've typed this whole review on this keyboard for extended period of time and I don't feel any discomfort.


This is a good backlit keyboard and my typing experience is very positive. Arrangement of the keys is familiar. Keys have good travel and feedback. Build quality feels very solid. This is definitely a keyboard you can speed type on.


The touchpad is on the right side which may be a deal breaker for left handed users. The touchpad works well and has left and right clicks, and supports finger gestures.

The touchpad also doubles as a numpad with adjustable brightness for the numbers and grid. If you want to use the touchpad and numpad together, you can switch on the numpad on the ScreenPad Plus.

Above the touchpad are shortcut buttons for performance, swapping windows between the two displays, power for ScreenPad Plus and power for the laptop. There's no fingerprint sensor on the power button but face unlock works well enough.

Performance

As a laptop for creative professionals or visual content creators, the laptop is the very definition of a workstation. Everything about this laptop is fast. Bootups, downloads, app launches, huge file saves, photo export, 4K video export are all real fast.


The M.2 NVMe SSD read and write speeds are above 2600MB/s.

Here's how much time it took to export a hundred 16MP RAWs with Adobe Lightroom Classic:

  • M1 Macbook Air (2020) - 1 min 20s
  • ASUS PA90 with Intel i9-9900K (8 x 3.6Ghz): 1m 27s
  • ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 UX582 (Intel Core i9-10980HK (2.4 GHz x 8) - 1 min 40s
  • LG Gram 16 (2021) Intel i7-1165G7 (quad 2.8Ghz) - 3 min 11s
  • Surface Book 3 Intel i7-1065G7 (Quad 1.3 - 3.9Ghz): 3 min 50s to 4min 41s

The surprising thing here is the more affordable Apple M1 Macbook Air is actually faster.


Here are timings to export a ten minute 4K video with H.265 using Adobe Premiere Pro CC:

  • ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 UX582 (Intel Core i9-10980HK (2.4 GHz x 8) - 1 min 40s
  • Apple M1 Macbook Air - 4 min 54s
  • Apple M1 Macbook Air with FCPX - 5 min 1s
  • LG Gram 16 (2021) Intel i7-1165G7 (quad 2.8Ghz) - 6 min 11s

The video export time for the ASUS is impressive. It took around 1/3 of the length of the video. By the way, I'm talking about simple cut-and-join Youtube videos with no LUTs and special effects. The processor together with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 should be able to chew through anything with ease.

M1 Macbook Air has decent video export performance but is nowhere near the ASUS.

Pen performance

You can draw on both displays with the included ASUS stylus SA201H.

It doesn't make sense to draw on the main display since it's going to wobble. The secondary display has good support and does not wobble and hence more suitable for drawing but there are some downsides, namely the ScreenPad Plus is quite warm so this is not a surface you don't really want to rest your hands for long, and the extra wide aspect ratio makes it better for writing than for drawing.

ASUS SA201H is a 2nd generation active stylus that support tilt and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. And since this is an active stylus, you may get perfect palm rejection depending on the apps you use. The performance is very similar to the many Windows stylus out there which is to say that there are the usual limitations...


1. Initial activation force (IAF) is low but you still need to apply slight pressure to get a line.

2. There is slight jitter when drawing diagonal lines slowly.

3. The main problem with the IAF is it's not possible to create smooth tapered strokes.

4. Drawing dots seems fine to me.

5. There is slight difficulty at maintaining consistent width with minimal pressure. When pressure is low, the line thickness will switch from thin to thick uncontrollably.

6. Vertical and horizontal lines do not have jitter.

If you look at the letters ABC that I've drawn, you can see the lines waver and it's difficult to draw smooth lines. In short, this pen is not suitable for precise illustration.


You only get smooth lines when writing because when writing, you write with quick strokes.


Cursor tracking is quite accurate even up to the extreme edges.

Gaming


The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is great for gaming but that obviously depends on the game and the resolution you use.

The overall gaming experience is fantastic due to the OLED and the 4K resolution. With Red Dead Redemption 2 at 4K resolution, I got 40 FPS which is still quite fluid for gaming. You can drop down the resolution for higher frame rates.

And since there are two screens, you can have one display to show walkthroughs. You can multi-task even when gaming.

Video review

Conclusion


The ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582) is a performance workstation designed for visual content creators and professionals. The specifications allow you to handle intensive workloads with ease with the only performance downsides being the laptop can get warm and noisy.

Battery life of 4.5 hours can vary depending on your work. It would be very surprised if the battery life was much longer for such a high spec laptop.

The dual displays are the main selling point of this laptop. Having two displays is extremely useful and excellent for productivity. I have extra windows on the ScreenPad Plus all the time. The dual display software is easy to use despite minor glitches (mostly with the integration with Adobe apps).

This laptop is definitely pricey at SGD 4,999. You can certainly find more affordable 15-inch laptops with OLED displays, e.g. Dell XPS 15 (9510), but those certainly do not come with dual displays. And if you bring along a portable display, the total weight will be even heavier than the ASUS.

This laptop excels at productivity. So it's up to you to decide whether it's worth your money.

Pros and cons at a glance
+ Solid build quality
+ Functional dual display design
+ Excellent OLED display with good colour accuracy and brightness
+ Good viewing angles with minimal to no colour shift
+ Excellent sharpness for both displays
+ ScreenPad Plus has useful software functionality for productivity
+ Good selection of ports with USB-A, TB3, full-size HDMI
+ Powerful and fast processor
+ Quiet operation under all loads
+ NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
+ Decent speakers
+ Touchpad works well
+ Excellent keyboard
+ Extra control panel shortcuts for Adobe apps
- No microSD card reader
- Heavy for a 15.6-inch
- 4.5hr battery life
- Touchpad on right side not suitable for left handed users
- No customisation for extra Adobe control panel shortcuts
- There's PWM
- Laptop will shut down instead of sleep when lid is closed
- Visual difference between the two displays
- No microSD card slot
- Poor placement of TB3 ports
- Fans are noisy when stressed

Availability

You can find the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582 from these Amazon affiliate links (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES)

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