Workflow optimisation has become a necessity in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, and the easiest way to solve this problem with a traditional desktop is by having a second screen/monitor. Asus has opted to reinvent the notebook with the ZenBook Pro Duo, by incorporating a second screen to keep work performance high and multitasking a priority; all with the convenience of taking the machine where you need to go.
Finish / Color: Celestial BlueOperating System: Windows 10 ProProcessor: Intel® Core™ i9-9980HK processor, 2.4GHz octa-core with Turbo Boost (up to 5.0GHz) and 16MB cache Graphics Card: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060Video memory: 6GB GDDR6 VRAMDisplay: 15.6” OLED 4K (3840 x 2160) 16:9 touchscreen5mm-thin bezel with 89% screen-to-body ratio
178° wide-view technology
Memory: 8GB / 16GB / 32GB 2666MHz DDR4Storage: 1TB NVMeInterfaces: 1 x Thunderbolt™ 3 USB-C™ (up to 40Gbps and DisplayPort), 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A (up to 10Gbps), 1 x Standard HDMI 2.0, 1 x Audio combo jack, 1 x DC-inKeyboard: Full-size backlit with 1.4mm key travelScreenPad Plus: 14” 4K UHD (3840 x 1100) touch display, 178˚ wide-view technologyTouchPad: Precision touchpad (PTP) technology supports up to four-finger smart gesturesNumberPad: Integrated LED-backlit numeric keypad on touchpadAudio: ASUS SonicMaster stereo audio system with surround-sound; smart amplifier for maximum audio performance, Array microphone with Cortana and Alexa voice-recognition support, 3.5mm headphone jack, Long-travel voice coils for improved low-frequency response, Certified by Harman KardonCamera: IR webcam with Windows Hello supportWireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Intel Wi-Fi 6 with Gig+ performance (802.11ax)Bluetooth®: Bluetooth 5.0Battery and Power: 71Wh 8-cell rechargeable Li-Polymer battery pack, 230W power adapterPlug Type: ø6 (mm)Output: 19.5V DC, 11.8A, 230W), (Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal)Weight and Dimensions:Height: 2.4cm (0.94 inches)
Width: 35.9cm (14.13 inches)
Depth: 24.6cm (9.68 inches)
Weight: 2.5kg (5.51 pounds)
Included in the Box: ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581), Discrete palm rest, ASUS PenIncluded Software: ASUS Number Key, ASUS Handwriting, ASUS Quick Key, ASUS Battery Health Charging, ASUS AppDeals
Design and Features:
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo take its inspiration “from the future” and that theme is recognisable from the moment you take out of the box. The aluminium frame gives the notebook a sturdy feeling, and the pristine spun-metal finish gives it that premium feeling. The Celestial Blue colour scheme adds a feeling of innovation, and truly represents the “futuristic” feeling that Asus takes inspiration from.
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo take its inspiration “from the future” and that theme is recognisable from the moment you take out of the box
Upon opening the ZenBook Pro Duo, you are greeted with an immaculate 15.6” 4K OLED, Pantone-certified main display, along with a 14-inch 3840 x 1100 second display placed above the keyboard, both of which are touch-capable. The keyboard has been brought all the way down to the bottom of the notebook to make as room as possible for the touch screen above, and the tracking pad has been moved to the right side of the keyboard, doubling as a full NUM-pad.
The ZenBook Pro Duo is equipped with an Intel Core i9 eight-core processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card for powerful rendering, a 1TB NVMe drive to speed up workloads, and 32GB of DDR4 2666MHz RAM. For connectivity, the ZenBook Pro Duo comes equipped with a single HDMI port, Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, and two USB Gen 3.1 Gen 2 slots. Lastly, the Pro Duo also features Alexa integration, which you can use to make your day a smidge more convenient, as well as a sound solution that has been tuned by Harman/Kardon.
