The 8 Best Dual Screen Laptops of 2021

Kaelum Ross

I

Mar 26, 2021

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Of all the innovative portable technology we’ve come across, nothing meets the “once you use it, you’ll struggle to go back” category more than a dual-screen laptop.

These revolutionary setups include a second monitor underneath your main display.

Back in 2019 when introduced, some sites wrote off dual display laptops as a gimmick or distraction.

But with the recent new iterations and dramatic improvement in their quality, as well as more publications actually getting to try them, it is fast becoming the next generation of laptops for video editing, productivity, and even gaming/general use.

So, today’s feature is here to guide you through the best dual-screen laptops available today for the varying requirements of our readers.

We’ll also discuss the ins-and-outs of this type of laptop towards the bottom of the article.

Top Picks

Best of the Rest: Quick-Fire Picks

Overall Best Dual Screen Laptop: ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

There are a lot of great options in the multi-screen laptop space, but when it comes to the overall best for designers, editors, and other high-end use, nothing comes close to the ZenBook Pro Duo.

There is so much to love about this offering, but let’s start with the obvious…

The included ASUS ScreenPad Plus is often considered one of the best second-monitors available today; its specs and software capability combine to provide unmatched productivity options for creatives/professionals compared to any other laptop technology today.

Boasting 4K OLED IPS touchscreens for both your main screen (3840×2160) & the ScreenPad Plus (3840×1100) with excellent HDR capability, bright 400-nits and a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, these displays are all capable of an incredible picture.

We really appreciate how ASUS has matched the specs of the main screen with the secondary monitor. Not only do they both have wonderful pictures suitable for professionals, media, and gamers alike, but there are also tonnes of pre-built and customizable utilities across applications:

  • For photographers, artists, and other designers -> You have the capability to use the second screen for most of your UI (clearing up the main screen), specific favorite shortcuts, and/or a zoomed version of your picture/design for detail touch-up.
  • For programmers – > Code windows can be extended by nearly 50% or the bottom panel can be used to display debugs, previews (or even a video call if you’re multi-tasking).
  • For general use -> Quick app accessibility, displaying the same content across multiple screens, writing notes while watching a main-screen video, the possibilities are huge.

We could go on for music producers, video editors, and many more, but you probably get the idea.

Nearly every popular program today (from Photoshop to Visual Studio) has customizability to get exactly the setup you want with your screen layout, and the ZenBook Pro Duo makes this all the easier with plenty of presets available.

With the inclusion of the high-quality active stylus and excellent pressure variability on both screens, we really can’t think of a type of user that will be left wanting more from a design/note-taking perspective either.

Ergonomically, the setup feels carefully designed for your head to alternate between the two screens without discomfort, with a very thin bezel between the two displays and a slight tilt in the bottom half of the laptop to create a more comfortable angle (these may sound minor, but its subtle features like this that can make or break an experience long-term, and ASUS has refined the Duo in these important nuanced ways).

What makes this offering extra special is that it doesn’t compromise elsewhere in its hardware, either.

Lead by a powerful Intel 10th gen core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, and a very capable RTX 2060 GPU, the machine is clearly made with smooth operation in mind, including decent specs available for 4k video editing, advanced designers, and even gamers.

(We do, however, have some slightly better picks if your only focus is gaming further below).

With an enormous 1TB PCIe solid-state drive included, we’re pleased to see the storage solution is appropriately sized for creative demands too.

We are recommending the 16GB/i7-10750H model as we think this represents the best value point. If you have the extra budget, 32GB RAM & an i9-10980K CPU is a very impressive upgrade, but not required for you to have a premium laptop experience.

Is there anything we don’t like about the Pro Duo?

Well, to be honest; very little. This dual-screen ASUS laptop excels across the board.

One thing we would point out is a challenge you will get with most dual-screen laptops; the keyboard placement requires some getting used to.

Because these laptops have a second screen built-in, the keyboard is pushed to the very bottom of the machine, and the trackpad to the right (instead of its usual under-keyboard alignment).

Mostly, it just requires some muscle-memory relearning to get used to the new trackpad placement.

But one genuine disadvantage is not having a comfortable area on the laptop for your wrists to sit.

This is a minor problem, and ASUS has mitigated it by including a very comfortable palm rest that connects to the Pro Duo (you can see this in our cover photo).

