Yep, I pulled the trigger and have purchased a new computer. It is the Asus Zenbook Duo (model# UX482EG-XS74). I’m not going to review it, if you’re looking for a comprehensive, fair, detailed and excellent review you should read Andrei Girbea’s review from Ultrabook Review.com. There you will find an honest picture of what this machine can and cannot do. It highlights all the good and bad of this device and was the review that helped me decide on this machine.
My Surface Book
Back in 2016 I purchased a Microsoft Surface Book. I really liked (and still like) this device. It is the first generation and while far from perfect there are some characteristics about this device I loved.
- Screen detaches
- Touch screen
- 3:2 aspect ratio
- Great keyboard
- Good trackpad
- Excellent stylus
- Windows Hello (basically face unlock)
- Decent performance
There have also been some things I have been frustrated with:
- Terrible WiFi card leading to unpredictable connection and speed issues
- Middling to poor battery life (especially when detached from the base
- Rare stylus issues (sometimes it won’t write but the buttons work – just weird)
- Slowing performance as it ages (maybe a little too slow)
- It is very top heavy
- A little chunky when carrying it around
- The external keyboard that I got with it had an odd layout I never got used to
Overall those gripes are pretty minor and I can either live with or troubleshoot all those problems.
So why a new computer now?
It is true – my Surface Book probably has a good year or two left of decent performance, so why get a new computer. Well . . . I kind of want a new one and my mother (dear old Ma) is in need of a new computer. Her desktop computer is nearly 11 years old, so I thought I would give her something with a little more power, more reliability and just better than what she has. Also, its a good excuse to visit my mom which I like doing anyway.
Also, when I purchased the Surface Book, I was teaching math to middle school students. This was a great tool for me to work out math problems because of its excellent stylus and the great number of options you can do with the screen. Also I made quite a few tutorial videos and it basically compliments my teaching style while allowing me to be pretty productive.
Now, I am the director of technology of a school and having a computer that has a screen that can detach is not as important to my productivity as when I was in the classroom. Also, the battery life is fading, the performance has taken a hit and screen real estate is a premium need.
Enter Zenbook Duo
You can tell from the pictures that this is indeed a two screened laptop. and that means I get a little boost to my productivity.
For example, this machine (out of the box) had its Bluetooth set to turn off every time the computer restarted. I didn’t like that, so I had to do some searches on the Interwebs to find out how to set it to automatically turn on. I found the instructions and utilizing the two screens I was able to follow along with the instructions while having the necessary system windows open. Pretty handy!
On top of that, it is faster, has more storage and RAM and is (for my needs) a better machine.
Why not a MacBook?
Good question and for the money the MacBook Air with the M1 chip is probably the best computer you can buy right now. But I like trying out new and different computers. It’s what drew me to the Surface Book and what draws me now to the ZenBook Duo. My school assigns me a MacBook so there is no need or want to pick up one for my personal use. I appreciate how reliable they are and how easy it is to use, but it’s kind of boring. The M1 doesn’t really spice it up enough for me to want to have one at home as well as at school, so I went in another direction.
This is a new machine that was debuted at CES in Las Vegas in January. It has a bit of a buzz around it and is in high demand. Couple that with the chip shortage due to Covid and you are probably in for a long wait for most computers. I waited a good two months for my Asus so be prepared if you’re ordering a new computer online. It may take a while so prepare yourself for that wait.
I’ll miss my Surface Book. It’s been a solid computer for the most part. There have been some quirks but I have no regrets picking it up five years ago and I really look forward to using the Zenbook Duo for the next five to seven years 🙂