The ZenBook Pro Duo UX581GV has more screens and power than you can shake a stick at. Is it the perfect portable music machine?
This laptop is a sight to behold. You know this is going to be an impressive experience when you unfold the lid and feel the quality of the movement as a slight overhang rotates about the hinge to push the rear up into a comfortable typing angle. The half-screen/half-keyboard arrangement with trackpad placed to the side seems odd at first — but then a screen and a half of 4k UHD OLED desktop beams at you in a gazillion colours, and an involuntary ‘wow’ passes your lips. This is one good–looking machine.
And a quick glance at the ‘Specifications’ box will show you that it’s more than just a pretty face. Current performance benchmarks put it ahead of all current i7 desktop processors and seventh-generation i9 processors. That’s a bit quick for a mobile platform. It also has 45W of TDP heat to get rid of and needs a decent cooling system, which accounts for its reassuringly chunky form.
The keyboard is backlit and has a good feel. Having the trackpad over to the right feels quite natural once you get used to it — assuming you are not a lefty. You also get a digital pen and the most enormous power brick I’ve seen in a long time. This computer is weighty in your hands and solid on the desk. This is not a whip–it–out–on–the–train type of laptop; this wants to sit on a perfectly curated, Instagrammable desk, surrounded by pot plants and a cafetière of artisan coffee.
Out of the box, the Windows 10 installation is unfussy, with only an annoying MyAsus app causing any interruptions. The Resplendence.com LatencyMon software stayed green and pleasingly low for a while, but over time would hit a peak and be declared unfit for real-time audio applications. This is the sort of thing that can usually be cured with a bit of system and power tweaking.
Using the onboard Realtek–based audio...