The ZenBook Pro Duo is equipped with an Intel Core i9 eight-core processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card for powerful rendering, a 1TB NVMe drive to speed up workloads, and 32GB of DDR4 2666MHz RAM
The ZenBook Pro Duo streamlines multitasking and work performance tasks thanks to the two screens on offer. The main 4K OLED HDR panel makes colour accurate design work easier to achieve, offering beautiful video and vivid imagery. When editing, using the second screen as the editing table, and the main display as the video, gave us an enhanced editing experience, and the touch functionality of both panels made navigation easier and more immersive.
The ScreenPad Plus allows any programme to be shifted into it, sharing the screen pace in an unorthodox take of the multi-monitor setup. This makes any creative tasks such as 3D animation or video editing a breeze, by giving you more room to work with. Due to the inclusion of the RTX 2060, gaming can also be achieved on the ZenBook Pro Duo, with the ScreenPad Plus doubling as a stream deck for you to control and live-monitor your stream. The ease of switching between apps thanks to the ScreenPad Plus was as simple as a few touches of the screen, effortlessly moving between Spotify and work programmes.
The ScreenPad Plus allows any programme to be shifted into it, sharing the screen pace in an unorthodox take of the multi-monitor setup. This makes any creative tasks such as 3D animation or video editing a breeze, by giving you more room to work with
The Second Screen has an easy-to-navigate menu, called the Launcher, which you will be tutorialised with when first powering the laptop on. The Launcher is used to effortlessly navigate between multiple apps, and is customisable to tailor to your preference. Another method of control for the Second Screen is the Action Menu, which allows you navigate apps to be split between the two screens, or solely on the ScreenPad Plus.
Of course, with all this comes excellent and powerful computing systems, thanks to the 9th Gen, eight-core i9 CPU from Intel, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GFX, 32GB RAM, and 1Tb NVMe drive, all working together to bring seamless multitasking in work performance tasks, as well as gaming. The combination of powerful gaming and work-centric components offers better numbers in synthetic benchmarks compared to its competitors, and makes the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo a much more formidable and versatile machine.
Sadly, this does lead to a pretty hefty impact on the battery life of the ZenBook Pro Duo. This wasn’t too surprising, to be honest, as this is a pretty beefy system that the internal 71-watt-hour battery has to power. Our battery testing came in at roughly 2 hours playing a 1080p film at full brightness, and work performance tasks took a dip when using Power Saving Mode, and only lasted about an hour. Unfortunately, this is the trade-off when you have a powerful rendering desktop in a convenient notebook.
The combination of powerful gaming and work-centric components offers better numbers in synthetic benchmarks compared to its competitors, and makes the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo a much more formidable and versatile machine
Overall, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is a powerhouse of a notebook, and probably one of the best notebooks you could choose a creative professional. The addition of gaming and work performance components provides a stellar balance of both, and doesn’t compromise on the performance of either. The ScreenPad Plus is an innovation in multi-monitor workloads in a portable device. The only let down here for us was the battery life, but that is to be expected.
A new patent regarding the PS5 controller has been submitted on the Japanese office, showing subtle changes in the PS5 gamepad, including the removal of the light bar.
READ MORE: PlayStation 5 Concept Video Reveals Specualted Console And Controller Designs
The next-generation console controller seems to opt for a larger trackpad, smaller thumbsticks, bigger triggers, and a USB port - we are unsure what type at the time of writing. Tech publication, Wired, recently got hands-on with the new system, and the prototype controller set to come with the next-gen platform, which they described similarly to the patent itself.
Wired described the new controller as being “an awful lot like the PS4’s DualShock 4”, with the biggest difference being the “Adaptive Triggers” which will reportedly offer greater feedback through the triggers themselves. Wired also spoke to Mark Cerny, lead architect for the PS4, who also explained that the triggers will offer different feedback in games with bow and arrow in terms of drawing and pulling back, as well as FPS where each weapon type will feel different to pull the trigger on.
