Dual-screen laptops, or computers with two screens built into a single chassis, have become quite the rage. Ever since many leading brands announced interests in this realm at mega-events like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Computex, audiences have been enraptured.
While the initial targeting for these devices is, obviously, creative professionals like film-makers and editors, their utility goes way deeper.
In essence, anyone who presently uses two screens with their desktop computer stands to benefit from this ground-breaking design.
The right choice of a laptop with a secondary display can help you navigate through meetings at work, defeat foes on the arena, and get much more done vis-à-vis creative projects. It is quite a winsome deal!
Many manufacturers have come up with products in this space. Asus, HP and Lenovo remain the best picks at the moment. Machines in these portfolios combine the benefits of an additional display with high-end processing configurations.
They also offer impressive primary displays (FHD, 4K UHD) to ensure you are well sorted for multimedia-based endeavors.
Of course, the new design comes with some limitations, not to overlook their more expensive pricing. So, is buying one of these laptops worth it? Or is this another fad you are better off ignoring?
- Prioritizing Convenience
- A Second Screen: Distraction or Innovation?
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Dual-Screen Laptop
- Our Picks: Top 5 Best Dual Screen Laptops 2021
When the concept was first floated, the second screen was pictured as a canvas for artists, architects, photographers, etc.
It would come in handy for tasks like viewing timelines and context menus—essentially activities with which creative people dabble.
In recent times, however, dual-screen devices are emerging as productivity- and convenience boosters for a wider audience, including businesspersons and gamers. In fact, an additional screen can prove to be useful even for basic web browsing.
Perhaps the greatest win of these laptops is their focus on optimizing the way users interact with the interface.
Typically, companies have invested energies in making laptops lighter and thinner. This advancement goes the extra mile to make your usage more intuitive and wholesome.
A Second Screen: Distraction or Innovation?
A common perception among some users is that an additional screen in a laptop causes distraction.
It lowers focus on the current task and creates a cluttered workspace and mind-space.
In newly launched dual-screen laptops, this perception is rapidly emerging to be flawed. Added screens like the ScreenPad Plus in Asus laptops let you work with multiple windows and apps so neatly that it is a multitasking triumph.
You will probably find it saves time on a regular basis, similar to a desktop-with-multiple-screens arrangement.
Brands like Lenovo are using this opportunity to leverage on new-age technologies like e-ink. Highly beneficial for scribbling notes and reading, this is a smart and energy-efficient way to interact with your laptop.
E-ink displays are also popular for saving battery life, which is a blessing for people with travel-intensive lifestyles.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Dual-Screen Laptop
While the benefits are evident, is there anything you should be wary of before purchasing one of these computers? Here are some potential limitations of which you should be mindful:
- Smaller keyboard: The keyboard experience may be sub-par. Some laptops with two screens may have to compromise on the keyboard size, leading to a cramped typing experience.
- Slower response rate: More displays, more processing! You may experience higher response time, depending on the specs you end up with and your usage patterns.
- Risk of damage: No surprises here—a second screen could potentially limit portability. In the case of drops and shocks, you are likelier to cause damage.
- Greater heat generated: It is natural for these laptops to produce more heat. This can be a problem unless the cooling mechanism is intelligent enough to handle things. Effective heat dissipation becomes a must in high-end machines intended for gaming or intensive tasks like coding and multimedia content editing.
- More expensive: Currently, you will have to shell out a greater sum for these laptops. For instance, the 14” ZenBook Duo by Asus costs around $1500. However, whether or not this fits into your budget is best decided keeping the productivity wins in sight.
- Difficult to use on the lap: The keyboard design can make such laptops awkward to use on the lap. The lack of a wrist rest can make the usage experience tricky unless the device is kept on a table or a workstation.
That said, dual-screen devices have several possibilities and can fit right into the lives of busy professionals who miss having a workstation-like experience outside the office. The extra screen can make a terrific difference to the way you perceive work—or play—and how you get it done.
Our Picks: Top 5 Best Dual Screen Laptops 2021
Here are some of the finest laptops with secondary displays that can beautifully slip into different roles at the office, your gaming den, and elsewhere.
1. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX482 – Best 14 Inch Dual Screen Laptop
If you are looking for a 14” dual-screen laptop, then the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX482 is an excellent choice.
Featuring a secondary touchscreen that pairs beautifully with the main FHD display, this laptop lets you up your productivity and how.
It is fueled by an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and Harman Kardon audio. That proves to be an adequate configuration for both regular pursuits at work as well as some multimedia endeavors.
This device comes with an ergonomic hinge that serves multiple purposes: comfier typing, better audio and superior cooling.
It looks glorious as well, with its impressive spun-metal finish, Pantone-validated display, and a screen-to-body ratio of 90%. That said, it remains a highly portable choice for contemporary users.
