Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16. Review
This post might contain affiliation links. If you buy something through this post, the publisher may get a share of the sale.
Almost two years ago I reviewed the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, a gaming laptop with two displays. And now Asus is back at it again, this time with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 that boasts a 16-inch main display with a 14-inch secondary display just below it. It still looks wildly cool and chaotic, but this time around I’ve actually found a use for the second screen.
Here are the specifications of the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 I’ve been testing:
- Model: Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 (GX650R-XS97)
- Display: 16-inch QHD 165Hz (2560×1600), 14-inch (3840×1100)
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX 3.3GHz (20M cache, 4.9GHz max boost)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Laptop GPU, 16GB GDDR6
- Memory: 16GB DDR5 4,800Mhz
- OS: Windows 11 Pro
- Storage: 1 x 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD
- Webcam: 720p HD IR camera
- Ports: 1 x microSD card reader, 1 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C w/DisplayPort support, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C w/DisplayPort support and power deliver, 1 x Ethernet, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.2
- Dimensions: 13.98 x 10.47 x 0.81-inches (WxDxH)
- Weight: 5.73-pounds
- Price: 4,489
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 – Design
The Duo 16 is a beast. It’s big, heavy and I’m here for it. The black exterior is broken up by a dot matrix design that’s cut in half diagonally on the lid by a blue and purple line, with the rest of the lid left plain, save for the ROG logo that uses the same blue and purple color scheme.
The hinge connects on both outer edges of the housing, with another dot matrix-like design found on the back portion of the housing, along with status lights. As you lift the lid, you’ll feel a touch of resistance the further you push it up. The resistance comes from the lid also pulling up the touch-capable Screenpad display, which rests at a 13-degree angle. Underneath the display are a couple of airflow vents to help improve the cooling system.
Below the Screenpad is a revamped keyboard and a larger touchpad that can be transformed into a digital number pad. To switch between the touchpad and number pad you long press on the small silkscreened button that’s on the touchpad itself. After a second or two, the touchpad displays a red numpad that you can use to quickly punch in numbers. When you’re done, you long-press on the same button to go back to a standard touchpad.
The 16-inch display is sandwiched between two vertical bezels that are impressively thin. Along the top of the display is a 720P infrared camera that works with Windows Hello to use facial recognition for tasks such as signing in to your Windows account or logging into apps.
On the right side of the deck is a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port that supports DisplayPort for connecting an external monitor. On the left side of the deck is where a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microSD card reader, a second USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port with Power Delivery and DisplayPort support, a standard USB 3.2 Gen 2 port and the charging port are found.
On the rear of the laptop’s housing you’ll find three more ports – another standard USB port, an HDMI 2.1 port and a 2.5G Ethernet port.
I’ve said it before, but I really appreciate it when laptop makers spread the ports out as they are on the Duo 16. It looks cleaner than overloading a single side of the laptop with ports, along with the connections and cables that come along with it.
The Duo 16 isn’t something you’ll want to get in the habit of carrying around everywhere with you simply due to its weight of 5.78 pounds. Still, its dimensions are impressively small given that there’s a 16-inch display involved, measuring 13.98 x 10.47 x 0.81 inches.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 – Performance and gaming
Inside the Duo 16 I’ve been testing is all of the high-end components I’d put on my wishlist if I was building a gaming laptop from scratch and a budget wasn’t involved. specifically, the Duo 16 houses an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX mobile processor with 8-cores and 16-threads, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU with 16GB of GDDR6 of memory, a 2TB NVMe SSD for storage and 32GB of DDR5 4,800MHz memory.
It’s a good thing it has specs that are sure to make your friends jealous, too. Performance is good, if not great on the Duo 16 – and when you look at its benchmark scores compared to two equally impressive builds in the Gigabyte Aero 16 and MSI Raider GE76, it sits right in the middle of the two.
For example, the Duo 16 more or less matches the GE76’s performance in 3DMark tests, but then saw its average frames per second in gaming benchmarks consistently below the GE76’s. That said, it did beat the Aero 16’s scores almost across the board.
My personal experience with the Duo 16 was similar. Using it for everyday, common tasks such as streaming Spotify or Twitch while talking with colleagues and friends in Slack and Discord with a number of tabs open in Edge, I never saw any performance hiccups or slowdowns. I didn’t see any hiccups when gaming, either, but I did expect to see higher fps numbers than I did.
When I first installed Warzone and started adjusting to graphics settings, I thought something was broken. I’m accustomed to seeing the memory bar on the right side of the screen fill up and eventually turn red as it goes past the suggested limit. However, with all graphics settings on high and ray tracing enabled, Warzone didn’t get remotely close to taking up the full 16GB of GPU memory.
With all graphics settings on high, ray tracing turned on, and DLSS set to Quality, the Duo 16 hovered right around 120 fps. If I switched DLSS to performance, the average fps jumped up to 123 – so not much of a difference.
Speaking of the display, I really liked the color quality, saturation and overall clarity of the Duo 16’s screen. With a little bit of tweaking to graphics settings it’s easily within reach to get Warzone or Fortnite to match the display’s 165Hz refresh rate.
With the keyboard at the front of the housing, there isn’t a comfortable palm rest. Because of that, Asus includes a palm rest that snugs up to the front of the deck. The keyboard feels like a mix of mechanical and chiclet, with plenty of movement and a silent switch-like sound and feel.
The touchpad is too small to be used all day long, but it does its job and is comfortable to use for short periods of time.
