back to article Review: ASUS dual-screen laptop may warm your heart, will definitely warm your lap

PCs and alternative devices have increasingly diversified into myriad and marvelous forms, so I've decided that in 2022 I'll use a different one each month and share the experience. I think of it as "desktop tourism". It's easy to take a regular trip because my browser-centric world is marvellously portable. It takes less than …

  1. Dave 126 Silver badge

    No USB- C charging on what is clearly *not* a budget laptop?

    Yikes. There are enough USB C Macbooks or even USB C phones with higher wattage wall adaptors out there now that finding a power source to borrow for a top up is not that rare an event.

    1. mathew42
      FAIL

      Totally agree. I point blank refuse to buy laptops that don't support USB-C power delivery, simply because if you forget the charger it is highly likely that someone will have one you can borrow or it should be easy to buy a replacement.

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        I much prefer a dedicated power port and to free up USB sockets.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          If they keep all the same ports and switch the power port with another USB-C, that's exactly what you get. I don't think having a port that doesn't have data lines helps ensure they didn't skimp on the other ports. I also value that it's easier to find a compatible USB-C adapter than whatever proprietary cable the manufacturer chose.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          I also prefer this over the typical arrangement where the most functional USB-C port is the charging port. It's almost as if the expectation is that you will carry a USB-C hub around in addition to the laptop.

          Although, there is one benefit of the USB-C charging port, you can readily get magsafe USB connectors and so you don't wreck the port when someone trips over the power lead.

        3. katrinab Silver badge
          Happy

          I attach mine to a USB C monitor, it gives me power, display, and various other peripherals via the USB hub at the back of the monitor, including ethernet, all from a single cable.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      It will be the two screens plus the i9, I imagine that it requires a lot of power.

      Yep, the PSU brick that it uses supplies 20V @ 12A for a whopping 240W of power. That's crazy!

      My Dell workstation does work off USB-C PD, but it barely charges at all off 65W, and its a trickle charge at 100W (which is the maximum for USB-C PD in the standard) and displays BIOS messages saying that's not enough power and slightly dims the screen. Dell provide a non-standard 135W USB-C PD charger from their docks, which does charge it fully.

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Flame

        I have a Dell Precision laptop with a Xeon CPU and nVidia RTX GPU (ridiculously overpowered for my needs, but I wound up with it for reasons), and it takes a 240W power brick. The battery is the size of a Volkswagen, and it will still only last for about 45 minutes under any kind of load. Sounds like the ASUS would be an improvement.

      2. Solviva

        Finally got the new Macbook 16 delivered after only 3 months. The supplied USB-C charger has an interesting profile 28V @ 5A for 140W via the USB-C - magsafe cable. Just tried my old 100W USB-C cable (20V @ 5A) and it show's as charging at 94W...

      3. Cuddles Silver badge

        I don't think 240W is all that crazy. As the article notes, this is more a portable workstation than a standard laptop. My workstation has a 1100W power supply. Obviously you're not going to fit something quite that powerful in a laptop chassis, but the fact that you can still have something considered workstation-class with a pretty decent CPU and GPU with less than 1/4 of the power requirement and a fraction of the size is still fairly impressive. Complaining that they haven't reduced the power by a further factor of two seems a bit churlish really. Sure, if you want something that's all about portability and convenience, this thing probably isn't for you. But if you're in the market for an actual workstation that you can carry around with you some compromises are always going to be necessary, because you just can't fit that sort of thing in a <1kg, <100W machine.

  2. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Not sure thats going to be too easy on the

    RSeye!

  3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

    I played with one of these in a local shop a little while ago.

    I really like the design and I can see it being useful.

    It's a shame it's a chiclet keyboard, but those are ubiquitous now.

    The thing that annoyed me was the trackpad on the right. As a left-hander (even though I usually use my mouse in my right hand) it was awkward.

    It would really benefit from the feature of the original Macintosh Portable, where you could remove and refit the keyboard and pointing device -- either trackball on the left or on the right. Both worked fine and the connectors were simple: this wasn't something you'd do often.

    1. Valeyard

      wow, trackpad on the right?

      I can imagine my wife trying to navigate around her IDE like a game of twister.

      so combined with the keyboard it's another one destined to sit to the side with an external keyboard and mouse plugged in and be a desktop in all but name

      1. wjake

        And if it sits at the side, because of the inferior keyboard/mouse setup, it defeats the purpose of having the dual-screen, since you won't be able to see much of that little screen if it's off to the side!

  4. AceGrace

    I'm left handed too and control the mouse with my left hand. It is really frustrating that all of these types of keyboards have the mouse pad on the right.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would prefer a non-center trackpad

    Specifically, on the right, being right-hand dominant (sorry, lefties).

    But taking away my tactile number pad? I'd just have to bring along my cheap USB-A accessory instead.

    I'd rather stick to machines with integrated number pads, use the USB-A for the trackball dongle, and ignore the touchpad completely.

  6. RockBurner

    Sounds like a machine i'd love (I can never have too many screens), but the touchpad and off-centre keyboard sound irritating enough to make it a reluctant non-starter.

