ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 Review: A Game Lover’s Dream Machine

When it comes to the pinnacle of today’s gaming laptops, ASUS ROG’s Zephyrus Duo line is bound to get a lot of votes from gamers. Not only is it equipped with the most advanced hardware available, but it also has a dual screen as a key feature that impresses everyone with its durability and appreciation for its uniqueness. Top gamers only pay attention to “fancy” gaming equipment, which is why 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 seems to be pushing the boundaries again.

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

Hardware Specifications

Fashion model Zephyrus Duo 16
Processor 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 configurations)
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 screen
  • Option 2: 14.09″ FHD 60 Hz 30 ms (sRGB 100%), 400 nits, touchscreen
Memory Up to 64 GB Dual Channel DDR5 4800 MHz (2 x SODIMM slots)
Storage Up to 2 x 2 TB 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 w/ DisplayPort (iGPU) 1x HDMI 2.1 (dGPU)
  • Micro SD Card Reader / Combo Audio Jack / 2.5G LAN RJ-4
audio
  • 6 speakers
  • Dolby Atmos Support Bi-directional AI Noise Reduction Dual-force canceling woofers Smart Amp
Battery 4-cell 90Wh
Charger 280W

The iconic dual display

The screen is, as the name implies, the most important part of the Zephyrus Duo 16. In this generation, instead of the previously available 4K 60Hz or 1080P with a high refresh rate, this model has been replaced by a basic 16-inch 2K165Hz screen , which is a very wise decision.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 provide users with an excellent experience, but instead put an unnecessary burden on the system hardware.

Aside from the resolution and fast refresh rate, the most notable feature of the Duo 16 display is that it uses 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 color gamut and extremely high maximum brightness, it is an ideal productivity tool for creating image and video content. The finer image of the 2K resolution will be more amazing than Full HD, not to mention the response time of 165 Hz and 3 ms, which will make the gaming experience more enjoyable and immersive. The performance of this Nebula screen is undoubtedly the best in the first category.

ROG’s secondary screen design on the Zephyrus Duo 16 is now quite mature after repeated development and optimization. The viewing angle of the secondary screen 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 thanks to the taller secondary display, which greatly improves heat dissipation. In addition, thanks to its creative idea, the Zephyrus Duo 16 has managed to maintain a thickness of about 20 mm.

The specifications of the secondary display are equally high-end, with a 14.1-inch 3840*1100 resolution. The clarity, color and angles are fantastic. However, there are some obvious drawbacks to using this extra screen from my point of view. The matte surface coating makes the screen very vulnerable to fingerprints and oil stains. If you are obsessed with cleanliness, using this extra screen can be difficult and you need to clean it regularly with a cloth.

In addition to some games that support it, Adobe’s Photoshop and Premiere Pro include virtual keyboard shortcuts and buttons on this secondary screen. These additional display sections can help users increase their work productivity even further.

Design

Most of the best gaming laptops of this kind use exaggerated shape designs to emphasize their distinction. These are undoubtedly elements that high-end gamers will appreciate, but the relatively understated design language of the Zephyrus Duo 16 is an advantage. Such a design can attract professionals who need high processing performance but don’t often play big titles. For example, UI designers and YouTube influencers need access to a powerhouse for creating high-resolution content and frame rates.

The Zephyrus Duo 16 adds a decorative glass panel between the secondary display and the keyboard, and the transparent panel lets gamers see the motherboard’s slogan directly. The whole atmosphere is enhanced by RGB lighting. The keyboard and touchpad are located below the decorative area, parallel to each other. While we would like to see more products with unique design, this can cause unexpected inconvenience. Since the touchpad is placed vertically on the Zephyrus Duo 16, its area is rather limited, making it unsuitable for extended use. The keyboard and trackpad layout design occupies the original palm rest area, allowing

it is almost certain that you will feel uncomfortable while using it. Fortunately, ROG has included an extra wrist rest in the package.

Performance

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

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

I can clearly feel the Zephyrus Duo 16’s ability to handle heat dissipation in the actual gaming test. Of the games I regularly play, 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 the graphics were at maximum (with Ray Tracing and DLSS switched on).

Battery life

Zephyrus Duo 16 has a 4-cell 90 Whr battery. Here is a brief overview of a test result during my use:

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

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

For the performance it can deliver, the overall battery performance is actually quite good. While it didn’t turn out to be a standout standout, as the Duo 16 has a secondary screen that its competitors don’t, such test results are still respectable.

Target audience

It is clear that this Zephyrus Duo 16 outperforms all its current competitors. Its unparalleled graphics performance, great craftsmanship and amazing cooling make it a gaming enthusiast’s dream computer. In addition to gaming, the top-notch CPU and GPU for mobile platforms allow this monster to perform video editing and processing tasks effortlessly.

Right now, the ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 GX650RX (3080 Ti) is on sale at Center Com, PLE Computers, Scorptec, Rosman Computers, mwave.com.au, and JW Computers for $5,999.

This pricing does not seem to be aimed at average customers. There shouldn’t be many people in my area willing to pay nearly $6,000 for a gaming laptop. People are held back by one of them, the current financial level or the lady at home.

That said, if you want the best performance and money isn’t your main concern, I highly recommend buying this machine over competing brands. There are only a handful of items on the market right now, outside of the Zephyrus Duo 16, which also come equipped with the 3080 Ti graphics card. But even the most affordable one starts at $4,999 and doesn’t have a secondary screen like Duo 16.

Leave a Comment