Some companies have already released dual-screen laptops that have a second screen where you’d normally find a keyboard. Others have crammed a thin, touch-sensitive screen above the keyboard. And last year, Asus started selling laptops with touchscreens where a touchpad would typically be placed.
This year Asus is doing ScreenPad 2.0 with a bigger, wider, higher-resolution touchscreen and improved energy efficiency as well as software updates — instead of dedicated ScreenPad apps, you just get a launcher that opens desktop versions of supported apps… in your touchpad.
But Asus is also trying something brand new in the dual-screen laptop space. The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo features displays — a primary 16:9 screen and a secondary 32:9 display above the keyboard.
The company calls the large display above the keyboard “ScreenPad Plus,” and it basically takes up half the height of the laptop.
You can use it as a second screen to let you view more content at once by viewing one app on the top screen and a second on the bottom — or by extending your desktop to view a single window that spans both displays. I could see this coming in handy when using audio editing software since it would allow you to place your mix/volume sliders on the bottom screen while reserving the top display for your timeline.
There’s also support for tiling apps — you can view two or three different programs in side-to-side windows so you can, I don’t know… look at your calendar, watch a video, and take notes on the bottom screen while reading documents or video conferencing on the primary display or something.
There’s also pen support, so you can take handwritten notes or draw on the second screen.
And Asus says it’s working with software companies such as Corel to add support for the ScreenPad Plus so that you’ll be able to access shortcuts and controls for some software using the second screen.
Of course, the bottom display takes up a lot of space, so Asus had to make some interesting design choices. The keyboard stretches to the bottom of the screen, so the company offers a separate palm rest that you may want to use for a more comfortable typing experience. And since there’s no room for a touchpad below the keyboard, Asus put one on the right side of the laptop instead. You can also use the touchpad as a numeric keypad.
The Asus ZenBook Duo with a 15.6 inch display is expected to launch in Q3 2019 and it will ship with an Intel Core i9 HK processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics.
It has a 15.6 inch, 3840 x 2160 pixel OLED primary display and a 14 inch, 3840 x 1100 pixel IPS ScreenPad Plus.
There’s no word on the price, but I’m guessing… a lot.
Asus also plans to offer a smaller, less powerful model with a 14 inch 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS primary display, a 12.6 inch 1920 x 550 pixel ScreenPad Plus, an Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics.