ASUS Zenbook Duo UX481FL Review
By Yvonne
2022-10-21

ASUS Zenbook Duo UX481FL Review

ASUS continues to design some amazing products, even though it is almost the end of year. Many professionals use their products, whether they are talking about motherboards or peripherals.

ASUS leads the pack when it comes to laptops. ASUS offers a variety of laptops, including models that are portable, lightweight, powerful, and innovative. The Zenbook series has a beautiful design and a slim form factor. ASUS continues to innovate with Zenbooks, which is not new.

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481 review - something different

ASUS Zenbook Duo UX481FL, the most recent addition to its Zenbook Series, marks a new era in the notebook industry. The Screenpad Plus includes two products: the Zenbook Duo UX481FL, which will be reviewed in detail, and the Zenbook Pro Duo UX581 which is a much larger product. Let's take a closer look at this beautiful beauty. Let's take a look at it in detail.

Unboxing Experience

Although ASUS Zenbook Duo UX481 may be a high-end laptop, it is still packaged in an ordinary box. The outside one especially. Along with the outer box, the box includes an off-white laptop sleeve and the inner box. It looks very neat, and the bag is well packed. Let's take a look at what the contents of this box contain.

  • ASUS Zenbook Duo UX481FL laptop
  • Sleeve for Laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Stylus
  • User Manual

System specifications

  • Intel Core i7-10510U processor
  • 16GB DDR4 2100MHz SDRAM with 2x SO-DIMM slots for expansion. Dual-channel SDRAM up to 32GB.
  • 14-inch LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 slim-bezel NanoEdge display, 100% sRGB Panel
  • ScreenPad Plus Touch Display 12.6 inches
  • NVIDIA GeForce 2GB NVIDIA GeForce 250
  • 512GB PCIe Gen3 x2 M.2 SSD
  • Chiclet keyboard with Numpad
  • Windows Hello Support - IR Webcam
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6 integrated with Gig+ performance (802.11ax).
  • Bluetooth 5.0

Miscellaneous

  • Harman Kardon certified ASUS SonicMaster stereo system with surround sound, ASUS SonicMaster
  • 4-Cell 70 Whr Battery
  • 65W power adapter
  • Plug Type: ø4.5 (mm)
  • (Output: 19V DC, 3.42A, 65W)
  • (Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal)
  • Dimension: 323 mm x 223 mm x 19.9 mm (W x D x H)
  • Weighing: 1.5 kg

I/O Ports

  • 1x HDMI
  • 1 x Audio Combo Jack
  • Reader for MicroSD cards
  • 1 x Type C USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • 1 x Type A USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • 1 x Type A USB 3.1 Gen 1.

High Quality Design and Construction

ASUS Zenbooks are known for being very thin, and the new one continues that trend. The depth of this Zenbook is not the same as other Zenbooks. This is due to its secondary screen. Celestial Blue is the colour available for this laptop. It is close to being a mix of blue, grey, and silver. The laptop's top and bottom are both made of aluminum, while the top is brushed.

This laptop has been classified as Military Grade and is covered by the MIL STD-810G military standard. It can be dropped test, vibration, altitude, high-temperature, low-temperature, drop test and an altitude test. The laptop is built to withstand daily use and has an excellent build quality.

This laptop's design is quite different to the usual laptop designs. The lid of the new laptop is completely different. The lid opens up and lifts up to reveal the bottom of the laptop. This improves cooling efficiency while allowing for easy access to the keyboard or secondary display. While the logos and stickers can be found at the base of the laptop, the I/O ports can be found at both the sides closer to the rear.

The secondary display is called ScreenPad Plus and features an 12.6 inch IPS panel with touch capability. The ScreenPad Plus will be described in detail below. Let's now discuss other features. The Nano-edge display is a term that describes both the primary and secondary displays. They have very thin bezels. While the base is not tapered, the front of the laptop has diagonal edges and corners.

To compensate for ScreenPad Plus, the trackpad has been moved to the right of the keyboard. This results in no support for wrists and a keyboard that is not ergonomic. For the same reason, the Laptop Power button can be found at the top right of the trackpad. Below the trackpad is written "Harman Kardon", which indicates that speakers have been certified by Harman Kardon.

Ventilation vents can be found on the bottom and backsides of laptops, while speaker vents can be found at the edges.

The overall design is quite distinctive and may require some learning, but there are no compromises in the build quality.

The Processor

ASUS Zenbook Duo UX481 features a new 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor. This is a significant upgrade from previous models. The Intel Core i7-10510U is the quad-core, 10th generation Intel processor. It has eight threads and a TDP of only 15 Watts. The architecture's name is Comet Lake. It succeeds Whiskey Lake for mobile processors.

It has a base frequency at 1.8 GHz and a maximum turbo clock speed of 4.9 GHz. The Turbo frequency for all cores is set to 4.3GHz. This is still a lot higher than the previous mobile processors. This allows for faster processing which can be compared to quad-core processors such as the Intel Core i7-7700K.

The processor has 8 MB cache and is coupled with Intel UHD graphics. It can operate at variable frequencies of between 300 MHz and 1.15 GHz. The laptop supports both DDR4 or LPDDR3 memory modules. However, our model came with LPDDR3 RAM sticks that had a frequency 2133 MHz.

This laptop isn't intended to be used for gaming. A quad-core processor with such high frequencies will suffice for digital art software, and the like. It is worth noting that the TDP rating of this processor was set for non-turbo operation. The processor uses approximately 50 watts when under full stress. This is significantly more than the result without turbo frequencies.

The high turbo frequency and 4-core/8-thread configuration of this processor mean that the processing power of this processor is more than sufficient for content creators.

Graphics card

ASUS Zenbooks did not have dedicated graphics. However, ASUS used NVIDIA GeForce X250 graphics cards in this notebook. Although this graphics card does not support high-end image processing or compute tasks, the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card supports the same functionalities as the NVIDIA latest graphics cards.

There is 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM on the graphics card, enough for software such as Photoshop, AfterEffects or Adobe Premiere Pro. The GeForce MX250 comes in many variations. While the differences are usually due to the core clocks, this model has core clocks at around 1000 MHz. To reduce power consumption, it is equipped with NVIDIA GPU Boost technology.

However, graphics cards can run past 1500 MHz under stress. The graphics card has 16 render output units and 24 texture mapping units. While this isn't a very high-end model, it should still be capable of running applications that require low real-time performance. The 2GB memory has a clock speed of 1502MHz and a 64-bit memory bus width, which results in 48.1GB/s memory bandwidth.

The Display

This laptop has two displays. It has a 14 inch IPS panel with a resolution 1920x1080. However, this is not a touch screen display. The standard resolution is now standard in the majority of recently released laptops. While some might consider this configuration to be a little low-end, it is actually better than the 15.6 inch screens found on most mainstream laptops. This screen has a significant advantage over 4K displays. You won't have to change the scaling settings which can sometimes cause problems with third-party applications.

The screen has a colour space support rating of 100%, so it should work well for artists. We'll also be benchmarking this display. It is an IPS panel so viewing angles will not be an issue even if the screen is viewed from extreme sides.

ScreenPad Plus and Stylus

You might now be curious about the new ScreenPad Plus. Let us tell you.

The screen was originally designed to be an extended screen that can easily expand your workspace. However, ASUS transformed this screen into an amazing screen for managing applications. The screen comes equipped with a brand new launcher that can be used to open many different applications. You can customize it by clicking the icon at bottom left. This allows you to change screen brightness, background, window size and action menu.

You can switch between windows by using the App Switcher. This appears when the window is held with the left-click. The App Switcher offers three choices. You can use the first to move windows around; second to add them to your ScreenPad Plus launcher, and third to view the full window on each screen.

The organizer function can be used to split the workspace of the ScreenPad Plus into two or more parts, which can then be easily aligned with the applications/windows. You can activate the Task Swap function from the left and swap out the tasks on each screen. You can also use the button on your keyboard to do this. The Task Group function allows you to launch up to five apps in one click.

It can also be activated by clicking the button next to Task Swap. You can use the App Navigator function to access your most recent applications just as you would on your phone. ASUS also included a few useful apps in their launcher like Quick Key, Handwriting and others.

ASUS Active Stylus SA200H stylus is included. It comes with a AAAA battery, two buttons and a button. The upper button can be used for right-clicking. While the lower button acts as an eraser. This stylus is a must-have for all artists who use it to create digital canvasses.

The ScreenPad Plus's usability is great. It can be used by many different types of people. You can place video timelines or other floating tools on the screen if you're a video editor. It can also be used by a photo editor to cross-reference the images. The media players can be placed here by music producers and singers, as well as regular listeners to the audio. The ScreenPad Plus can be used as an extended screen, giving you more than 14 inches of space.

The ScreenPad Plus idea is unique, which is why it is going to be very useful. However, there are some drawbacks such as a lower battery-timing and learning curve and taking up a lot of space on your laptop.

I/O Ports, Speakers, & Webcam

ASUS Zenbook Ultrabook UX481 has a minimal design. There won't be many I/O ports. The LED indicators can be seen on the left side of the laptop. There is also a combo audio jack and a USB 3.1 Type A port. On the left, you will find a USB Type-C port and a USB Type-A Port, as well as an HDMI port and the DC in port. While some might not be aware of the existence of a LAN port, ASUS could probably have made it happen. However, the laptop supports WiFi 6 with speeds up to 1Gbps, so there are diminishing returns on a laptop that has a LAN connection. The laptop also supports Bluetooth 5.0 as it is expected.