Price-wise, yes this is an expensive laptop, but with everything on offer, we are pleasantly surprised by the value included.

When you consider the great CPU, RAM, GPU & storage accompanying the machine’s base specs and how both displays are some of the best 4k screens we’ve come across, it doesn’t feel like you’re just paying an unfair premium for the second display.

If you are a productivity user, we think the combination of powerful specs and the utility of the ScreenPad Plus could be treated as an investment that can markedly improve your output.

Still, we appreciate this not everyone will have the budget for this, and some of our options below (including the next one) are notably cheaper for you.

The battery life ranges from about 3-6 hours depending on usage. This may seem low for an average laptop, but considering the power-capability on display here, we’re pleasantly surprised it can still clock a few hours without charge.

Finally, the Pro Duo has the build quality we hope for from a premium laptop.

With a full aluminum exterior, very high-quality hinges, a tactile/satisfying keyboard, and a striking design, this is a rugged product that feels built for longevity.

It even demonstrates this by meeting the US MIL-STD 810G military-grade standard, a certification that involves tests with high-pressures, salt fog, light rain/water spray, and certain levels of mechanical shock.

The thermal design is impressively managed to keep the system under control; benchmarks have recorded high temperatures during very demanding activity, but never beyond the realm of normality for a powerful PC.

With everything said, we are simply floored by what a fantastic offering the ZenBook Pro Duo is.

Ticking pretty much every box we could hope for in displays, specs, software, and build quality, this is not just our top pick for the best dual-screen laptop available today, but one of the best PCs available in any category.

Best Cheap Dual Screen Laptop: ASUS ZenBook Duo

Now, as much as we love the Pro Duo, ASUS has crafted a budget dual-screen laptop that is equally compelling relative to its attractive price range.

Note: Don’t be deceived by the lack of Amazon reviews on this product, the UX482 is the newest Duo iteration and improvement on the already popular UX481 model – You can consider both, but if they are similarly priced, we highly recommend the new model.

The tech world has come out in near-unanimous praise for the new ZenBook Duo version, with its leading feature being an automatic-tilting ScreenPad Plus that provides an additional 7 degrees tilt for better ergonomics, viewing angles and airflow.

On top of that, this new Duo model comes with some great specs for a mid-range machine.

With a Core i5-1135G7 Processor (with onboard Iris X graphics), 8GB RAM, and 512GB storage; you are, of course, not going to get the same performance as you do on the Duo Pro with its superior specs and standalone graphics card.

But for cheap to mid-range use, this laptop still packs a punch with the 11th gen Intel CPU leading the charge and would be great for general, media, and production users on a budget.

Screen-wise, the UX482 boasts 14-inch + 12.65-inch duo full HD touch IPS panels that still get nice, bright, and colorful with 400-nits and a 100% sRGB color gamut.

The picture quality won’t be as good as the Pro Duo’s 4K HDR screen but is legitimately impressive for the price with everything else included in the offering.

Port-wise, the ZenBook Duo feels nicely up-to-date too; with HDMI 1.4, 2 x Thunderbolt 4 Type-C USB ports, 1 x USB 3.2 gen 1 & decent onboard audio, Wi-fi, and Bluetooth, no corners feel cut on its outputs and we appreciate the double type-C ports.

With military-grade 810H testing certification, sturdy material, similarly tactile keyboard, and a beautiful aesthetic, the ZenBook Duo is still a laptop with a build quality that is rarely rivaled at its budget.

Sure, the Pro Duo feels like the all-encompassing choice, but we’re still really impressed by all of the boxes the Duo manages to tick at its price-point. Even without the second screen, this would feel like a decent, high-quality offering.

But with the duo display in mind as well? If you’re looking for a cheap multi-screen laptop, not only is this latest Duo a compelling offering, but also one that offers fantastic value for what you’re paying.

Best Dual Screen Gaming Laptop: ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo SE GX551

The ZenBook Pro Duo, with its decent CPU and standalone GPU, can pack a decent punch for dual-screen laptop gaming.

But if gaming is your main focus, then the Zephyrus Duo is a simply incredible choice (and also has plenty of capabilities elsewhere).

Important note: The linked model has low reviews due to being brand new on the market – the Zephyrus Duo is already a formidable, popular gaming choice, but we highly recommend the newest models with the RTX 3000 series cards

The specs on the latest GX551 model are simply mouth-watering.