With the Duo 15 I never really found a purpose for the second screen. Sure, I could view my system stats while I was gaming and ensure everything was running smoothly – but I never felt like having the second screen was a true benefit. With the Duo 16, however, I found myself using the second screen for activities I would normally use an external monitor for. For example, I often had Twitch open and streaming on the bottom Screenpad while I browsed the web, wrote an email or completed some other random task on the top display.
While gaming, I could have Discord open on the bottom display, for instance, to monitor different chats and servers I’m in. I do wish that more apps and games supported the Screenpad; it’d be awesome to see an option to manage your custom loadouts in Warzone or perhaps have an always-on map on the bottom screen in Fortnite.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 – Battery life
Battery life is always an issue on gaming laptops, but I was surprised at the Duo 16’s performance given that two displays remained on during the battery test. I looked through every settings pane I could find for a switch to turn off the Screenpad display to no avail. So I lowered both screens’ brightness to 50% like I always do for battery benchmarks and let the test run.
The Duo 16 powered through 2 hours and 59 minutes before it ran out of power. That’s one minute longer than the single-display Aero 16 lasted in the same test, and 38 minutes less than the GE76 (again, with a single screen).
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 – Software
When you drop over 4,000 on a gaming laptop, the last thing you want to deal with is preinstalled bloatware and random apps. And with the Duo 16, I’m happy to say that isn’t an issue.
Asus has some of its own apps preinstalled, and the standard Windows 11 apps are present, but that’s par for the course. The Asus app I used the most during my testing was Armoury Crate. It’s in that app where you go to adjust performance settings, view system stats, change the individually lit keyboard’s color scheme or check for firmware and system updates that are specific to Asus.
ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 Review. I Won’t Buy a Laptop That Does Not Have this Killer Feature
As was the case with the Duo 15, the Duo 16 is going to cost you. The model I tested comes in at 4,489 – but it’s fully loaded. The base model has a starting price tag of 2,499.
For 3,899 you can pick up the Duo 16 with an RTX 3070 Ti and 1TB of storage. There is an HD version of the Duo 16 listed on Asus website, but I haven’t been able to find it in stock anywhere.
This post might contain affiliation links. If you buy something through this post, the publisher may get a share of the sale.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 (2023) Review
Two screens, a record-breaking AMD processor and an RTX 4090 make this a versatile powerhouse.
- Key Features
- Design and Keyboard
- Battery Life
- Latest deals
- Should you buy it?
- You need two screens and record-breaking power
- You’d want a good keyboard and better battery life
- Final Thoughts
- How we test
- Trusted Reviews test data
- Full specs
- Jargon buster
The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo combines record-breaking speed with a great pair of screens, making it an exceptional option for top-line gaming and creative work. But, ergonomic compromises mean you should only buy this laptop if you appreciate its unique features.
Some companies aren’t shy about pushing design boundaries, and the dual-screen ROG Zephyrus Duo is another head-turner from Asus.
This is the kind of innovation people will appreciate, and it’s not just about games. Asus reckons it’ll prove popular with streamers and creatives who want more space for timelines and communication tools.
There’s no power shortage, thanks to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 and flagship AMD processor. But, there’s no shortage of high here either, with this range-topping Zephyrus (GX650PY-NM010W) costing 3999/£4599/€5599.
Asus rigs like the Strix Scar 16 have already arrived, the MSI Titan GT77 is a powerhouse, and forthcoming Alienware and Razer laptops will aim for our best gaming laptops guide.
Design and Keyboard
Unsurprisingly, the second display – dubbed the ScreenPad Plus – dominates every aspect of the Duo. Open the lid and a mechanism lifts the ScreenPad to an angle of thirteen degrees, which improves cooling and viewing angles.
It looks cool and futuristic. There’s an iridescent slash on the lid and RGB-filled glass between the ScreenPad and keyboard that add to the vibe.
Build quality is consistently excellent, and the screen mechanisms work smoothly. You’ll only want extra protection for this laptop to protect its looks.
At 2.7kg in weight, 30mm thick and 266mm deep, it’s heavier than the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 and Zephyrus M16 and larger than the forthcoming Razer Blade 16. The MSI Titan GT77 and Alienware m16 are even bigger, though.
The second screen doesn’t just add bulk, its inclusion forces the keyboard to the front of the notebook and makes the layout cramped. There’s a single-height Return key, small cursor buttons and no number pad. There’s no wristrest, and Asus’s rubberized version doesn’t attach to the laptop, so it’s easy to knock out of position.
The trackpad has an awkward number pad overlay, and the pad is extremely narrow. It’s not intuitive for gaming or creative work.
It’s a shame, because the keyboard offers good quality, with per-key RGB LED lighting, 1.7mm of travel and a snappy, consistent typing action that’s great for work and games. You’ll only get a better feel by opting for a mechanical alternative, like the MSI Titan GT77 or the Alienware’s optional CherryMX upgrade. It’s just a shame that everything’s so squeezed.
The Asus has two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports and two USB-C connectors with DisplayPort and power delivery. It’s also got an HDMI 2.1 port and a microSD card slot. Internally, there’s 2.5Gbps Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3.
Unfortunately, the rig’s AMD processor means no Thunderbolt, and there’s no full-size card reader. Razer and Alienware laptops offer the latter, and you’ll find Thunderbolt on everything with an Intel CPU.
The Duo has a 1080p Windows Hello webcam but doesn’t have a privacy shutter. There’s no fingerprint reader. The Duo offers pairs of M.2 and memory slots, but getting inside the laptop is extremely difficult.
The main panel of the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is a 16:10 Mini LED display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution. Asus claims a maximum brightness of 1,100 nits, and the screen has 1,024 dimming zones. The 240Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time will satisfy most gamers.
The ScreenPad is a 14 inch panel with a 3840 x 1100 resolution designed to retain size and clarity when apps move between the displays. It’s not Mini LED, but it’s a Gorilla Glass touchscreen with stylus support and IPS technology.
That secondary screen is ideal for streamers and gamers who need space for comms and configuration tools as well as creatives who need room for timelines or extra apps. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a useful addition.
It’s easy to use, too. The Asus Screen Xpert app allows users to create custom layouts and groups of apps, and the Asus Control Center has dedicated dials and buttons for Adobe’s creative apps.
The main display is brilliant. In HDR mode, the panel attains a 1,047-nit brightness level. Its dimming zones deliver genuine punch and nuance in HDR content. In SDR mode, it tops out at a mighty 752 nits. The low black point of 0.05 nits means contrast levels of about 15,000:1, so you get stunning vibrancy and punch in any gaming or creative app.
The Delta E of 1.52 means accurate colours, and the screen produced 99.9% of the sRGB gamut and 98.5% of the DCI-P3 space – so it’ll handle any game or media situation. A minor issue is the Adobe RGB coverage level of 89.2%, which isn’t quite high enough for demanding creatives.
The ScreenPad’s maximum brightness of 397 nits is alright for indoor use and it displayed 96.2% of the sRGB space with a Delta E of 1.8. It’s fine, even if it doesn’t have the breadth for creative work.
Combine the two screens and you’ve got a brilliant screen setup. The vibrant, detailed main display makes games and films look fantastic. It’s got accuracy for most work tasks, too. That second screen is a capable option for secondary tools.
No rivals compete in terms of quality – the ROG Strix Scar is close – so you’ll only want to look elsewhere for different attributes. The Blade 16 has a 3840 x 2400 panel at 120Hz that can switch to a 1920 x 1200/240Hz mode and the Alienware m16 has a 480Hz upgrade for eSports.
Games and media won’t just look good on this laptop – the six speakers mean they’ll sound good, too. The Duo’s audio is loud, punchy and clear, with ample detail. There could be a bit more bass, but that’s a minor complaint.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is a flagship mobile GPU with 9,728 shader units and 16GB of memory. It operates near Nvidia’s 175W peak power level. AMD’s Ryzen 9 7945HX has sixteen multi-threaded Zen 4 cores and a 5.4GHz boost speed.
There’s 32GB of dual-channel DDR5 memory and a 2TB SSD with excellent read and write speeds of 7,114 MB/s and 5,917 MB/s.
The RTX 4090 is a beast, even in Performance Mode, which doesn’t use the GPU’s full power. In Horizon Zero Dawn at Ultimate settings and 2560 x 1600, the Duo averaged 133fps – thirteen frames beyond the Scar and further ahead of the M16. In Borderlands 3, its 99fps average was a few frames behind the Scar but miles beyond the M16. It rattled through Rainbow Six Siege at 291fps – thirty frames more than the M16.
Turbo mode is even faster. Its Borderlands 3 result improved by eleven frames with that mode activated, and it gained 35fps in Rainbow Six. Use more modest performance options and you’ll still get good power: in Windows mode the Duo still played Borderlands at 96fps and still managed 119fps in Rainbow Six with Quiet mode operating.
3DMark Time Spy highlights the hierarchy. The Duo’s initial result of 16,745 is far beyond the other two Asus rigs. In Turbo mode, that score was revised to 18,647. That’s brilliant, but the MSI was even better – that huge notebook proved faster in most games and hit 20,810 in Time Spy.
The forthcoming Razer Blade 16 and Alienware m16 will run the RTX 4090 at similar power levels to the Duo, so expect a similar pace – and for this particular Asus to remain a top-tier option.
The Duo will play top single-player games without graphics compromises. Ray tracing isn’t an issue, and you’ll be able to output to 360Hz and 480Hz eSports displays alongside 4K panels and widescreens without concern.
The processor is incredible too. In Cinebench R23, the Duo’s multi-core result of 32,226 is thousands of points beyond the 27,829 scored by the Intel Core i9-13980HX in the MSI and further ahead of the more popular Core i9-13900H. Its PCMark 10 result of 9,052 is similarly dominant – hundreds of points beyond the 8,609 returned by the i9-13980HX inside the Scar.
It’s the kind of CPU that’ll motor through any content creation workload, from tough batch photo editing to 4K video work. It’ll have no issue with most workstation-level productivity apps. It’s comfortably the fastest laptop processor around, although it will be overkill for most users.
Despite the power, the Duo is a reasonable thermal performer. It only got aggressively hot on the underside, and you won’t be touching that part of the notebook anyway. There’s fan noise, but it’s no worse than most gaming laptops and easy to block if you wear a headset.
In its default Performance mode, the Duo hit about 50db, and it’s restricted to 40db in Windows mode. I’d shy away from the Turbo mode unless you’re chasing every frame because it peaks at a loud 55db. But, even then, it never approaches the ear-piercing 60db levels of the MSI Titan.
Don’t expect much battery life from the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16, though. If you’re pushing the hardware in games or creative tools you’ll get an hour, and even with the ScreenPad deactivated and the main screen brightness lowered during modest tasks you’ll only get three or four hours of use. Most gaming laptops are better.
You’re not buying the Duo for battery life, though, and there are plenty of other areas where this notebook impresses.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 (GX650PZ-XS96) 16″ 240Hz (3ms) QHD WQXGA (100% DCI-P3) Gaming Laptop w / GeForce RTX 4080 12GB GDDR6 (AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX Windows 11 Pro)
Graphics Card RTX 3060 (6GB) RTX 4080 (12GB) RTX 4090 (16GB) Display 16″ 165Hz WUXGA 16″ 240Hz WQXGA Processor Ryzen 7 6800H Ryzen 9 7945HX Memory (RAM) 16GB DDR5 4800MHz 32GB DDR5 4800MHz Storage 1TB NVMe SSD 2TB NVMe SSD Operating System Windows 11 Windows 11 Pro
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 (GX650PZ-XS96), AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX (2.5GHz. 5.4GHz) Processor, 16″ 240Hz (3ms) QHD WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Mini LED Anti-Glare (Bend 1100 nits Brightness) Display, 32GB (2x 16GB) DDR5 4800MHz Memory, 1TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 (12GB) GDDR6 Graphics Card, Microsoft Windows 11 Professional, Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2, HDMI 2.1 FRL, 2x USB 3.2 Type C (Gen 2), 2x USB 3.2 Type A (Gen 2), Per-Key RGB Keyboard (Support NumberPad), AAS Aura Sync Lighting
The Pinnacle Of Gaming
Game or create on the cutting edge with up to an AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX processor and up to an NVIDIA eForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU. The Ryzen 9 7945HX CPU offers incredible gaming and multitasking performance, letting you stream and render even the most intensive projects, while the powerful RTX 4090 Laptop GPU guarantees incredible in-game framerates and content creation acceleration. A 1080p IR webcam offers seamless video capture and security with Windows Hello support. With up to 4TB of blazing fast PCIe 0 SSD storage in RAID 0 and 64GB of 4800MHz DDR5 RAM, the 2023 Zephyrus Duo 16 is a multitasking monster and offers Rapid load times for all your games and applications.
High Power Processing
When you need to render large video files or perform other intensive tasks, you can rely on the latest AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX processor. This flagship CPU offers exceptional multithreaded performance, while also maintaining best-in-class gaming ability. With more than double the performance in Cinebench R23 compared to the previous generation, AMD’s Dragon Range architecture combined with ROG’s overclocking expertise delivers incredible power.
Powered by NVIDIA’s ultra-efficient Ada Lovelace architecture, the NVIDIA eForce RTX 4090 is the most powerful GPU we’ve put into a laptop. Access near-desktop class gaming and content creation performance on this truly next generation GPU. With a maximum TGP of 175W and access to the latest technology like DLSS 3, ray tracing, and Max-Q Technologies, the RTX 4090 can deliver both high resolution and high frame rates in the latest AAA games.
175W only available on Manual mode with Dynamic Boost
Mini LED. Maximum Vibrance.
Whether you’re gaming, catching up on your favorite content, or just browsing the web, the 16-inch 16:10 main display is absolutely gorgeous. For fast paced gaming, the QHD 240Hz panel with 3ms response time is the perfect blend of high refresh and high resolution for crisp and detailed images. Mini LED allows for deeper contrast and higher brightness than traditional LED displays, allowing for an image that pops off the screen with VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification. The panel is also certified by TÜV Rheinland for low blue light, keeping your eyes comfortable all day. Prepare to be dazzled by vivid colors with 100% DCI-P3 coverage, 1100 nits peak brightness, and 1024 dimming zones.
Pantone Validated colors only available in SDR mode.
The Zephyrus Duo 16’s iconic second screen has also been improved, with the brand new Corning Gorilla Glass DXC, paired with a new anti-fingerprint coating. Gorilla Glass DXC reduces surface reflections while increasing hardness by over 40% for better scratch resistance. Less reflections mean you can set the brightness lower, even when used in outdoor and bright environments.
Upgraded Conductonaut Extreme Liquid Metal
Powerful components like the CPU need a thermal interface material to transfer their heat to the cooling system. Thermal Grizzly’s Conductonaut Extreme improves upon standard thermal pastes with 17X higher thermal conductivity, resulting in up to 15°C cooler CPU temperatures. Used exclusively by ROG, this indium and galium compound offers the highest thermal transfer available on a laptop. And unlike typical pastes, liquid metal will also never dry out, improving long term stability.
0dB Ambient Cooling, Zero Distractions
Enjoy truly silent cooling under light workloads with 0dB Ambient Cooling. In the Silent operating mode, the cooling system switches off all fans during everyday tasks to dissipate heat passively. This lets you concentrate on your work and immerse yourself in movies with less distraction. If CPU or GPU temperatures increase, the fans automatically switch on again.
From the inside out, the Zephyrus Duo 16 is designed to emphasize the perfect blend of power and refined style. For those who need a gaming flagship that can blend in anywhere, the Duo 16 is the ideal machine.
Dual Displays. One Device.
The Zephyrus Duo 16 really shows its versatility when you take it on the go. The built-in secondary display means that you always have a second screen available, while the 90Wh battery and USB Type-C charging can keep you powering through work all day long. An IR camera with Windows Hello support makes unlocking the machine a breeze.
Studio Quality Audio
Enjoy studio quality audio from the six speaker soundstage with dual force-canceling woofers. With Dolby Atmos support, the system can recreate a virtual 5.1.2 channel surround soundstage for incredibly immersive content. Three microphones give you incredible flexibility when joining calls or recording audio, bolstered by Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation that filters incoming and outgoing audio. Enjoy crystal clear voice chat even in noisy environments.
The Key To Victory
The Zephyrus Duo 16 sacrifices nothing. Utilizing NumberPad technology, the trackpad doubles as a full number pad to maximize space on the keyboard deck. N-key rollover ensures that each keypress is independently registered, giving you flexibility in game for complicated combos or accuracy for quick typing. A long 1.7mm key travel makes the Zephyrus Duo 16 very comfortable to type on, minimizing accidental keypresses as well. Per-key RGB and Aura Sync integration allows for robust preset and custom lighting patterns via Armoury Crate.
