Asus Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550
- Unique dual-screen design
- Powerful gaming laptop
- Cooling is great
The Not So Good
- No webcam
- Needs deep pockets
When it comes to gaming setups, there’s nothing like too much. From the powerful rigs to the numerous monitors and even the obligatory multi-coloured LED lights – this setup is pretty much the standard. However, when it comes to the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, there’s nothing standard about this gaming giant as it is all the above in one – oh, it’s portable too since its a laptop.
The Zephyrus Duo 15 is the latest from the Asus gaming division, ROG (Republic of Gamers for those of you who just opened the article out of boredom) and it does pack some hi-tech stuff starting with the whole design making it look like something off a sci-fi movie starring Dwayne Johnson. Before we get down to everything else, let’s start with the specifications:
|Display||15.6-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) LED 60Hz|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-10875H|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDDR6|
|RAM||16GB LPDDR4 (3200MHz)|
|Storage||1TB SSD (PCIe, NVMe, M.2)|
|Ports||3.5mm headphone jack, USB 3.2 (3x), USB-C (1), Ethernet, HDMI|
|Connectivity||Intel Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5|
|Keyboard||Backlit RGB chiclet style|
The Design – Army grade body and extra AF
The overall design of the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550 (that’s a mouthful, let’s shorten that to just Zephyrus Duo 15) is nothing short of eye-catching. The design is reminiscent of traditional gaming laptops that tend to have lots of corners, weird lines and lots of RGB lighting. Despite running with this tradition, the Zephyrus Duo 15 takes things a little bit slower and tones down the whole aspect.
There are no hard corners, randomly placed red accents or unnecessary lights around the laptop but there’s no confusing this with a traditional clamshell laptop and that’s where the extraness comes in. Once you open the lid, you are greeted with two amazing displays and a Christmas lights show on the keyboard.
The keyboard deserves its own paragraph. It’s a standard backlit keyboard but the backlight, in this case, is a show of wonder. There are several lighting modes within the Aura Sync app that lets you pick different transitions for the keyboard backlight. From static to depicting rain showers or if that’s not your cup of tea, you could have them off altogether.
Yup, there are two displays on the Zephyrus Duo 15 or what did you think the “Duo” in the name stood for? There’s the main 15.6″ display that comes in a 4k resolution with 60Hz refresh rate. The second touch-screen display sits on the chassis neighboured by the keyboard and unlike previous Asus Duo laptops, the Zephyrus Duo 15’s ScreenPad Plus display tilts upwards at a 13° angle to make it less awkward while using it.
The slight tilt gives the Zephyrus Duo 15 a very futuristic look and makes it easier to view what’s on the display even when the laptop is flat on a desk. Why a second display you ask? Well, for gamers, the secondary display can be used to set up your team chat tabs, streams and even performance stats. Those that stream their gaming, can use the ScreenPad Plus to monitor their feed and also host the broadcast controls. However, creators can also take advantage of the powerful Zephyrus Duo 15 to create kick-ass content and use the secondary display for editing tools or to place your timeline tab.
The Gaming Experience – Noisy but powerful
From the spec sheet above, you already know that the Zephyrus Duo 15 is a beast when it comes to packing power. The model we reviewed featured a “subtle” 10th gen Intel Core i7 10875H processor, GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card with 8GB of dedicated memory, 16GB of RAM and a whopping 1TB of internal storage.
Yes, it was overkill and very few people will be able to afford it in these exact specifications but if you’re curious there’s a more powerful i9 model with 32GB of RAM!
When it comes to gaming, our review unit was able to handle everything we threw at it. Playing FIFA, CoD Warzone and even GTA was smooth, with high frame rates (our maximum was 130 fps) without a dip in quality and even when we pushed things to the max, the fall in fps wasn’t that bad and neither was there lags.
You don’t have to take our word for it (which doesn’t make sense why you’re reading a review) we did run some benchmarks and got an average score of 1182 on the single-core test and 6325 in the multi-core test in GeekBench, which is significantly less than you’d get with the Core i9 model at 1343 and 8153 respectively.
In terms of heat dissipation, the Zephyrus Duo 15 did impressively well. The liquid metal cooling, numerous self-cleaning fans and impressive software assist did a good job at keeping the machine cool even in hardcore gameplay. However, the fans would get a little bit noisy, especially in the Turbo mode – not too loud to be distracting but loud enough for you to notice.
Areas of Improvement – Not a bed of roses
While we have showered praises at the Zephyrus, there are a few things that Asus really needs to work on. For instance, the trackpad isn’t exactly the best. Yes, we get it that because of the dual-screen, things had to be moved around but I would rather they split the keyboard into two and leave the trackpad centred. No? That’s just me? Okay!
Secondly, there are numerous ports on the laptop, including an RJ45 ethernet port, HDMI port and thunderbolt powered USB-C ports as well as traditional USB ports, however, as much as Asus says that they are targeting creators with the Zephyrus Duo 15, there’s no SD card reader which a lot of creators rely on. Or how are we supposed to transfer footage?
The third is the downward-firing speakers. Yes, they are loud-ish and considering a lot of gamers use headphones anyway, it seems like a compromise Asus would make without any backlash but having solid speakers on a laptop at this price point should have been a priority as well.
Also, there’s just a lot of pre-installed software that it’s going to become a nuisance to the calibre of users Asus aims to attract with the Zephyrus Duo 15. We get it, some of the apps installed help give users access to Asus software but who needs MacAfee Antivirus in 2020? ?
Lastly, there’s no webcam. In 2020! With Zoom calls and Coronavirus. Donge crazy?
Conclusion – Worth it?
Well, the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550 is a very powerful and interesting gaming laptop – that’s it, that’s the conclusion.
Seriously though, if you decide to spend your money on the Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550, you will not regret it. The shortcomings are negligible and gamers will bow at the power that you can squeeze out of a laptop this size. However, keep in mind, you will need to first afford it!