When it comes to the pinnacle of today’s gaming laptops, ASUS ROG’s Zephyrus Duo line undoubtedly receives a lot of votes from gamers. In addition to being outfitted with the most cutting-edge hardware available, it also has a dual screen as a key feature that has everyone in awe of its durability and appreciation of its uniqueness. Top gamers only pay attention to “fancy” gaming equipment, therefore ROG’s dual-screen gaming notebook is the ideal example of this level. And after multiple versions, ROG improved and strengthened the Zephyrus Duo, and with the Duo 16 this year, it appears to be pushing the limits once again.

This time, ASUS has given us a review unit with an AMD Ryzen 9-6900HX processor that has 8 cores and 16 threads, Zen 3+ architecture, and a top clock speed of 4.9GHz, which is not at all inferior to the top i9 competitor. The GPU is always more crucial than the CPU to take into account when it comes to gaming laptops. This year’s NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti Mobile Edition is the star of the Zephyrus Duo 16. This is the mobile GPU that every gamer dreams of having—it has more CUDAs, up to 16GB of graphics RAM, and ROG support for up to 165W of TGP.

Hardware specs

Model Zephyrus Duo 16
CPU Up to AMD® Rembrandt R9 6900HX (45W) 8 Cores
GPU Up to NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti (140+25W) + MUX Switch
VRAM GDDR6 16GB (for highest GPU configs)
Main display
  • Option 1: 512 Zones MiniLED 16” 165Hz (3ms), 100% DCI-P3, 1100nits peak brightness, VESA Display HDR1000
  • Option 2: IPS FHD 165Hz panel, 500nits, 100% sRGB, 3ms
ScreenPad Plus display
  • Option 1: 14.09″ UHD 60Hz 30ms (sRGB 100%), 400nits, Touch Display
  • Option 2: 14.09″ FHD 60Hz 30ms (sRGB 100%), 400nits, Touch Display
Memory Up to 64GB Dual Channel DDR5 4800MHz (2 x SODIMM Slots)
Storage Up to 2 x 2TB SSD (PCIe 4.0 SSD M.2 Slots)
I/O port
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type A 
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C with DisplayPort (dGPU) and 100W Power Delivery
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C with DisplayPort (iGPU) 1 x HDMI 2.1 (dGPU)
  • Micro SD Card Reader / Audio combo jack / 2.5G LAN RJ-4
Audio
  • 6 Speakers
  • Dolby Atmos Support Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation Dual-force cancelling woofers Smart Amp
Battery 4-cell 90Whr
Power Adapter 280W

 

The iconic dual-display

The screen, as the name implies, is the most significant component of the Zephyrus Duo 16. In this generation, instead of the formerly available 4K 60Hz or 1080P with a high refresh rate, this model has been replaced with a basic 16-inch 2K165Hz screen, which is a very wise decision. Due to the limited size of screens on a laptop, using 4K resolution would not really offer users an excellent experience, but will instead place unneeded strain on the system hardware.

Aside from the resolution and fast refresh rate, the most notable feature of the Duo 16 screen is that it employs mini-LED technology, with 512 backlight divisions and a peak brightness of 1100nit. It also supports DisplayHDR 1000 and Dolby Vision, making it a rather high-end panel in today’s laptops.

This primary screen has exceptional quality; with a wide colour gamut and extremely high maximum brightness, it is an ideal productivity tool for creating image and video content. The finer image given by 2K resolution will be more startling than Full HD, not to mention the 165Hz and 3ms response time, which will make the gaming experience more pleasant and immersive. This Nebula screen’s performance is unquestionably the greatest in the first category.

ROG’s secondary screen design on Zephyrus Duo 16 is now pretty mature after repeated development and optimisation. The secondary screen’s viewing angle is now more natural and closer to the main screen thanks to the innovative 4-way hinge design. There is a greater area for airflow to enter the laptop due to the higher secondary screen, which greatly improves heat dissipation performance. Furthermore, because of its creative idea, the Zephyrus Duo 16 managed to retain a thickness of roughly 20mm.