Replace. Refit. Rearm.
Upgradeability is key to keeping your machine running well for years to come—and the Zephyrus Duo allows you to upgrade both the RAM and storage to extend its lifespan. A special pop-open screw pushes the bottom of the chassis away from the laptop as it’s loosened. The hooks holding those edges together are smaller and stronger than before to make lifting off the panel easy. The Zephyrus Duo has dual SO-DIMMs and allows for future RAM upgrades. Both M.2 SSD slots are also accessible and expandable.
Connect to all of your devices with a robust selection of I/O. A pair of USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports offer DisplayPort 1.4a, with power delivery support on one and G-Sync on the other. Two additional USB 3.2 Gen 2 round out connectivity for your peripherals. Enjoy HDMI 2.1 support for an external display, as well as a 2.5G ethernet port, dedicated microSD card reader, and an audio combo jack. Dongles begone!
|Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 (GX650PZ-XS96), AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX (2.5GHz. 5.4GHz) Processor, 16″ 240Hz (3ms) QHD WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Mini LED Anti-Glare (Bend 1100 nits Brightness) Display, 32GB (2x 16GB) DDR5 4800MHz Memory, 1TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 (12GB) GDDR6 Graphics Card, Microsoft Windows 11 Professional, Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2, HDMI 2.1 FRL, 2x USB 3.2 Type C (Gen 2), 2x USB 3.2 Type A (Gen 2), Per-Key RGB Keyboard (Support NumberPad), AAS Aura Sync Lighting|
|AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX Processor|
|Microsoft Windows 11 Professional|
|16″ 240Hz (3ms) QHD WQXGA Anti-Glare (100% DCI-P3) DisplayMini LEDFreeSync Premium ProPantone ValidatedDolby Vision HDRBrightness : Bend 1100 nitsRefresh Rate: 240HzResponse Time: 3ms|
|QHD 16:10 (2560 x 1600, WQXGA)|
|ScreenPad Plus (14″ 3840 x 1100 [4K] IPS-level Panel Support Stylus)|
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 (12GB) GDDR6 Graphics CardROG Boost : 2330MHz at 175W (2280MHz Boost Clock50MHz OC, 140W15W Dynamic Boost in Turbo Mode, 150W25W in Manual Mode)|
|Up to 175W (140W15W Dynamic Boost in Turbo Mode, 150W25W in Manual Mode)|
|32GB (2x 16GB) DDR5 4800MHz Memory|
|Hard Drive Optical Drive|
|1TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 (Performance) SSD|
|Smart Amp TechnologyDolby AtmosAI noise-canceling technologyHi-Res certificationSupport Microsoft Cortana near field/Far fieldBuilt-in 3-microphone array6-Speaker(dual-force woofer) system with Smart Amplifier Technology|
|Gigabit Ethernet LANWi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) (Triple Band) 2x2Bluetooth 5.2|
|1x USB 3.2 Type C (Gen 2) [Support DisplayPort / G-SYNC]1x USB 3.2 Type C (Gen 2) [Support DisplayPort / Power Delivery / G-SYNC]2x USB 3.2 Type A (Gen 2)1x Card reader (microSD) (UHS-II, 312MB/s)1x HDMI 2.1 FRL1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack1x 2.5G LAN port|
|Backlit Chiclet Per-Key RGB Keyboard [Support NumberPad]Touchpad|
|BIOS Administrator Password and User Password ProtectionTrusted Platform Module (Firmware TPM)|
|AAS Aura Sync Lighting|
|90WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion|
|ø6.0, 330W AC Adapter,Output: 19.5V DC, 16.9A, 330W,Input: 100~240C AC 50/60Hz universal|
|13.98″ x 10.47″ x 0.81″ ~ 1.17″ (W x D x H)|
|1 Year International/Eligible for 1YR free Domestic ADP upon registration with 1-way free shipping/2-way FREE shipping for standard hardware warranty repair|
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Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 Review: Dragon Range Meets RTX 4090
The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is a refined dual-screen laptop with a gorgeous main display and nice speakers, but its keyboard is awkward and you need to use its turbo modes to eke out top performance.
- Mini LED screen is beautiful and bright
- Surprisingly good speakers
- Refined design
- – Awkward keyboard and touchpad placement
- – Some other RTX 4090 machines performed better
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While some laptops are going for bigger screens, Asus has been offering a different solution: more screens. The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 (3,999.99 as tested, starting at 3,499.99) is the latest update to its line of dual-display gaming laptops, providing room for your chats, guides or other programs while you play games.
Asus has bumped up to the latest chips from AMD and Nvidia, including the Ryzen 9 7945HX “Dragon Range” CPU and GeForce RTX 4090 laptop graphics card. They work well enough, but to get maximum performance, we found that it’s worth switching performance modes to the ones that use the most power.
The new main mini LED screen is colorful and extremely bright, rivalling the panels on many of the best gaming laptops. They look fantastic. Paired with a solid six-speaker system, games and just about everything else look and sound great.
But the keyboard and mouse, even a few generations in, are still awkward. It’s a good thing that Asus includes a wrist-rest in the box.
Design of the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
At first glance the Zephyrus Duo looks like a normal, if slightly thick, 15-inch laptop. In fact, the lid makes a lovely first impression. Asus has eschewed RGB lighting for purple and pink holographic coloring that still suggests this is a gaming laptop (Asus’ big ROG eye is still there) but with a bit of subtlety against the black aluminum lid and magnesium alloy body.