Since this military-standard computer (MIL-STD-810G) weighs just 3.3lbs and has a thickness of 0.78”, you can travel with it comfortably.
2. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 – Best 15 Inch Dual Screen Laptop
Creative souls, rejoice! The 15” Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581, with its 4K UHD OLED display and a unique “ScreenPad Plus”, is a high-productivity tool in your arsenal.
The second screen boasts of stellar features like one-tap keyboard sequences, handwriting, an app switcher, and a task group for multitasking.
So, how is the display quality? Quite fantastic, really, with a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and a screen-to-body ratio of 89%. Plus, the Harman Kardon audio brings you an engaging multimedia experience each time.
The best part is, the processing specs of this computer are topnotch: an Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU, 32GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics. This guarantees quick and efficient performance, whether you are absorbed in multimedia projects or gaming.
Design-wise, this glorious laptop features diamond-cut edges, a spun-metal finish, and a durable chassis adhering to the MIL-STD 810G military standard.
It also includes an IR camera and built-in Alexa with a light bar. This celestial-blue stunner weighs 5.51lbs and is 0.94” thick.
3. ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 – Best Dual Screen Gaming Laptop
The 15” ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is among the best in this set. It features an ROG ScreenPad Plus secondary display and powerful specs to ensure compatibility with most AAA games.
This computer is driven by an Intel Core i9 processor, 48GB RAM, up to 2TB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics.
The displays are top-of-the-rung. You have a choice between a 300Hz/3ms screen and a 4K monitor, and you can decide based on whether you need to prioritize battery life or performance.
The color gamut offered is 100% Adobe RGB. Interestingly, ASUS provides a 90Wh battery which gives you a dependable, long-lasting experience on the go.
Like all competent gaming machines, this one comes with impressive cooling as well: liquid metal and superior thermal design. It is also a portable laptop, weighing 5.2lbs and infused with ESS Sabre HiFi DAC audio for competent playback in various settings.
4. HP OMEN X 2S – Best Dual Screen Gaming Laptop
This lightweight and sleek device (5.18lbs, 0.78”) offers a secondary 6″ touchscreen (1080p) to complement the primary FHD display.
The anti-glare monitor supports a refresh rate of 240Hz and uses a micro-edge design for maximum engagement.
Processing-wise, it is powered by an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics with Max-Q design.
NVIDIA G-SYNC brings you minimal tearing and optimum enjoyment, especially when you play games with multiple transitions. The resulting performance is quite splendid, whether you are on the arena or absorbed in a multimedia-based project like film editing.
Further enhancing your gaming experience is audio by Bang & Olufsen, boosted by HP AUDIO BOOST 2.0 and DTS: X ULTRA. Rest assured you won’t miss out any auditory details while competing!
Bonus: As this computer supports rapid charging of up to 50% in 30 minutes, you can game on the go without being tethered to a power station.
5. Lenovo ThinkBook Plus
The 13.3” Lenovo ThinkBook Plus has been specially designed for modern-day professionals who need to collaborate with their colleagues and get multiple things done at once.
Equipped with a 13.3” FHD monitor and a 10.8” e-ink display, this novel laptop lets you take notes directly on the cover. You can even sync with OneNote and transform your notes into diagrams or text.
So, what is the net result? Well, arguably, you should be able to experience much faster reviews and team-work during meetings and discussions.
As per the company’s research, the multitasking-friendly offerings of this device should let you save as much as 2.1 hours per day. (Incidentally, that’s the amount of time that reportedly gets lost in re-focusing while switching tasks.)
This offering comes with additional bonuses such as integrated Alexa and a fingerprint reader. It is committed to giving you a secure user experience, which is why it also includes a camera shutter and a TPM chip.
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Dual-screen laptops are swiftly becoming popular with audiences that wish to magnify their productivity and overall user experience.
In the act of adding a display, makers are radically expanding horizons for the people, and this comes in handy for today’s time-starved, ambitious, task-switcher user.
In purchasing one of these, you would be well-advised to make a selection based on your overarching priority.
For instance, if you are looking at amplified gaming, then a laptop like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 or the HP OMEN X 2S can be an excellent choice. You stand to benefit from features like brilliant cooling for sustainability, tremendous storage space, and a wide color gamut for absorbing imagery.
If, however, your prime lookout is multitasking, consider picking something like the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus. It promises to work out gloriously for note-taking, managing meetings—basically, getting stuff done.
Computers like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 or the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX481 are also worth your consideration for day-to-day work, particularly if you are already familiar with ZenBooks and wish to prioritize portability.
Only time will tell if dual-screen laptops become the next big thing in the computing market. They will have to overcome current shortcomings and gripes in the areas of keyboard comfort and cooling.
But this much is certain—they are a testimony to the thought that manufacturers have started putting into human interface design. This goes beyond the routine advancements in laptop build that the industry has seen all this while. In itself, that is quite a victory.