Technology News Echo_0

Asus Zephyrus Duo 16 (2023) review: Double the fun

Asus' dual-screen gaming laptop is an interesting proposition with a sizeable price tag. Here's our review.

Asus Zephyrus Duo 16

It's been a few years since Asus launched the 15-inch dual-screen Zephyrus Duo 15 as part of its Republic Of Gamers brand. That first model looked promising, but did have some worrying rough edges - not least of which was the uncomfortable amount of heat the laptop generated even during casual use.

There was a 16-inch update last year, which switched from an Intel CPU to AMD's Ryzen processors, and that has been swiftly followed in 2023 with another update that introduces a new AMD Ryzen 9 processor and nVidia's GeForce RTX 4000 series GPUs.

It does take a little while to get used to the dual-screen set-up - especially as it forces you to get used to an unconventional layout for the keyboard and trackpad. However, this 2023 edition improves on its predecessors in most areas, providing impressive gaming performance and an improved cooling system that never once had us reaching for our oven mitts.

Asus Zephyrus Duo 16
Asus Zephyrus Duo 16


The dual-display design and performance of the Zephyrus Duo 16 are in a league of their own, but the high price is bit of a sticking point. While some will find the secondary ScreenPad useful, many will be equally well served by a more affordable conventional gaming laptop and an external display.


  • Innovative twin-screen design
  • 240Hz primary display
  • Impressive gaming performance


  • Expensive
  • Big and heavy
  • Poor battery life


Asus Zephyrus Duo 16 - profile
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 30 x 355 x 266mm, 2.7kg
  • Ports: 1x HDMI, 2x USB-C (3.2), 2x USB-A (3.2), micro-SD, 3.5mm audio in/out
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6E, 2.5G Ethernet

You would't expect a high-end gaming laptop such as this to be particularly portable, but the design of the Zephyrus Duo 16 is pretty impressive given that it squeezes in a 16-inch primary display, 14-inch secondary display, 16-core processor and high-end GeForce GPU. It weighs 2.7kg, which is good for a 16-inch laptop such as this, and measures 30mm thick along the back - tapering to 21mm at the front edge - 355mm wide and 266mm deep.

Equally impressive is the highly efficient cooling system. There are large vents on the base, the back panel, and on the left and right edges of the laptop, and the ScreenPad display tilts upwards when you open the laptop, leaving a gap between the ScreenPad and the main chassis that helps to improve airflow. Given our experience with the earlier 15-inch Zephyrus Duo we were expecting the worst. However, we were impressed to find that the base of the laptop never became more than mildy warm at any time. The humming of the fans is noticeable when the graphics workload gets very heavy, but it's not loud enough to be distracting and it'll probably be drowned out by the chaos of most hectic action games.

The dual-display design does have its drawbacks, though. The position of the ScreenPad means that the keyboard is pushed so far forward that there's no room for a trackpad in front of the keyboard. The trackpad gets pushed over to the right-hand side of the keyboard - where the numeric keypad might normally go - and shrinks down to just 55mm wide and 95mm deep. This layout ignores decades of muscle memory that tell our fingers where the keyboard and trackpad should be, and it takes quite a bit of getting used to. Of course, the chances are that you'll be using a separate keyboard and mouse for any serious gaming or using productivity software, so this probably won't be a deal-breaker for most people. Even so, this unusual layout still makes our brain hurt a bit even after a few days of working with the Zephyrus.

Other aspects of the Zephyrus' design are more conventional. The back panel houses 2.5Gb Ethernet for high-speed wired networks, one USB-A (3.2) port, and HDMI for connecting an external display. There are two USB-C (3.2) ports - one on each side - while the left-hand edge provides another USB-A (3.2), micro-SD slot, and 3.5mm audio in/out. And, for wireless connectivity, the Zephyrus supports Bluetooth 5.2 and the latest high-speed Wi-Fi 6E.

Asus Zephyrus Duo 16
  • Primary display - 16.0-inches, 2560x1600 resolution; ScreenPad - 14.0-inches (diagonal), 3840 x 1100 resolution
  • Webcam: 1080p
  • Audio: 4x woofers, 2x tweeters with Dolby Atmos

The twin screens of the Zephyrus Duo 16 are, of course, the stars of the show. The primary 16-inch display doesn't provide 4K resolution - as you might expect at this price - opting instead for WQXGA resolution of 2560x1600 with 16:10 aspect ratio. However, the display also boasts 240Hz refresh rate, which provides pristine clarity and silky smooth animation for games and video (and the swirling snow storms of Rise Of The Tomb Raider look terrific). It's bright and colourful too, with 1100nits brightness and support for the DCI-P3 colour standard used for professional video-editing, so it's well suited to video and graphics works as well as off-duty gaming.

The secondary ScreenPad will probably be non-essential for most people, especially as it makes a bit of a mess of the keyboard and trackpad layout. However, streamers who need to keep an eye on their broadcast or chat channels may well find the ScreenPad useful, and it can also provide a useful docking spot for the multiple tool palettes used in many high-end graphics and video apps. Asus even manages to squeeze in six speakers for the sound system, with four woofers and two tweeters that support Dolby Atmos, and produce a much more full-bodied sound than most laptops we've come across. There's also a 1080p webcam included as well.