From a purely mechanical standpoint, the Zephyrus is beautiful. It opens in one smooth motion, revealing the primary 16-inch display, surrounded by thin bezels, as well as the secondary ScreenPad Plus. The ScreenPad lifts up from a flat position to a 13-degree angle, helping to close the gap between it and the main display and allowing for more air to enter through intake fans. The 16-inch screen is matte, while the 14-inch touchscreen is glossy, which is a bit odd.
When the Screen Pad lifts, it also reveals a piece of glass that lets you take a look at the PCB. It’s a cool effect, but a bit distracting to have that area, with its hint of RGB glow, right below the secondary screen.
Below those screens are the keyboard and touchpad, jammed at the very bottom of the keyboard. It’s not an ideal place, and you’ll learn more about that in our Keyboard and Touchpad section below.
The left side of the laptop has a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, a microSD card reader (UHS-II) and the 3.5 mm audio jack. These are all jammed up against the side of the keyboard. The right side boasts a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port.
On the back are three more ports: the Ethernet jack, HDMI 2.1 and one more USB 3.2 Type 2 Type-A port.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus DUO 16 Review by Tanel
At 13.98 x 10.47 x 1.17 inches and 6.17 pounds, the Duo can fit in a bag, even though it’s on the heavy side. The competitor RTX 4090 systems we’re considering here had larger 18-inch screens. The Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 is 15.71 x 11.57 x 1.21 inches and 6.83 pounds (that one did not fit in my backpack), while the MSI Titan GT77 HX is 15.63 x 12.99 x 0.91 inches and a whopping 7.28 pounds, relegating it to a desk.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 Specifications
|AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX (5.4 GHz boost, 16 cores / 32 threads)|
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 (16GB GDDR6, 175W max graphics power, 1,815 MHz boost clock)|
|2TB PCIe M.2 SSD|
|16-inch, 2560 x 1600, Mini-LED, 16:10, 240 Hz, Nebula HDR|
|14.09-inch, 2560 x 734 half-height touchscreen, 60 Hz|
|MediaTek Wi-Fi 6E MT7922, Bluetooth 5.2|
|2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, MicroSD (UHS-II) card reader, 3.5 mm headphone jack|
|Windows 11 Pro|
|13.98 x 10.47 x 1.17 inches (355 x 266 x 297 mm)|
|6.17 pounds (2.8 kg)|
Gaming and Graphics on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
With its RTX 4090, the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo will play just about any game you throw at it on high settings. Here, it’s paired with AMD’s Ryzen 9 7945HX “Dragon Range” CPU. While the games do play well for most people, other RTX 4090 laptops seemed to outperform it. There’s numerous possibilities here; the Duo’s RTX 4090 has a lower clock speed than the one used in the other two laptops. It’s also being used to power the second screen. This is also the first machine we’ve seen combining that GPU with AMD’s Ryzen 9 7945HX. We saw these results in two units, though the numbers do increase if you push to higher power settings, such as turbo mode and ultimate GPU mode, so you should do that for best performance here (we typically test laptops out of the box).
Control is still one of my favorite games to play on new hardware to get a sense of what they can do. Even a few years after release, it’s challenging. I set the game to high settings, high ray tracing settings and the Duo’s native 2560 x 1600 resolution. In an intense boss battle against a flying Hiss enemy, the frame rate danced between 46 and 50 frames per second. Soon after, in the game’s puzzle-focused Oceanview Motel, it ran between 59 and 62 fps.
On Shadow of the Tomb Raider (ultra settings), the Duo ran at 151 frames per second at 1080p and 96 fps at 2560 x 1600. That’s lower than the MSI Titan GT77 HX and Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 (180 and 181 fps at 1080p), and even at higher frame rates, the Duo lagged behind.
On Grand Theft Auto V (very high settings), the Zephyrus Duo reached 158 frames per second at 1080p and 100 fps at native 2560 x 1600. The Titan and Strix again won out, though at 1080p it was more comparable at high power mode.
Far Cry 6 is where the Duo showed it could play with the bigger laptops. It ran the benchmark at ultra settings at 98 fps at 1080p and 90 fps at 2560 x 1600. That’s closer to the other machines — especially the Strix Scar 18’s 94 fps at 2560 x 1600. It’s still lower, but to a more forgivable degree. Again, high power settings pushed these up in line with the other systems, around 102 fps at 1080p and 97 fps at 2560 x 1600.
Red Dead Redemption 2 at mediums settings can still be punishing at higher resolutions. At 1080p, the Zephyrus Duo hit 107 fps, but reached 75 fps at its native 2560 x 1600. That’s lower than the Strix Scar 18 at both resolutions, as well as the Titan at their common 1080p.
On Borderlands 3’s “badass” preset, the Zephyrus reached 135 fps at FHD and 97 fps at 2560 x 1600. Again, the other laptops beat it here by a significant margin. Turning on high power mode got us closer to 160 fps at 1080p and 108 fps at 2560 x 1600, the latter of which seems more reasonable (it’s possible the lower resolution is held back by the CPU).
In games with DLSS support, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Metro Exodus, quality mode upscaling can generally improve performance by 30–50 percent, sometimes more, and the resulting image quality often competes well against native rendering. DLSS 3 Frame Generation, where supported, can artificially boost the rate of frames sent to your display by 50–100 percent, but it causes additional latency and the actual feel of games with DLSS 3 doesn’t improve nearly as much as the higher FPS would indicate. It’s not a bad option to have, but personal preference becomes a real factor in what Frame Generation does to the overall experience.
To stress test the Zephyrus Duo 16, we ran Metro Exodus on its RTX preset 15 times in a loop, which takes about half an hour. The game ran at an average of 105.3 fps, which was surprisingly stable throughout, minus a slightly faster first run. During that test, the Ryzen 9 7945HX ran at an average speed of 3.42 GHz and a temperature of 82.98 degrees Celsius. The GeForce RTX 4090 ran at an average of 1,730 Mhz and measured 72.22 C.