The PlayStation 5 is set to launch in Holiday 2020.
MSi are one of the biggest names in motherboards and graphics cards, and even their CPU cooling solutions, but few know them for their cases. We got our hands on of the higher-end premium desktop cases from MSi, the Sekira 500G, and it's a showcase as to why a high-end PC case matters - and why MSi is where you should look.
I/O PORTS: 4 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A / 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C / 1 x HD Audio / 1 x MicDRIVER BAYS: 6 x 3.5" (compatible with 2.5") + 3 x 2.5"CASE EXPANSION SLOTS: 8+2MAXIMUM GPU LENGTH: 400mmMAXIMUM CPU COOLER LENGTH: 170mmPOWER SUPPLY: Standard ATXCOOLING LAYOUT: Front: Up to 3 x 120mm / 3 x 140mm / 2 x 200mmTop: Up to 3 x 120mm / 2 x 140mm / 2 x 200mm
Rear: Up to 1 x 120mm / 1 x 140mm
PRE-INSTALL FAN: Front: 2 x 200mm System Fans includedRear: 1 x 120mm System Fan included
RADIATOR LAYOUT: Front: up to 280mmTop :up to 360mm
FORM FACTOR: Mid-TowerSUPPORT MB FORM FACTOR: E-ATX / ATX / mATX / Mini-ITXDIMENSION: 530(D) x 232(W) x 545.5(H) mm WEIGHT: 19.8 KG
Design and Features:
First impressions of the MSi Sekira 500G out of the box are that of grandeur and opulence, with a brushed aluminium finish with a rose gold trim around the edges of the case, and a golden MSi logo in the front. Another noticeable feature is just how much space you have in the interior, opened by a tool-less tempered glass panel on each side.
The front panel is also built on a swivel to allow easy access to the fans, making mounting and removal easier. MSi has included venting on the top and front panel, to allow air to pass through the case and into the chassis itself, as the front and top panel are solid rather than mesh. Rubber feet are added to the bottom to ensure the case stays firmly wherever you place it.
When looking inside, we see the motherboard tray, able to fit EATX motherboards and smaller, along with a host of hard drive cages, as well as a PSU shroud. At the rear, we have traditional PCIe expansion slots, a rear fan, as well as a vertical graphics card mounting mechanism.
The MSi Sekira 500G is a rather open and spacious cabin for you to work in, without needing to bend and twist your arms and hands in unfathomable ways. Opening the panels, you are met two 200mm fans in the front of the case - other models may vary - and a single 120mm fan at the rear. Both the left and right side panel are placed on a swinging hinge, with a handle for grip, and held down by magnets. Unfortunately, the handles do detract from the flush aesthetic, and making them smaller would have helped a lot. As we said, both panels are tempered glass, and while this may be down to personal preference, but being able to see cables - as the glass is not tinted - takes even more away from the spectacular aesthetic of the case.
The MSi Sekira 500G offers support for a 360mm radiator at the top of the case, 280mm at the front, and a 140mm rad at the rear. For airflow fans - ha, get it? - you have space for two 200mm fans or three 140/120mm fans at the front, two 200/140mm fans at the top or three 120mm fans, and one 120/140mm fans at the rear, which is still a fantastic amount of air cooling. While testing we used a single 240mm radiator at the top, a single 120mm fan at the rear, and three 120mm fans at the front.
Thankfully, MSi has recognised the challenges with radiator installation, and how frustrating it can be to attach a radiator to the case, only to realise you mounted a cable wrong, and now you need to remove it and reattach it. MSi has included a modular radiator mounting bracket, making installation and removal that much more convenient. Modular mounting brackets are becoming more popular in cases these days, and it's great to see MSi embrace this service.
MSi has included a modular radiator mounting bracket, making installation and removal that much more convenient.
