Asus Rog Zephyrus Duo 15 Se RTX3060 Review
- GPU/CPU/RAM/SSD Configuration
- Build Quality
- Touchpad and Keyboard
- Battery Life
- The Zephyrus Duo as a Daily Driver
- Gaming Performance
Welcome to the future
This is probably one of the best creator and gamer-focused Notebooks Asus has ever engineered. You will find a ton of Reviews about the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 Se that cover the maxed-out version of the device featuring an Nvidia RTX 3080 and a Ryzen 9 5900X.
This Review though is having a look at the 3060 and Ryzen 7 5800H variant that also comes with the same 300Hz Pantone validated screen. While this laptop is released under the ROG Zephyrus banner, gamers are not the only target demographic of this innovative yet beautiful device. The second screen certainly offers more use to multitasking content creators than people that just want to play games. In this Review, we are going to have a look at the pinnacle of technology when it comes to laptop design innovations. While the notebook is not perfect and by nature comes with few down sights we still think this is one of the most awesome laptops for high-end users in 2021. Especially the “lower” speced 3060 and 3070 versions of the device.
Specs of the tested Zephyrus Duo
The Zephyrus Duo comes in several configurations. The one I got is the variant sporting an RTX 3060, a Ryzen 5800h, and a decent 16GB of upgradable ram. While this is the lowest speced variant of the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE, it is still an absolute beast that will tear through anything you throw at it. The good thing is that many of the core components like the NVME can be easily upgraded. As my variant only has one Nvme SSD installed, the second NVME slot is unpopulated. This effectively gives me the possibility to upgrade the storage to a 1TB Raid 0 configuration for just about 60€. Overall, you get a tremendous amount of bang for your buck with this machine.
The Ryzen 7 5800h can really spread its wings on this machine. It easily holds 4Ghz under heavy load in performance mode without breaking a sweat and while periodically ramping fan noise can be heard the laptop is still among the more silent contenders.
The build quality of the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo is excellent. It is clear from the first time you touch the notebook: This is a premium item. Overall flex is minimal thanks to a sturdy magnesium-alloy chassis, the hinges are not only a marvel of engineering but also solidly built, and of course, the laptop can be easily opened with just one hand. The Keyboard is quite good as well, without being outstanding for me personally.
My last Laptop was a GE Series Laptop from MSI that featured a steel series keyboard that is quite hard to beat if you ask me. But it is definitely still decent. Obviously, the positioning is…let`s say less than optimal. This is something that I take any day if I get a fully-fledged second screen on my notebook for it in return. The touchpad is overall decent as well, but certainly awkwardly positioned as well. Instead of being dead center like in many other notebooks, the Duo has to accommodate for the fact that a large portion of deck space is already used by the screen and the keyboard, so ultimately, they opted to place the touchpad on the right side next to the keyboard. This is strongly reminiscent of the Zephyrus S, which had a similar configuration but was, unfortunately, missing the beautiful second screen dubbed “ScreenpadPlus” by Asus.
Cooling and Performance
This year’s lineup of RTX 3000 series cards removes the requirement of “Max-Q” variants making the already complicated mobile GPU market even harder to understand for the average consumer. To understand which card is faster than the other it is important to focus on the TGP of the GPU. a 3060 with a TGP of 80 watts will obviously not even come close to the performance of the same 3060 chip running at 160 watts. This effectively means that you can have certain 3070 putting out less performance than some higher TGP 3060 models. This is a crucial thing to understand when choosing mobile GPUs in 2021. Now that we got this out of the way, let us get back to the Zephyrus Duo.
The Zephyrus Duo amazingly makes a virtue out of necessity by using its slightly angled second screen to allow for a massive increase in the Air intake and overall cooling capability. Shortly before getting the Zephyrus Duo, I had a chance to try out another excellent 2021 notebook: The Gigabyte Aorus 15G. So I have a direct comparison with another 3060 chip for this review. When I started to test the Zephyrus Duo in Games my exes almost fell out of their socket. This thing was constantly pushing around 2000mhz on the graphics chips and the Ryzen 7 5800 had zero problems with keeping up with even the most demanding (and least optimized) modern games such as Cyberpunk 2077. When I tested the machine with better-optimized ray tracing titles such as Metro Exodus “Enhanced Edition” it became clear that this 3060 is one of the most capable available on the market.
My preferred cooling mode for gaming is “performance”. Playing with a high-end gaming laptop almost requires the use of headphones in my opinion to get rid of the fan noise. When pushed the Zephyrus is definitely audible. But it is overall way quieter than most of its direct competitors. High performance requires cooling and this will be audible on any machine. “Turbo” mode pushes even more ridiculous CPU and GPU clock speeds but as expected, this mode is intensely loud and is constantly over 4000RPM on both fans. The amazing thing: Silent mode often hits 0RPM, depending on what you do. If you are just doing office work or light web browsing etc. this laptop will be whisper silent. And by whisper-silent I mean 0db.