The speakers, as far as we are concerned, are superior to most mainstream laptops. ASUS SonicMaster supports audio and Harman Kardon certified the speakers. The trackpad might also have a Harman Kardon logo. It is more resonant and has a surround sound-sound experience. The detail levels are also impressive. These vents are found at the top and sides of the speaker. You can host small events with the speaker's loudness.

An IR camera is part of this laptop. It can be found at the top right corner of the screen, alongside the LED indicator. You can use the webcam to login to Windows using your face unlock without the need for any other peripherals. While you can't expect incredible performance from a dedicated webcam with high resolution, but it is fine for video calls and regular chats.

Keyboard and trackpad

Zenbook includes a large backlit keyboard. There are no numeric keys. Unlike the Pro Duo version of the Zenbook, you cannot simulate the Numpad on the trackpad. The keyboard is fairly standard with a key travel of 1.4mm. Some users may like it, while others will prefer to use the dedicated mechanical keyboards.

You can also use the keyboard to perform additional functions such as Task Swap for ScreenPad Plus and Fn-key functionality, among others. Fn-key functionality: All F1-F12 keys can be mapped to certain functions by pressing the Fn key. This includes changing the brightness, volume, or switching the backlight.

This Zenbook's trackpad is not special. It does, however, lack the Numpad support you might find in the Zenbook Pro Duo UX581. The trackpad space is actually smaller than what you'd find in mainstream laptops. The dedicated buttons remain, however, and are not available on the Pro Duo UX581.

Cooling solution

This laptop's cooling system isn't like the ASUS Gaming series. It has many heat-pipes that move back and forth in order to optimize the system's performance. This Zenbook's cooling system is as efficient as an ultrabook.

The laptop has some vents on the backside, while others are located at its bottom. You can increase the cooling power of your laptop with third-party cooling pads. We were impressed by the fact that the lid of the laptop is ergonomically designed. This allows for more heat to be dissipated than using thin rubber pads.

ASUS seems to have placed more emphasis on the sound quality of its laptop than the computing performance. This is the reason why some cooling solutions might not work for everyday-use scenarios. Details are provided in the testing and analysis section.

Methodology For In-Depth Testing & Analysis

The laptop has been subject to intense testing and we'll be detailing each step. To observe the real-world performance of the laptop, we didn't use any cooling pads. All tests were conducted at a temperature of 25 degrees. To maximize performance, all tests were done while the laptop was connected to the computer.

Cinebench R15 and Cinebench R20 were used, as well as Geekbench 5 Advanced Edition, 3DMark Advanced Edition, PCMark 10 Advanced Edition and Cinebench 5. These tests tested the processor's speed. Unigine Superposition and Geekbench 5 were used to test the performance of the graphics card.

Furmark, CPUZ stress test and AIDA64 Extreme were used to verify stability and thermal throttling. The system parameters were checked with CPUID HWMonitor.

SpyderXElite was used to calibrate the screen and do colour accuracy and uniformity tests. Handbrake Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro were used to test the system's ability for media-encoding. Battery-timing was done with 1080p offline playback, while the audio test was conducted with the microphone at 20 cm behind the laptop.

CPU Benchmarks

Time Spy scored the Intel Core i7-10510U 2954, which is quite a high score for an ultrabook.

In Geekbench 5, the CPU scored 1244 single-core and 4361 multi-core. The multi-core ratio is around 3.5. The multi-core results are not perfect due to thermal throttling or lower frequencies.

Zenbook Duo UX481FL GeekBench Single/Multi Core Performance

Single Core Performance Multi Core Performance
Single Core 1244 Multi Core 4361
Crypto 1672 Crypto 4783
Integer 1159 Integer 4296
Floating Point 1356 Floating Point 4431

Cinebench R15 scored the processor 179 for the single-core test and 786 for the multicore test. This resulted in a MP ratio of 4.39. Its single-core performance is impressive, and it's better than the desktop Ryzen processors of 2nd generation.

Cinebench R20 provided 1306 and 443 points respectively in multi-core tests. This resulted in an MP ratio 2.95. It seems quite surprising.

The laptop received 4336 points in PCMark10, which is a remarkable score for a quad core laptop.

GPU Benchmarks

Although the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU isn't the best, it's still a much more powerful than an integrated model. Although the GPU clock speed is set at 1000 MHz, GPU Boost allows the GPU to reach 1695 MHz. The graphics card also reached a temperature of 69 degrees under full load. This is perfectly fine. Let's take a closer look at the GPU benchmarks of NVIDIA GeForceMX250.

Unigine Superposition, one of the most well-known benchmarks for GPUs, scored 459 points using the NVIDIA MX250 preset 1080p Extreme.