Unfortunately, the case falters on one key aspect, which is airflow. While the popularity of solid front and top panels is rising, using side ventilation as the primary source of air coming in, it is a severe restriction on how air can pass through - imagine a tunnel that supported eight lanes of traffic, being diverted into two. While MSi has given roughly 35mm in clearing in all of their ventilation ports, which is larger than most, it still limits how much air the front fans can suck in. This extends to the top of the case, where hot air is not extracted as efficiently as it could be, leaving more than optimal levels of hot air inside the case, or circling around. The solid front and top panels do look phenomenal with the brushed aluminium finish, but it just isn't practical.
In saying that, we found no other issues with case, and were thoroughly impressed with the rigidity of the vertical graphics card mounting, which also adds a unique look to any build. This extends to the case all around, as the build quality was impeccable.
Expecting users to flood the case with storage, the Sekira 500G offers six 3.5” drive bays which can support 2.5” drives, as well as three dedicated 2.5” drive bays. As the case is built to be paired with the MSi X570 MEG ACE, it needs to offer as much storage solutions as possible, which they have achieved, and then some. However, we would much rather have more spaces, because we could realistically work on six drives at the same time, which made productivity monumentally better.
Overall, the MSi Sekira 500G is a sensational chassis, offering great cooling support, plenty of storage, and an opulent aesthetic. However, the air flow issue is concerning, and would be better off with traditional ventilation. Though, that vertical GPU mount must just make it worth it.
I say it time and time again; a good monitor is integral to any gaming experience. While gaming monitors have come a long way since the days of 1080p 60Hz, we aren't quite at perfection just yet. A perfect example of this is the MSi MPG27CQ gaming monitor.
PANEL SIZE: 27" (69cm)PANEL RESOLUTION: 2560 x 1440REFRESH RATE: 144HzRESPONSE TIME: 1msPANEL TYPE: VABRIGHTNESS (NITS): 400 cd / m2VIEWING ANGLE: 178°ASPECT RATIO: 16:9CURVATURE: 1800RCONTRAST RATIO: 3000:1DCR: 100000000:1ACTIVE DISPLAY AREA (MM): 596.736 (H) x 335.664 (V)PIXEL PITCH (H X V): 0.2331 (H) x 0.2331 (V)SURFACE TREATMENT: Anti-glare DISPLAY COLORS: 16.7 millionDCI-P3 / SRGB: 90% / 115%VIDEO PORTS: 1 x DP(1.2)2 x HDMI(2.0)
USB PORTS: 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type A1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type B (PC to monitor)
AUDIO PORTS: 1 x Headphone out1 x Mic in
1 x Audio combo jack (PC to monitor)
KENSINGTON LOCK: YesVESA MOUNTING: 100 mm x 100 mmCONTROL: 5-way OSD navigation joystickPOWER TYPE: External Adaptor 20V 4.5APOWER INPUT: 100~240V, 50~60HzPOWER CONSUMPTION: 90WSIGNAL FREQUENCY: 70.56 to 214.56KHz(H)48 to 144Hz(V)
ADJUSTMENT (TILT): -5° ~ 20°ADJUSTMENT (SWIVEL): -40° ~ 40°ADJUSTMENT (HEIGHT): 0 ~ 120 mmDIMENSION (W X H X D): 612mm x 555.8mm x 379.3mmWEIGHT (NW / GW): 7.6kg / 10.6kgNOTE: Display Port: 2560 x 1440 (Up to 144Hz)HDMI: 2560 x 1440 (Up to 144Hz)
The color gamut follows the CIE 1976 testing standard.
Design and Features:
The MSi Optix MPG27CQ features a 27” screen, sporting a 2560 x 1440p, 144Hz VA panel, with an 1800R curvature. The panel itself is, as we said, a VA panel type, with a 1ms response time, 400 cd/m2 nits of brightness, a viewing angle of 178 degrees, as well as a 3000:1 contrast ratio.
