Gaming laptops are like sports cars, you don’t necessarily need them but those who want it will have them no matter how expensive they are. While reviewing the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE, I had a similar feeling. Starting at Rs 3,00,000, the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE not only caters to hardcore PC gamers but also targets content creators and YouTubers. Yes, powered by AMD’s new Ryzen 5000 mobile processors and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs. Howevery, its one special thing is that in ROG Zephyrus Duo you will get the option of Dual Screen. But while some might call it a niche product, the fact is there are takers for premium gaming notebooks in India.
In this review, I am going to share with you my experience of using the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE and what you would get by paying for a notebook that costs a year’s salary for a young trainee.
ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 Specification
- Display: 15.60-inch
- SSD: 512GB
- Processor: Intel Core i7
- RAM: 32GB
- Operating Syatem (OS): Windows 11
- Touchscreen: YES
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE review: Design and aesthetics
Even though this is a ROG-branded (Asus’ line of gaming notebooks and smartphones) laptop, the Zephyrus Duo is identical to the ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED, the gusty notebook I reviewed recently. But there are cosmetic changes between the laptops — the latter one is targeted at pro-level consumers.
Anyway, the ROG Zephyrus Duo has a matte black chassis with tempered edges, while the lid is covered with a dot matrix pattern alongside the ROG logo. If you look at Asus’ recently released gaming laptops, the design language has started to appear more subtle in favour of ultra-aggressive styling.
The notebook is still on the heavier side, weighing in at 2.48 kg. I must say the gaming notebooks of today look and feel a lot lighter. The Zephyrus may be heavy but it fits in the usual work backpack designed for 15-inch and above laptops.
Mind you, this is a desktop-level laptop so even if it is a bit heavy, the form factor makes a lot of sense. I don’t mind taking this laptop to launch events to file stories from the venue. It still looks professional yet it has the wild side to it, which will appeal to gamers.
Open up the notebook and you’ll see a secondary screen – or the ScreenPad Plus. The display has a purpose and a lot of thought has gone into designing the ScreenPad Plus. The 14.1-inch wide, 3840 x 1100 pixel touchscreen dominates half of the keyboard deck. So when you open the lid, the secondary display lifts up and tilts toward you at a 13-degree angle.
As I said, it’s not fixed and instead raised a bit to provide a better viewing angle. The idea is to provide improved airflow, although I see top-mounted speakers underneath the ScreenPad and not grills for air. I must say Asus could have trimmed the side bezels of the secondary screen. This would have created additional space for the keyboard, which now feels cramped.
Connectivity-wise, you have got two USB-A 3.2 gen 2 ports and a USB-C 3.2 gen 2 port for driving external displays and charging on the right. On the right, there’s a microSD card reader, a 3.5mm combo audio jack, along with Asus’ proprietary power port. The laptop also comes with an Ethernet port, a full-sized HDMI port. Plus, the ROG Zephyrus Duo also supports Wi-fi 6 as well as Bluetooth 5.2.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE review: Display and keyboard
The primary screen here is 15.6-inches with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels but has a smooth 300Hz refresh rate. The full HD display is sharp for gaming and anything else. The display is pretty good, and photos, websites, streamed content and YouTube videos look great. I am not too sure whether graphics designers and video editors will appreciate this display, but since they care about the wider Adobe RGB colour gamut and DCI-P3, I suggest they choose the latest ZenBook Pro Duo over the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE. There’s no webcam, which is a bit puzzling at a time when everyone is increasingly dependent on remote work.
The keyboard of course sports RGB lighting, something one should expect from a gaming notebook. But the layout of the keyboard and the touchpad is a bit controversial in my opinion. Because the ScreenPad Plus occupies a large portion of the deck, Asus was left with no choice but to somehow fit the keyboard.
This resulted in a keyboard that feels squeezed and crammed. Though I never had trouble typing on the keyboard, the lack of space to rest down your wrist as you type annoyed me a lot. Ditto for the touchpad, which is vertically aligned. The touchpad, located on the right, is responsive but sometimes navigation can be an issue. The tiny touchpad doubles as a number pad with a long press on the top left corner. It is actually useful in certain games, especially when playing Overwatch.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE review: Should you buy it?
I know choosing a laptop, especially a gaming laptop, is getting hard these days. But the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE isn’t for those who spend their money consciously. This notebook is for those who want the best one, and who have surplus money to splurge on Louis Vuitton bags and the ROG Zephyrus Duo without a second thought.