The secondary screen’s specifications are equally high-end, with a 14.1-inch 3840*1100 resolution. The clarity, colour, and angles are fantastic. However, there are several clear drawbacks to using this extra screen from my point of view. The matte surface coating renders the screen very vulnerable to fingerprints and oil stains. If you are obsessed with cleanliness, using this additional screen may be difficult and you will need to frequently clean it with a cloth.

In addition to some games that support it, Adobe’s Photoshop and Premiere Pro incorporate virtual shortcut buttons and knobs on this secondary screen. These extra display sections can assist users to increase their work productivity even further.

Design

Most of the top gaming laptops of this sort will utilise exaggerated form designs to emphasise their distinctions. These are undoubtedly elements that high-end gamers will appreciate, but the Zephyrus Duo 16’s relative restrained design language is an advantage. Such a design may attract professionals that require high processing performance but do not frequently play big titles. For example, UI designers and Youtube influencers need access to a powerhouse for content creation in high resolution and frame rates. 

Zephyrus Duo 16 adds an ornamental glass panel between the secondary screen and the keyboard, and the transparent panel lets gamers see the motherboard’s slogan directly. The whole ambience is improved by RGB lighting. The keyboard and touchpad are located beneath the decorative area, parallel to one another. While we would like to see more products come with unique designs, it may unexpectedly cause inconvenience. Because the touchpad is vertically placed on Zephyrus Duo 16, the area is rather limited, making it unsuitable for long-term usage. The layout design of the keyboard and trackpad takes up the original palm rest area, which makes

it almost a certainty to feel uncomfortable during use. Thankfully, ROG included an additional palm rest in the package.

Performance

As one of the best gaming laptops on the market, ROG has crammed practically all of the most powerful technology available in the Zephyrus Duo 16, with the GPU taking centre stage. It has NVIDIA’s newest RTX 3080 Ti mobile GPU and specs that are difficult to match on gaming laptops. NVIDIA Ampere architecture, 7424 CUDA, 16GB GDDR6 VRAM, and so forth. Even with desktop PCs, these specifications are high-end fanatics.

Thermal performance was one of the things that drew my attention before evaluating the Zephyrus Duo 16. The major reason for this is that this gaming laptop has such strong hardware despite its low overall thickness. My focus has inevitably shifted to whether it has the required cooling performance. 

I can plainly sense the Zephyrus Duo 16’s capacity to handle heat dissipation in the actual gaming test. Among the games that I play regularly, such as Forza 5, Final Fantasy XIV, and Elden Ring, the temperature of this mobile 3080-Ti was always kept below 70 degrees, even when all graphical effects are set to the maximum (with Ray Tracing and DLSS turned on).

Battery life

Zephyrus Duo 16 packs a 4-cell 90 Whr battery. Here is a quick run-down of a test result throughout my use:

Native video playback 1080p 6 hours 28mins
Gaming with the highest graphics settings 1 hour 35mins
Light Internet use (chatting, browsing etc) 7 hours 10mins
Writing tasks (multiple sessions)  8 hours 45mins

* Brightness and volume set to 60%, secondary screen enabled, WiFi connected.

For the performance it can deliver, the battery’s overall performance is actually rather good. Although it did not appear to be a remarkable standout, given that the Duo 16 has a secondary screen that its competitors do not, such test results are nonetheless respectable.

Target audience

It is evident that this Zephyrus Duo 16 outperforms all of its current competition. Its unrivalled graphics performance, great craftsmanship, and amazing cooling make it a gaming enthusiast’s dream computer. In addition to gaming, the top-tier CPU and GPU for mobile platforms allow this monster to effortlessly undertake video editing and processing jobs.

At the moment, ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 GX650RX (3080 Ti) is available for purchase at Centre Com, PLE Computers, Scorptec, Rosman Computers, mwave.com.au and JW Computers for $5,999. 

This pricing does not appear to be geared toward average customers. There shouldn’t be many individuals in my vicinity that are prepared to pay nearly $6,000 for a gaming laptop. People are going to be held back by one of them, the current financial level or the lady at home. 

Having said that, if you want the best performance and money isn’t your main concern, I would strongly recommend purchasing this machine over rival brands. There are now just a handful of items on the market, outside the Zephyrus Duo 16, that are also outfitted with the 3080 Ti graphics card. However, even the most affordable one starts at $4,999 and does not have a secondary display like Duo 16.

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