Productivity Performance on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
When you’re not busy gaming, the AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX, along with 32GB of DDR5-4800 RAM and a 2TB PCIe M.2 SSD should be plenty good for getting some actual work done. (It ends up that work can benefit from multiple displays, too. Who knew?)
On Geekbench 5, the Duo earned a single-core score of 2,117 and a multi-core score of 19,446. That single-core score is ever-so-slightly ahead of the MSI Titan GT77 HX (Core i9-13950HX) and Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 (Intel Core i9-13980HX), while the Titan had the highest multi-core score at 20,602.
Asus’ laptop transferred 25GB of files at a rate of 1,947.37 MBps, beating the Scar 18 (1,885.81 MBps) but falling behind the Titan (2,299.26 MBps).
On Handbrake, in which we have laptops transcode a 4K video to 1080p, the Zephyrus Duo 16 finished the task in 2 minutes and 50 seconds, neck and neck with the Scar 18, though the Titan came in faster at 2:38.
Display and ScreenPad Plus on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
The highlights. the reasons for this entire laptop to exist. are the Zephyrus Duo 16’s two displays. The main one is a 16-inch mini LED 16:10 panel with a 2560 x 1600 resolution and a 240 Hz refresh rate. Asus refers to the mini LED panel as a Nebula HDR display, and it offers Dolby Vision support and is DisplayHDR 1000 certified.
The bottom screen, dubbed ScreenPad Plus, is held at an angle to make it appear as one display is under the other. It’s a 14.09-inch touchscreen with stylus support. It’s approximately half the height of a standard PC display — I wouldn’t be surprised to see a screen of this size in a car console.
The two look decently seamless, considering the fact that they aren’t physically attached. But the top display is matte, while the touchscreen is glossy, which breaks the illusion. I won’t lie, I got used to touching the bottom screen, and ended up touching the main display, which isn’t a touchscreen, a few times.
There are some oddities to get used to. For instance, the brightness keys on the keyboard adjust the main display, but not ScreenPad Plus. That is controlled by ScreenXpert, a touch-based piece of software that lives on the side of the bottom screen. That software also allows you to switch Windows between the two screens, minimize applications and quickly select apps. It doesn’t feel like part of Windows, but it works. I did get tripped up, however, when ScreenXpert required me to do something on the top screen, which meant switching back to the touchpad.
Is the screen useful? Yes, it is. I’m an advocate of more screen real estate. In my day-to-day work, it’s a useful place to stash chat apps like Slack and music players such as Spotify. I could do the same with Discord on the bottom and a game on top. Asus has made the suggestion of putting tracks for video or music editing on the bottom while doing other editing on top. I had to adjust window and font sizes to see some things clearly on the small screen, but it works.
If you don’t want to use that second screen, you can turn it off. It may be an easy way to save battery.
The main, mini LED screen looks great. I streamed the 4K trailer for The Flash on YouTube (more movie studios should upload trailers in 4K!), which is higher than the screen’s resolution, but it looked great. The trailer has plenty of bright objects in dark spots, like street lamps as the Hero rushes down the road, which are extremely bright. The many red and blue tinted scenes (with accompanying highlights) also looked excellent. Nevermind the numbers for a second — my eyes really love this screen.
It also made Control, a great-looking game, look its best. That game has a lot of reds (blood, rugs, special effects filters), which were all rich and vibrant. Bright whites and deep blacks helped a lot with the game’s moody lighting effects; not OLED deep, but pretty good.
But yeah, of course we have numbers. The main display covers 83.5% of the DCI-P3 gamut and 121% of the sRGB spectrum. While that’s less than the MSI Titan GT77 HX (114.5% and 162%, respectively), which uses the same mini LED technology, the Duo wins in brightness at an incredible 684 nits on our lightmeter. The Titan came in at 511 nits, while the Strix Scar measured 402 nits. None of those are bad, but that luminosity helps this screen look its best.
The ScreenPad doesn’t really compete with the main display. It topped out at 351 nits of brightness, and covered less of the gamut than the main display.
Keyboard and Touchpad on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
The keyboard and touchpad on the Zephyrus Duo are by far the worst parts of its design. They’re placed at the very end of the chassis, with no room for a wrist rest. (This has been a thing since Asus first introduced the Zephyrus Duo). The touchpad is immediately to the right of the keyboard (sorry, lefties). While that may be where most people keep an external mouse, it takes getting used to with a trackpad attached to a laptop.
Asus clearly knows this isn’t ideal, as it includes a rubberized wrist rest in the box. If you’re using the Zephyrus Duo 16 as a desktop replacement, that may be a decent solution. But if you’re taking it anywhere (and unlike the ROG Strix Scar 18, this is small enough to travel), remembering to schlep a wrist rest along is a bit of a pain.
The keyboard, which Asus claims has 1.7 mm of travel, is slightly stiff for my taste, but that’s not disqualifying. It didn’t cause any issues in my typing, and I hit 119 words per minute on the monkeytype.com typing test with a 97% accuracy rate, which is pretty standard for me.
It’s hard to get on board with the trackpad. It’s taller than it is wide, which I’m not used to on a laptop. And the clicking mechanism feels and even sounds cheap; it feels tacked on, and doesn’t stand up to the quality of the rest of the laptop. A small touch sensitive button turns on a touch-sensitive number pad, which is unnecessary because there’s a much better touch-based numpad that you can use onthe ScreenPad Plus. It works, but I’m not sure it’s at home on a gaming notebook.