Touchpad and Keyboard
Let’s cut the chase: The keyboard and touchpad are not positioned favorably because of the second screen. While the quality of the touchpad and keyboard are excellent their respective placement is not. Asus actually delivers the Zephyrus Duo with a proprietary wrist rest to compensate for that fact. But in my daily use, I had no big issues with it in the actual real-world use. If I am using the Zephyrus in my studio I have it connected to a mechanical keyboard and mouse so in this use case scenario there is no issue in the first place. But even when using the laptop on my couch table in the living room or my bed I had no problems writing on it. After a mediocre first impression, I actually ended up liking the keyboard. I wrote several scripts on the laptop. I think that while as said less than ideal, it is not that big of a deal. And you get a second screen in return and this is if you ask me, more than worth it.
Battery Life is very good on this machine. You can easily get 6 hours of use out of the machine and battery life can be further increased by turning or dimming the second screen or turning the discrete GPU off. 10 hours are not unrealistic with this notebook. A real game-changer is the USB-C PD Charging. I used my Switch charger a lot with this laptop and this is not even a full 100w charger. This effectively means that you do not have to take the big charging brick with you most of the time. A single phone charger does the job for most applications such as watching YouTube videos, browsing the web, or doing office work. I really can emphasize how much I love this new feature. It reduces the overall weight of the package that you have to carry around for normal use considerably. this gives you the best of both worlds: Convenient weight and size or high-powered performance rig. While the laptop weighs in at about 2.5KG, it is still more portable than other devices in the same weight class that does not offer USB-c PD charging. This may seem like a small thing at first glance, but after a decent amount of time with a device that sports the feature, I can confidently say: It`s amazing and hopefully become the standard in the future.
I/O is decent but not amazing. The Zephyrus comes with one USB-C port, 2 USB A ports, a full-sized HDMI port, and a 1GB ethernet connection. I definitely would have preferred a 10GB option for networking, since in my case, the Zephyrus Duo 15 Se is linked up to my Studio Tower via network cable and lets me access tons of Archives on the Big PC while having all the cool new features of the 2021 machine. Furthermore, the notebook comes with a combi jack for Audio/Mic and a micro SD-Card reader. While a full sd card reader would have hurt, it`s not that big of a deal nowadays. You can just use an adapter for your micro-sd to sd to use them in your gear(for example a DSLR camera).
The Zephyrus Duo as a Daily Driver
It actually fares unexpectedly well in that department. While it has some weight in its ribs, it is still extremely thin and feels compact. The battery endurance and USB-C Power Delivery also helps tremendously when used as a daily driver. The second screen, without a question, is a delight to use in most if not all instances. I usually only turn it off if I want to get even more hours out of my Zephyrus Duo without external electricity sources.
The next incredibly amazing feature that solidifies it further as an allrounder on top of being a performance machine is the fact that you can literally go silent.
In silent mode with the discrete GPU disabled, the Zephyrus is usually on 0RPM on the GPU as well as the CPU fan. And this is something that you have to experience for yourself. Lieng on your bed and watching Netflix with a Laptop that immits literally no sound is simply amazing.
If the Zephyrus Duo is a good daily driver for you or not heavily depends on you as a user. It is a perfect fit for many creatives and professionals such as animators, §D modeling artists, engineers, and Music Producers.
Gaming performance is a blast with this device. The high TGP RTX3060 delivers superb frame rates in every game I tested including the most graphically demanding current titles. I think the Duo is so much more than a mere Gaming laptop. However, if you are interested in gaming, this is one of the best Laptops you can get. The cooling holds up incredibly well and therefore pushes out more frames per second if you directly compare it to other 3060 Laptops. Asus is able to push more current through the GPU that also comes with the latest feature set of 3000 series RTX cards like DLSS.
While for many, something like the Dell XPS line, the Razer Line, or even the G14 from Asus is probably the right choice as a daily driver. As a multi-disciplinary content creator, I can confidently say that this is what I prefer in most circumstances. I do not consider the Zephyrus Duo 15 Se bulky. It may be not the lightest Laptop on this planet, but in its own class of Super Laptops, it is the slimmest and light. The Zephyrus Duo`s Design is in my humble opinion, one of the most sophisticated Laptops ever created by humanity.
Asus Rog is without a question, the boldest and innovative company when it comes to mobile computing. No other company manages to capture the moment as they have recently with the Duo and the beloved G14. They do what others are too afraid to do. This laptop is as much designed for the masses as a Lamborghini Aventador. It`s a Masterpiece of engineering. While it is heavily advertised as a gaming laptop, the Zephyrus Duo is so much more. I believe the best-case scenario would be a high-level creative person owning the laptop.