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Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 Review: Unique Gaming Luxury

From a gaming enthusiast’s perspective, the secondary screen can be a godsend. Instead of apps like Discord and YouTube taking up screen real space or running in minimized view, they can be pushed down to the lower screen where your chats and music are always in your view. Plus, they also save you the hassle of missing out on important notifications from apps like WhatsApp, Slack, and Teams, among others.

The ScreenPad Plus is a full-fledged secondary screen that can handle every software that a regular laptop screen is capable of accomplishing, as long as you can live with the cramped UI elements. For example, communication apps, system settings, and productivity tools like Docs look fine. But if you fire up something like Adobe Photoshop, it would be nigh impossible to have a productive experience.

Asus worked with Adobe to push some of Photoshop’s core editing controls down to the secondary display, leaving more screen real estate for the actual editing canvas. Asus also offers support for apps like Lightroom Classic, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Illustrator. One can argue that Asus could have done better, but just the fact that Asus walked the extra mile to create something unique for demanding apps for creators is worth applauding.

Alongside the secondary screen’s left edge is a vertical control panel, which can be made to float or even disappear on its own when there is no screen activity going on. It offers quick access to controls like brightness adjustment, moving the app windows between each screen with a single click, and bringing up a virtual keyboard.

You can also turn the secondary screen into the biggest touchpad you’ll ever come across. In the touchpad mode, the secondary screen supports all the multi-finger gestures that a regular laptop touchpad is capable of. I expected it to be a bit janky, but the experience is surprisingly smooth and reliable. This feature is also a lifesaver, especially if the tiny vertical touchpad on the keyboard deck is giving you cramped nightmares.

Of course, having a giant inclined touchpad above the key area is not the most ergonomic design choice, but it’s still a means to an end. Or, at least partially. Another neat convenience is that with the tap of an on-screen icon, you can pull up a transparent 5×4 numeric pad grid on the screen. When it’s active, the touch response for the app running in the background is disabled.

I absolutely love the thought process and the attention to detail that went into making the secondary screen as productive as possible. I was initially skeptical and thought of the ScreenPad Plus as nothing more than a gimmick, but it has had a dramatic impact on my productivity. The ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is a gaming laptop at its heart, but it’s also one of the most versatile laptops with a truly meaningful innovation that I’ve ever used.

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