Starting with screens, ASUS offers 2 main-panel versions of the Duo SE:

  1. Full HD 300Hz IPS, 100% sRGB Color Gamut
  2. 4k UHD 120Hz IPS, 100% Adobe RGB Color Gamut 

Both of these panels also offer an excellent 3ms response time, G-sync compatability & fantastic blacks/whites; all these specs add up to 2 of the best gaming laptop screens available today.

We focus on option 1 in this recommendation, as the additional frame rate is very compelling for competitive/online gamers (if you purely play single-player/immersive titles or also need a UHD screen for work, the 4K option is certainly a great choice too).

The second display on both models offers a fantastic picture quality rivaling the ZenBook Duo Pro.

Not only does the second monitor boast a great ergonomic tilt, but also some brilliant software for gamers and creators alike.

We’ve already discussed what fantastic utility a dual-screen can offer for productive users, but gamers also have some fantastic options available:

  1. Many modern titles work with the ROG ScreenPad Plus to offer UI menus on the secondary screen (also reducing on the main screen).
    • Anything from quests in single-player titles to top builds/metrics in competitive games/MMOs
  2. Core hardware thermal UI options if you are focused on temp control or even overclocking.
  3. Easily one of the best streaming laptops for Twitch and more; with a game on the main display and stats/chat/camera angles on the sub-screen.
  4. Any other second screen software you could find useful, our favorite examples being Discord, Skype, or TeamSpeak.
  5. If you’re a fan of CEMU, this also happens to be the perfect PC to emulate Wii U/DS games (with the best way on the market to emulate these consoles’ second screens).

What’s even more impressive is that the laptop actually has the hardware to accommodate both 4k @ 120 fps & full HD @ 300 fps in many titles (of course, brand new games won’t max out these specs at the highest settings, but you’ll still get performance unrivaled by most other gaming laptops).

Boasting a fresh-on-the-market premium AMD Rzyen 9 5900HX CPU, 32GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB SSD &, of course, its all-powerful RTX 3070 GPU, there is little more to be desired spec-wise.

Whether you’re after immersive titles like Cyberpunk 2077/Red Dead Redemption 2, competitive games like Overwatch/Fornite/League, or a VR-ready PC, the GX551 is very capable of ticking all the boxes (and is also a compelling offering for high-end video editing/design).

Boasting decent battery life for a double screen laptop, rugged aluminum build quality, and striking design, the GX551 remains surprisingly portable for its 15.6″ form factor and is a true sight to behold and use.

The keyboard, with its beautiful custom RGB layout, is equally stunning; it’s tactile and responsive relative to many other gaming keyboards – > we certainly don’t rank it up there with the best mechanical keyboard offerings, but still perfectly capable of high-level gaming.

If you love the look of this machine but are looking for something cheaper, you can check out our next pick directly below, or the Full HD RTX 3060 version of the Duo SE (still great specs for a premium gaming laptop).

And of course, if you want to max our future-proofing capabilities, the RTX 3080 model will take you even further and have the ability to climb higher FPS/settings on very demanding games.

But overall, we think this highlighted model is the best sweet-spot choice, and appreciate that its a fantastic option for someone focussing on production work as well as gaming.

If you have the budget, know that we don’t just rank the RTX 3070 Duo SE as one of the best dual screen gaming laptops, but one of the top laptops for gaming in any market category today.

Best Budget Dual Screen Gaming Laptop: OMEN X 2S

While the RTX 3060 version of the Zephyrus Duo SE 15 mentioned above is going to represent the top choice for those after the best cheap dual-screen gaming laptop, if it’s out of stock or you’re lucky to see this next pick on offer, the OMEN X 2S packs a great punch.

Lead by its Intel i7-9750H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU 8, 16 GB RAM & a 512 GB SSD, despite its lower price-tag, the X 2S is still capable of decent gaming at great refresh rates.

Speaking of refresh rates, the 2S boasts a G-Sync enabled 144hz full HD main screen with an IPS panel and decent colors/contrast suitable for high-speed gaming.

One of the most impressive specs of the 2S is the second screen. Despite clocking in at just 5.98-inches diagonally, it’s still full HD with another bright IPS panel.

Even with the more modest specs of this HP dual-screen laptop, the second display is still crystal clear and feels beautiful to use for secondary content.