Audio on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
Asus’ six-speaker system, with two tweeters and four woofers is plenty suitable, especially if you like your sound loud.
Chvrches’ “Over” easily filled my apartment with sound way before getting close to 100% volume. The drums were snappy, and the synths were clear, though some of the vocals sounded a bit more hollow than I expected.
When running Control, the system really pumped up the volume. I was fine with it below 60%. Protagonist Jesse Faden’s inner monologue was clear as day, and gunshots rang out with a pop.That being said, you might need to turn the volume up pretty high if you want to overcome the whirring of the Duo’s fans.
You can make adjustments to the Dolby Atmos speakers in the Dolby Access software that’s preinstalled on the laptop. It comes defaulted to music mode and a “balanced” EQ. I found the “detailed’ setting helped a bit with those vocals and made the drums even snappier.
Upgradeability of the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
There are 13 Torx screws between you and the inside of the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16. 12 of them are easily visible — I took care of them with a Torx T6 screwdriver head. The final screw is under a small rubbery pad in the center of the bottom casing. I used a flathead screwdriver to lift it (there’s some adhesive under it) and then switched back to the T6 to get the screw out.
Most of the screws are the same size, but the two closest to the rear ports and the one under the cover are longer, so keep them separate. The bottom right screw is captive, so it won’t come all the way out.
If you start from the natural gap that the captive screw makes, you won’t need to do much in the way of prying to get the bottom off. A few gentle nudges and I had the bottom case off in no time.
With the case off, you can easily access the battery, RAM, SSD and Wi-Fi card. The RAM sticks are stacked one on top of the other. The SSD has thick thermal pads above and below it. On our review unit, there was a second slot for you to add another SSD, as well as guidelines for where to add thermal pads.
The Wi-Fi card is beneath the stock SSD, so you’ll need to remove that if you want to replace that card.
While you can access the battery, it seems that Asus would prefer you didn’t. A sticker on the top-right of the 90 Wh battery reads “Do not disassemble” in all caps, and one of the screws holding it down is covered with a warning sticker.
Battery Life on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
Gaming laptops don’t have a reputation for great battery life, and that’s when they just have one screen. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Duo, with two displays, lasted just 3 hours and 23 seconds on our battery test, making it the laptop with the least endurance from our test pool.
Our battery test has laptops connect to Wi-Fi, stream video, run through websites and run OpenGL tests in the browser with the display set to 150 nits. With the secondary screen off, the Zephyrus climbed to 4:07. The Titan lasted 3:48, while the Strix Scar 18 ran for 4:26.
Heat on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
We took heat measurements on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 while running our Metro Exodus street test.
The center of the keyboard measured 35.2 degrees Celsius (95.36 degrees Fahrenheit). The keyboard and mouse, by being so far from the vents at the back of the laptop, manage to stay reasonably temperate.
On the bottom of the machine, the hottest part measured 54.6 C (130.28 F), which was at the very back of the device, near the exhaust. For gaming, keep this on a desk.
Webcam on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
The 1080p webcam on the Zephyrus Duo is actually decent. Even in a challenging lighting condition, it caught details in my face (like bags under tired eyes after a night I didn’t get much sleep) and the correct colors of my bright red hoodie and blue eyes. On the micro LED screen, some of these colors appeared exaggerated, but that wasn’t the case on other displays I viewed the camera output on.
The webcam also features IR sensors to support Windows Hello so you can sign in with facial recognition. I set this up and it worked smoothly throughout my time with the laptop.
Software and Warranty on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
There’s no shortage of preinstalled software on the ROG Zephyrus Duo.
The primary app is Armoury Crate, which shows component stats, fan speed, basic RGB lighting and a game library, among other things. Asus doubles down on RGB in the Aura Creator app, which lets you create more detailed lighting profiles. I wish Asus would combine these two pieces of software.
MyAsus is an easy place to check your warranty information and see customer support options, but it’s also bloated with promotions for Asus‘ partners.
Virtual Pet has made its way from some ROG gaming laptops that Asus’ AniMe Matrix displays on the outside of the lid. In this case, the virtual companion can’t do much, and largely just walks around the desktop (or stands still if turn off scrolling mode). There aren’t any games or activities to do with it.
The system also includes XSplit VCam, which can replace your background on video calls, but you’ll have to pay to remove a watermark from your image afterwards. This has an Nvidia GPU. give Nvidia Broadcast a try for free instead (or whatever is built into Zoom, Teams, etc).
Asus sells the ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 with a one-year warranty.
Configurations of the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16
We tested the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 in a 3,999.99 configuration with an AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 and a 2560 x 1600 mini LED display.
Another option keeps the same CPU, but drops the storage to 1TB, changes the display to standard LED, and a GeForce RTX 4080 for 3,499.99.
For all of the multi-taskers out there who need more screen space and don’t have an external monitor, the Zephyrus Duo 16 will check a lot of boxes. It’s pricey, yes, but it comes with premium components, a gorgeous display and strong speakers.
I do wish that Asus would come up with ways to make the keyboard and touchpad feel a bit more natural. It’s nice that the company includes a wrist rest, but it also feels like it’s admitting a flaw. You’ll want an external mouse and keyboard when you’re at your desk.
Your other options with top-end graphics that we’ve tested so far are bigger, 17 and 18-inch laptops. In our testing, we found those machines had RTX 4090s with higher clock speeds, but the Zephyrus can keep up if you boost it to its highest performance modes.
Two screens still feels like a niche for now. But with the improvements to Asus’ ScreenPad Plus software and better quality screens, those who want some more pixels have a straightforward recommendation.