The monitor has a sturdy build quality, with an almost bezel-less viewing experience, as well as brushed aluminium finish on the thicker bottom bezel. The three-pronged stand and thick supporting arm ensures that there is no wobble, and provides an edgy aesthetic overall. At the rear, we have a plastic moulded custom design cutting diagonally through the centre, with a brushed aluminium-finish plate just above that. To the bottom left of the rear, is the 5-way OSD joystick, while the connections are found at the bottom right. Finally, we have the five-part RGB LED strip at the bottom, which links to the SteelSeries GameSense integration, as well as the RGB lighting zone at the rear for ambience.
The MSi Optix MPG27CQ offers a single DisplayPort connection, as well as two HDMI 2.0 connections, alongside two USB 3.1Gen1 Type A and 1 USB 3.1 Gen1 Type B connections. For audio, there is a single 3.5mm headphone out port, a single Mic in, as well as an audio combo jack.
The Optix MPG27CQ has the perfect size-to-resolution ratio, as anything bigger than 27” requires you to move more than 1.5-2 metres from your screen, which is further than most standard set-ups. Combining the impeccably well sized 27” screen with the deep 1800R curvature of the panel, gives you an impressively immersive experience. The Optix MPG27CQ not only creates a fantastic gaming experience through the curved panel design, but it actively reduces eye strain, giving us a tonne more game time per session.
The 144Hz, 1ms response time of the monitor made competitive gaming a breeze, as well as bringing fluidity to non-competitive titles. The refresh rate is variable with AMD's FreeSync, and is also compatible with Nvidia’s G-SYNC, offering a practically tear-free gaming experience. There was no noticeable blur behind fast-moving objects on-screen, and thanks to the flicker-free backlight, our eyes were not destroyed after extended play times. The QHD resolution made any 1440p content displayed look crisp and clear, while preventing any blur or pixelation in 1080p content. The excellent contrast ratio gave us deep blacks but we felt that the addition of local dimming could’ve made it even better, as there was some evidence of light bleeding and clouding. However, this was only truly noticeable in really dark rooms, so a well-lit environment will nullify this.
There was no noticeable blur behind fast-moving objects on-screen, and thanks to the flicker-free backlight, our eyes were not destroyed after extended play times.
The colour gamut in the Optix MPG27CQ is excellent, with a 115% coverage of the sRGB spectrum, making colours brighter, clearer, and richer, but the out-of-box calibration is not the greatest. We suggest taking some time to tune the monitor to your individual preference. However, there was no colour bleeding, no image retention, and reflections were diffused spectacularly.
Unfortunately, the only downside in an otherwise stunning screen, is the use of the VA panel. At both a horizontal and vertical viewing angle, the colour angle started to dip, which is a problem in any VA panel. The horizontal angle was a bigger culprit at losing colour accuracy, though, while the vertical angle caused images to wash out quite quickly. While the monitor can be adjusted to reduce these effects, it does mean you will be shifting it around quite often.
The horizontal angle was a bigger culprit at losing colour accuracy, though, while the vertical angle caused images to wash out quite quickly.
The SteelSeries GameSense integration gives you in-game alerts through the RGB lighting strip at the bottom of the screen, such as health, ammo, or amour, in competitive titles - such as CS:GO. Furthermore, you can customise each individual RGB LED through the SteelSeries Engine desktop app, or you can use MSi’s proprietary MysticLights app to customise the basic lighting of the monitor. Thankfully, MSi has brought their Gaming OSD to mobile, allowing you to control and change settings through an app on your phone, rather than fiddling with a joy-stick. This makes on-the-fly changes so much easier, and even allows custom profiles to be saved, for one-click changes.
Overall, the MSi Optix MPG27CQ is a magnificent gaming monitor with a low response panel and high refresh rates. It is convenient through the Gaming OSD mobile app, offers an immersive gaming experience thanks to the 1800R curve, and features the perfect-sized screen for most users. The only let down in this otherwise powerhouse panel is the colour wash out and colour accuracy loss at a horizontal or vertical viewing.