Another standout feature of the 2S is its fantastic speaker setup designed by Bang & Olufsen.

While we would never recommend any laptop speaks as your main audio solution when some fantastic headphones exist for just that, it’s still a great back-up and worthy for sharing content/media with others.

Another sturdily built device, the 2S looks very sharp, with its tough hinge, tactile RGB keyboard, and thermal design suitable for its specs, there’s little to complain about in the laptop’s physical longevity.

So, all in all, this is an impressive double screen gaming laptop.

The main problem with the OMEN X 2S is simply its spec age; the RTX 2070-MAX Q still packs a decent punch and is perfectly capable of high refresh rates in most competitive titles and great settings on new games.

But with the RTX 3000 series now on the market, it’s not that 2070 is automatically redundant, but an RTX 3060 dual-screen laptop will usually provide better value if you can stretch to it.

Also, it’s worth pointing out the second screen is complete without tilt; something more common in the first dual-screen laptop generation (this is a little bit of a personal preference, but we expect most users to prefer to ergonomics of a 2nd monitor lifted up by at least a few degrees).

So, as good as this offering is, you can probably see why we would push you towards the cheap ASUS RTX 3060 offering if you can afford just a little more.

But if the 2S’s slightly lower price tag makes the difference, or you simply like the specs/approach of the OMEN X 2S, then know it’s a fantastic budget dual-screen gaming laptop.

Best Dual Screen Laptop for Business: Lenovo ThinkBook Plus

Our last main choice is a step in a different direction for a double screen laptop.

Lenovo is a powerhouse brand in the world of business-class computers, and the ThinkBook Plus represents their latest innovations in productivity for office/meeting spaces.

Instead of the usual second screen underneath the main display, the Plus adopts a screen on the other side of the monitor lid.

This may sound a bit counter-intuitive for productivity, but in the world of business settings and intensively-overstimulating modern work environments, Lenovo has come up with a new take.

The Plus’s second screen is a gorgeous full HD e-ink touch display.

Alongside the high-quality included stylus pen, this e-ink monitor, similar to those found on a Kindle (but higher-quality) is designed to be used while the laptop is closed; think of the environments where having a laptop fully out is awkward – meetings, commutes, quick impromptu sessions – these kinds of settings is where the Plus excels.

What’s more, those environments are where an e-ink display is more than suitable; anything from quick note-taking, drawing diagrams to explain a concept, reading documents/news content.

It may sound like a gimmick, but an e-ink screen on a closed laptop is notably less intrusive and easier to hold in these settings.

Also, anyone who works in modern screen-focussed jobs knows how subtlely exhausting it can be to look at business content on a bright monitor all day (especially when these are often office documents/spreadsheets, black text on white backgrounds can be subtle fatiguing to the human brain over long stretches of time).

This very notion is why so many modern workers still love notes/minutes on good old-fashioned paper.

But I think the ThinkBook’s responsive e-ink touch display represents a great next step for this type of use – > collating, organizing, and editing notes on a PC is so much easier than physical pads – The Plus offers easy integration to popular apps like OneNote to transfer and manage your business notes, diagrams and more.

So, we don’t just appreciate the ThinkBook Plus from a productivity perspective, but also an ergonomic one; Lenovo has designed this setup to give work users a much-needed eye break.

But with all that said, we know working on the main display is still the dominating part of most business users’ days, and that’s what makes the Plus such a compelling offering; it still excels as a single-screen laptop.

Boasting a Core i7 i7-10510U CPU, 16 GB RAM & a 512 GB SSD, the hardware is more than capable of great general use, advanced office applications (including intensive spreadsheet capability) and perfect for multi-tasking (video calls, etc.).

The main display is also beautiful, its 13.3″ size keeping it portable for the previously described closed-top use, while still remaining large enough for productivity. Tied with an FHD resolution, IPS panel and decent contrast/color gamut, it’s gorgeous for viewing various content (including media).

The Plus’s specs hit a perfect sweet-spot for business laptop users; anything more wouldn’t provide a marked improvement for most, but anything less would begin to deteriorate its experience and longevity/future-proofing.

If you are focused on modern non-design work, or simply love the idea of an e-ink option for your content, we think Lenovo has created a special unique laptop here.

It’s a worthy purchase if you prefer its utility to the other dual-screen Windows laptops we’ve covered today.