The graphics card received 913 points from the 3DMark Time Spy. This is not a great score, but it's still better than integrated Intel graphics. You can find the 3DMark Time Spy photo in our CPU Benchmarks section.

Display Benchmarks

It is important that the benchmarks of the display be used, particularly if the device targets content creators. Spyder X Elite was used for testing, and SpyderXElite 5.4 was used as the application.

Let's first take a look at pre-calibration results. At 1.9, the gamma value on the screen is not as high as the desired level. For the most part, white points values appear to be acceptable.

We then checked the color-space support on the screen. These results were obtained. Screen covers 100% of sRGB gamut. 71% of NTSC gamut. 75% of AdobeRGB gamut. 78% of DCI-P3 gamamut.

Next, we looked at information about brightness, whitepoint, and other parameters. After calibrating the screen, this was completed.

We now move on to the uniformity testing. We received results for four levels of brightness: 100%, 83% and 66%.

You can view the results below. It is evident that top quadrants were most affected, particularly the right, with a difference of 4.4% and 9.0%.

The results improve as the brightness drops. At 50% we can see that 6.3% is the highest difference percentage, but only 5 candelas less (67 versus 72).

Let's finally look at how accurate the color accuracy was. It gave us an average Delta-E value of 1.37 with a minimum of 0.36 and a maximum of 4.82. Even if your application is colour-critical, these results are quite impressive.

SSD Benchmark

ASUS Zenbook Duo UX481FL is equipped with Intel 660P M.2PCIe SSD. The exact model can be seen in the image below.

CrystalDiskMark shows that the SSD can read and write at speeds up to 1877MB/s each. This is not the fastest, but it's enough for most users. You won't experience any stuttering in any of the 4K write/read rates.

Battery Benchmark

We have thoroughly tested this Zenbook's battery and have established benchmarks for those who want to be able to carry a machine. We tested the Zenbook by charging it 100%. After plugging in the charger, we watched a 1080p video with repeat options.

The brightness was adjusted to 50% on both screens, while volume was at 25%. After playing the video for 7 hours, 20 minutes, the laptop shut down. With the two screens, the playback time is impressive at more than seven hours. The results can be further improved if you turn off the ScreenPad Plus.

Software for Content Creation Software with Performance

We have benchmarked some of the most popular applications so content creators can get all they need. For the tests, we used a 4K video of 2 minutes 32 seconds in duration with 60 frames per second. Handbrake was used for these tests. We used 4K and 1440p resolutions, along with medium encoder presets, H.265 codec, Constant Quality 15, in Adobe Premiere Pro. In Adobe Premiere Pro, we used presets of 4K and 1080p in Adobe Premiere Pro. Below are the results.

Thermal Throttling

The most critical aspect of ultrabooks is thermal throttling. We take this seriously. The CPU can reach a temperature of up to 66 degrees Celcius when it is stressed without the laptop being connected. While the GPU can only attain a maximum temperature at 69 degrees Celcius, the CPU can rise as much as 66 degrees Celcius. This temperature range is perfectly normal and does not show any thermal throttling.

But, once the laptop has been plugged in to an AC adapter, Intel Turbo technology activates and the CPU's power consumption increases by up to 3x, or approximately 50-watts. High temperatures can be caused by this massive rise in power consumption.

The CPU can reach close to 100 degrees Celsius during stress testing. Upon reaching this temperature, it starts downclocking all cores. Turbo claims that all cores are 4.3 GHz, but cores begin to downclock after thermal throttling. Cores go from 4.3 GHz up to 2.8 GHz. The graphics card was not subject to thermal throttling.

The thermal throttling of the laptop is unavoidable. However, because the processor can be driven to its limits, it is possible to remove the thermal throttle if there is a substantial heatsink. This is impossible even for an ultrabook.

Acoustic Performance/System Noise

The Zenbook Duo UX481 Ultrabook is known for being very silent. The laptop's acoustic properties were tested by placing the microphone on the back at 20 cm distance. We first measured the ambient noise, which is a.k.a. The laptop was turned off. Next, we turned on the laptop to test the readings from the microphone. The stress test on the processor was completed, and we again took readings. Below is a graph showing the results.

Conclusion

ASUS Zenbook Duo UX481FL offers tons of distinctive features such as a lid design, secondary display and all-new User Interface. It also supports stylus support. It also features the most recent hardware components: a 10th-generation Intel processor and a dedicated NVIDIA GPU card.

ASUS Zenbook Duo UX481FL

Its excellent colour reproduction makes it an ideal choice for artists, while the ScreenPad Plus is great for all types of work. The laptop's superior battery life and build quality can be assured by its military-grade specifications and aluminum body. Some of these features may be difficult to learn for some people, and it might not suit everyone.