    Idea I just had - you used (going back 20 years or more) to be able to get a trackball that clipped to the side of the keyboard on certain laptops (I think they were Toshibas). It connected via a short ps2 lead (iirc, this was before USB was ubiquitous). It was a VERY good alternative to having a mouse or a trackpad (which hadn't come out then I don't think). Has anyone ever heard of something similar in the modern era comprising a small thumb-operated trackball device with a USB connector sticking straight out of it so it can be plugged into the USB socket on the side of the laptop and just 'be' there ready for use?

    If not, I may make a quick call to my private patent attorney.....

    1. An_Old_Dog Bronze badge

      2nd screen & pointing devices

      Remember when as devs we'd install a composite grapics adapter alongside our monochrome display adapter, so we could have the app on the MDA and debugging tool on the CGA?

      I had an OLD Apple laptop which had a "pencil" pointing device. It had a smooth cylinder located below, and parallel to the spacebar. You rolled the cylinder to move the mouse up and down, and you slid the cylinder from left to right to move the mouse accordingly.

      I also had a great keyboard with a small trackball located below the spacebar. It was just the right size to move with your thumbs.

  7. AJ MacLeod

    Rubbish "solution" looking for a problem

    I set one of these up for a customer a while back, and found it immensely annoying for several reasons. Firstly, the extra screen is basically useless; it's ridiculously too small vertically and it's at a very awkward angle - you'd end up with RSI in your neck from looking up and down if you actually tried to use it for something.

    Secondly, the touchpad; as I'm right-handed the location was fine for me but as it's abnormally narrow (it's portrait rather than square or landscape shaped) the buttons are not where you'd expect them to be. I spent the whole time trying to left-click with the right cursor key and wondering why it wasn't doing anything. To make it work you really need to have your thumb curled awkwardly under the rest of your hand to reach down to where the button actually lives - extremely uncomfortable. Sure you can use tap-to-click (and I normally do) but somehow on this laptop that felt less natural than trying to click with the button.

    In summary, a completely pointless expensive gimmick. Far better would be a laptop with one sensibly shaped screen rather than two letterboxes of varying sizes.

    Edit: I've just enlarged the main picture to see this model is very slightly different in that it doesn't have physical buttons for the touchpad... doesn't really change the main issue though.

    1. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Rubbish "solution" looking for a problem

      You can get a portable second screen for 100€, they are squareish sit next to the other monitor, horizontally (or vertically if you like a lot of scrollback visible)

      Clearly not as convenient as an integrated screen if you are very mobile. But if you hotdesk they are perfect. You can plug them into your existing laptop and will fit in your existing laptop bag.

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Rubbish "solution" looking for a problem

        Seconded. I did just that and got one of those cheapie chinese 1920x1080 IPS portable jobbies. Power from laptop USB, signal from HDMI. Works a treat. And its not an annoying touchscreen either.

  8. Alistair
    Windows

    If you're test driving, Simon

    If you're going to run through a stack of laptops/desktops of various configurations, a random thought from the raging linux geek, would you consider firing up various linux distro's and where the horsepower exists, firing up games in WINE etc, etc? I do understand that the baseline (does it work for general purpose office work) standards, but perhaps consider pushing limits on what these hardware can do?

    Certainly the listed specs on this unit would have me cranking up Warcraft or FFXIV for fun breaks. I'm guessing there's not much would not play well on that.

  9. quxinot

    WAIT A BLEEDIN MINUTE

    32 bit games at lunch are retro?

    Sorry, I'm off to play prehistoric 8-bit games while ranting about thedamnkidsthesedays.....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    https://som.yale.edu/story/2022/over-400-companies-have-withdrawn-russia-some-remain

    Check the "Grade F" list

  11. Roland6 Silver badge

    "This is a desktop replacement – not a machine for nomads"

    Well if you're using a messenger bag, you are not a nomad, get a backpack.

    At 2.34kg, that seems comparable to a T-series Thinkpad; a machine targeted at nomadic workers... Although like all 15.6-inch 16:9 laptops, they don't fit airline/train seatback tables anywhere as well as the older 15-inch 4:3 laptops. My Compaq Armada E500 weighed in at 3kg but went all over the world - it and the IBM T60 are the only laptops that stand out from 25 years of nomadic working...

    1. ssharwood

      Re: "This is a desktop replacement – not a machine for nomads"

      Disagree! I find that a messenger bag distributes weight better than a backback, and doesn't make me anywhere near as sweaty. And on a bicycle, the messenger makes for better balance.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: "This is a desktop replacement – not a machine for nomads"

        >And on a bicycle, the messenger makes for better balance.

        Funnily I prefer the backpack on the bicycle, but I agree most backpacks do give you a sweaty back.

        Mind you neither backpack or messenger bag are good for suit shoulders.

  12. SuperGeek

    Any heat...

    Can be bad news. Repeated on/off cycles cause heating/cooling thermal cycling of solder joints, which recently killed my Dell G3 3779 gaming machine, even run on a cooling pad and undervolted! And on modern single board machines it gets expensive, as I can guarantee it'll happen out of warranty!

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