Zephyrus Duo 15

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.

On July 22, leading PC manufacturer ASUS announced a new range of gaming PCs for the Japanese market.

The new product line has been configured to focus on notebooks, as is typical for ASUS these days, but the highlight is the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 (GX550), a dual-screen gaming notebook with a 15.6-inch + 14-inch screen. It will go on sale on August 7 and will be priced at 636,182 yen (excluding tax).

The model was announced in April for the U.S. market and was supposed to be released in June, but it will be released relatively soon in Japan as well.

Related Article (Japanese):

ASUS' most popular gaming notebooks undergo a generational shift, and the new ROG Strix series is coming to Japan

Zephyrus Duo 15
▲It features a second screen located at the back of the keyboard (top side in the photo) and the full width of the unit. The numeric keypad on the right side of the keyboard is designed to serve as a touch pad.

One of its most distinctive features is that it's a dual-screen notebook with a sub-screen behind the keyboard, a feature unique to ASUS. In other words, it's a model that takes the two-screen design of the ZenBook Duo series of consumer laptops and makes it suitable for heavy gamers.

On the other hand, the body size is 360 x 268 x 20.9-23.0 mm (width x depth x thickness) and weighs about 2.5 kg. In addition to the two displays, the notebook is equipped with high-speed core components such as GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q and Core i9-10980HK, but it's packed in a size that is unique to the Zephyrus series, which emphasizes thinness and lightness while still being a PC for gaming.

Reference Article (Japanese):

ASUS "screen behind the keyboard" notebook goes gaming; ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 announced overseas

Zephyrus Duo 15
▲It doesn't neglect the odd dual display appeal for gamers. It certainly looks handy for compatible game play and streamers.

The main screen specification is 15.6 inches with 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution and no touch support. The sub-screen "ScreenPad+" behind the keyboard is a 14-inch, 3840 x 1100 resolution screen with touch support.

The main screen has a refresh rate of only 60 Hz, which is unusual for gaming laptops these days, but it also supports NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology.

In addition, the color gamut is wide, with 100% coverage of Adobe RGB and Pantone certification for color accuracy, making it a so-called "creator-friendly" display. This is something to keep in mind (note that some overseas models have a full HD/300Hz panel).

Drawing on the know-how gained from the ZenBook Duo series, the practicality of the ScreenPad+ itself has also been enhanced. It's also been tuned for gaming, as in some game titles it can be used as a setting to display information that can't be displayed on the main screen.

As of the time of the ZenBook Duo series, the ScreenPad+ was recognized as a dual screen with touch functionality from Windows 10, which gave it a certain level of versatility, and it was also possible to use it with ASUS' own window placement utility. But, ASUS is also using the launch of this device as an opportunity to reach out to PC game makers.

It also supports the connection of external displays with one Thunderbolt 3 (and Type-C) and one HDMI port. A total of four screens, including the main unit, can be easily achieved.

Zephyrus Duo 15
▲The AAS+ is a feature not found in the ZenBook Duo series. Its predecessor, the AAS (unbranded), was designed so that when you opened the LCD screen, the flap on the bottom side would open to increase its cooling performance, which is installed in the first generation Zephyrus and so on.

Another mechanical feature is AAS+ (Active Aerodynamic System Plus), a mechanism that combines the visibility and cooling capabilities of the second display.

Specially designed hinges lift the second display at 13 degrees to the keyboard surface when the unit is opened, making it easier to see the screen.

At the same time, it creates a space for air to flow through the gap between the main body and the second display, and increases air flow through the cooling fan located at the bottom of ScreenPad+. This increases the air flow to enhance the cooling performance.

Zephyrus Duo 15
▲Viewed from the side with the LCD screen open, you can clearly see how the AAS+ is deployed. The second screen is much easier to see if the angle is this high.It's a design that doesn't just improve cooling performance, it also kills two birds with one stone.

ASUS claims that this type of construction results in an increase in airflow (airflow) of up to 30% compared to the case without the AAS.

Zephyrus Duo 15
▲What determines the actual performance of today's gaming notebooks is the overall performance of the cooling mechanism. This machine also incorporates many of the most advanced mechanical components.

Of course, this kind of structure is naturally heavy equipment because it is useless if the cooling mechanism itself is weak. The two fans are driven by 12V and have 83 blades, and the four heat sinks have 252 fins, which is a very costly structure.

Furthermore, the connection between the GPU and the CPU has been improved through the use of a liquid metal-based thermal conductor (used on the CPU side) to improve thermal conduction efficiency and five heat pipes to improve thermal diffusion, supporting the stable operation of these high-performance yet highly heat-generating parts.

Zephyrus Duo 15
▲The basic performance is quite high, even for a gaming model. Especially the GPU (albeit the Max-Q version) is the RTX 2080 SUPER, which is practically the top of the line for notebooks.

As we briefly mentioned at the beginning of this article, the basic performance is of course also at the forefront of the gaming model.

The first important GPU is NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q.

Because of its Max-Q specifications for thin notebooks (= the balance between heat generation and power consumption is emphasized and the operating clock is held down compared to the unlabeled version), the absolute performance is lower than the unlabeled version, however, since this model belongs to the RTX 2080 Super, which is the highest-end model for notebooks in the current generation, it offers a generous speed even for so-called "heavy" game titles.

The CPU is a Core i9-10980HK, Intel's top-end grade CPU for performance-oriented notebooks. This top-of-the-line Comet Lake-H CPU, Intel's 10th generation CPU, supports 8 cores and 16 threads at a TDP (Approximate figures for power consumption and heat generation) of 45W, with a base clock of 2.4GHz and a maximum of 5.3GHz in turbo mode, to support the GPU.

In terms of RAM, there's 32GB of RAM as standard, with speeds of DDR4-3200, and storage of as much as 2TB of NVMe SSDs (connected via PCI Express, of course) in a RAID 0 configuration of two 1TB pieces, which is also very high.

Nominal battery life is about 4.8 hours (measured by JEITA 2.0). Naturally, these figures are based on a very light load, but they are above par for a heavy gaming machine.

Zephyrus Duo 15
▲The ROG series logo and diagonal lines on the top panel, similar to the design of the Zephyrus G14, which attracted attention for its LED dot display.

Thus, the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 Japan Edition is based on ASUS' unique anomalous two-screen notebook, and is a high-performance notebook that maintains first-class performance for gaming, while also pursuing the convenience and cooling performance of two screens, as well as aggressively improving the bottom area and weight (although the main screen refresh rate is disappointing, despite its 4K resolution).

To go along with these features, the tagline is "Creativity and productivity combine for a new gaming world", a seemingly strange phrase for a gaming laptop. But when you look at the features, you'll see that this is a model that fits the phrase perfectly.

This "highly ambitious" device, which seems to reflect ASUS' unwavering commitment to the challenges of notebook PCs, is the one and only model that sticks so deeply in the mind of gamers and streamers. This is definitely a product to watch out for.

Related Link: ASUS

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.