Performance And Battery

Asus Zephyrus Duo 16
  • GeForce RTX 4090 provides impressive performance
  • Effective cooling system
  • 4-cell, 90Whr Li-Ion battery

It comes as no surprise that the Zephyrus Duo 16 provides impressive performance for gaming and graphics work. The AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX processor achieves scores in GeekBench 5 of 2,125 for single-core performance, and 19,500 for multi-core performance, which outgun rival high-end gaming laptops such as Alienware's X17 R2 (1,700 for single-core, and 12,700 for multi-core). We also ran the new GeekBench 6, and while we don't yet have an archive of test results for GeekBench 6, the GeekBench web site places the Ryzen's multi-core score of 15,850 just a little ahead of the 13th gen, 24-core Intel i9-13900. The Ryzen processor also includes an integrated Radeon 610M GPU, which can be used for less demanding tasks that don't require the laptop's discrete nVidia GeForce RTX 4090.

The RTX 4090 certainly gets off to a good start, being the first GPU we've come across to hit the 200fps mark with the demanding Unigine Valley 3D benchmark. Gaming performance is a little more tricky though, even with a game such as Rise Of The Tomb Raider, which has its own built-in benchmarking tools.

Initially, the Zephyrus only managed to hit around 130fps in Tomb Raider, and it took some time experimenting with the game's graphics settings - including multiple settings for nVidia's DLSS technology - before we were eventually able to tweak our way to an outstanding 210fps. And, even when connected to an external display with 4K resolution, the RTX 4090 was still able to run the game at an impressive 168fps.

Asus Zephyrus Duo 16 ScreenPad

The only disappointment is the Zephyrus' modest battery life. A high-end gaming laptop such as this isn't going to have all-day battery life, but we were surprised to find that Asus itself only quotes a battery life of 3.9 hours. To save as much power as possible, we turned the secondary ScreenPad off, and set the main screen to 50% brightness, and then switched over to using the more power-efficient integrated Radeon GPU. But, even then, we could only get 3.5 hours of streaming video before the battery ran out. To be fair, a laptop of this size and weight is going to spend most of its life indoors, close to a mains power supply, but if you're looking for a laptop that can handle gaming on the move then you should probably look elsewhere.

Price and options

  • Primary display - 16.0-inches, 2560x1600 resolution; ScreenPad - 14.0-inches (diagonal), 3840 x 1100 resolution
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen R9 7945HX, 16-core, clock speed 2.5GHz - 5.4GHz
  • Graphics: up to nVidia GeForce RTX 4090 (16GB VRAM)
  • Memory: 32GB DDR5 (64GB max)
  • Storage: 2TB PCIe NVMe M2 SSD

Asus' own web site lists four versions of the new Zephyrus Duo 16, although you can't currently buy the laptop directly from Asus in the US so you'll need to look around online to find a model that suits you. It's also worth mentioning that the 2022 model is still widely available online, with previous generation CPU and GPU options, so make sure you double-check the specifications before breaking out your credit card.

All four versions of the Zephyrus Duo 16 for 2023 are based on an AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX processor, which boasts 16 cores with a base clock speed of 2.5GHz, and a maximum boost option of 5.4GHz. You've got a choice of graphics cards, though, starting with an nVidia GeForce RTX 4060 and going up to the RTX 4090 that we test here. That price also includes 32GB memory and 2TB solid-state drive. And, of course, you get the twin displays, with the main 16-inch display offering 2560x1600 resolution and 240Hz refresh, while the touch-sensitive ScreenPad measures 13.5-inches wide and 4.0-inches high (14-inches diagonally) and somehow manages to squeeze in a full 3840x1100 resolution.

As mentioned, you can't buy direct from Asus in the US, although it indicates that pricing should vary from $3499.99 - $3999.99 and that it will be available from retailers such as Amazon and NewEgg from March 9th 2023. The RTX 4090 model that we review is currently available from Asus in the UK, priced at £4799.99, but the less expensive configurations are only available from third-party retailers.


It's tempting to dismiss the second 14-inch, touch-sensitive screen - referred to as the 'ScreenPad' - as a bit of a gimmick, but it doesn't take long to get a feel for the way that it’s meant to be used. You can keep your primary applications running on the larger 16-inch screen, while using the ScreenPad for secondary tasks, such as keeping an eye on your email, or your chat software during games. The ScreenPad can also be used as a kind of dock for tool palettes in high-end graphics and design apps, and Asus also says that it is working with games developers to encourage support for the ScreenPad, perhaps having your Inventory window always visible on the ScreenPad while the main screen just focuses on the action around you.

Asus Zephyrus Duo 16

The new AMD processor and nVidia GPU provide impressive performance - which wasn't always the case with the original 15-inch model. We're also impressed to find that the improved cooling system works a treat, and the base of the Zephyrus never got more than mildly warm during our tests and gaming sessions. The modest battery life hasn't improved much, though, and the price of the twin-screen display and high-end specification puts it very much at the luxury end of the market.

Some specialist users, such as streamers and graphics professionals might find the secondary ScreenPad to be a useful feature if their budgets are big, but the rest of us will likely prefer to opt for a more affordable external display if we need some extra screen real estate.