Alternative Picks – Best of the Rest

While the top 5 dual-screen laptops are our picks for the best of the category, there are a few more options that may be worth considering if you have a niche requirement, we’ve added them as quick-fire choices below.

Cheapest Dual Screen Laptop: ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481

The UX481 is the previous generation of our top budget pick, the ZenBook Duo UX482.

The specs on this last iteration are, of course, not as good as the new model.

But if your usage is fairly basic and you’re looking for the cheapest multi-screen laptop possible, we’re seeing these models occasionally discounted at really impressive rates, it’s still a great general use/productivity PC if you are on a tighter budget.

Best Dual Screen MacBook: New Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch

For Apple fans or those that rely on Mac OS, we didn’t want to completely miss you out.

While calling any MacBook a dual-screen laptop is a bit of a stretch, the newest 16-inch pro model comes with a mini-LED strip above the keyboard designed to be customizable with different software for your key options (e.g. color sliders, and other settings that are more easily selected with touch).

With its tiny size, you’re not going to get the productivity joy of our other top picks, but the MacBook Pro has a lot going for it, and this mini screen is a step in the right direction for improved creative setups.

Alternative Budget Dual Screen Laptop: ASUS UX534FTC-AS77 ZenBook 15

The model underneath the Duo and Duo Pro, the ZenBook 15 is marketed as a cheaper option, putting more of its value focus on its main screen.

For an impressive price, you’re getting a gorgeous 4k IPS screen with some decent mid-range specs to accommodate it.

The second screen is integrated into the trackpad, which won’t give you the same next-generation experience as the Duo.

But if your budget is very tight and you need to focus on the specs of your main display for creative work, this is a great alternative.

How we chose the best dual-screen laptops

With appreciation to how a new dual screen laptop is an important investment, a lot of research and deliberation has been put into the various factors that decide what we consider to be the top choices.

We’ve balanced lots of details/nuances that won’t be completely covered here, but the below headings make up a majority of the ranking factors and what is most important for users:

Hardware specifications

It doesn’t matter how gorgeous a dual laptop’s screens are if you don’t have the specs to make use of them.

At the forefront of our decision-making is ensuring that the CPU, RAM, GPU, and storage on offer for our top choices are appropriate for the needs of the specified user.

The ZenBook Pro Duo, for example, balances premium specs suitable for every type of creative professional, including 4k content producers, while not compromising on capabilities for general users and even offering some gaming prowess for those that have entertainment as their secondary concern.

While for those that have gaming at the heart of their decision-making, we have chosen the Zephyrus Duo which, similarly to the Pro Duo, has great all-around specs, but with more of a budget focus on its graphics card to maximize settings and FPS in games.

We’ve also ensured our budget picks like the ZenBook Duo boast enough power to consider them suitable for comfortably running their duo screen setup even at a cheaper price range.

Screen quality

The capability of both the main and secondary screens has been a fundamental part of choosing our top picks.

We appreciate that many creative professionals or those after a premium experience are focused on display capability. 

What in Tech has lots of experience reviewing various monitor categories and appreciate how important panel type, contrast ratio, nits-rating, color gamuts, and more can affect the overall quality.

So as well as focussing on the obvious areas like resolution and screen-size, we’ve ensured our top options balance these other vital secondary specs that really maximize how good your picture is.

We’re pleased to say the display specs of our top options, particularly the ZenBook Pro Duo and Zephyrus Duo, are up to the challenge of virtually any type of professional/creative user.

For gamers, we’ve retained a focus on excellent picture quality, but also ensured our top options (the Zephyrus Duo and HP X 2S) boast high refresh rates and low response times, both integral to a high-quality gaming experience.

For budget users, we’ve offered the option to choose between the next-gen dual-screen setup of the ZenBook Duo, still boasting gorgeous FHD screens, or the ASUS ZenBook, which only has a second screen on its trackpad, but boasts a superior 4k main display if that is particularly important to you.

Build quality

With the purchase of an innovative new laptop, we know a focus for users will be on the physical longevity of your prospective device.

A notable part of the ranking has included consideration for the build quality of each laptop (material used, hinges, any relevant certifications, etc.), many of the offerings are also existing popular products which have allowed us to understand the number of users with issues or any challenges with warranty/customer service.

We’re pleased to report that dual-screen laptop manufacturers seemed to have recognized that these offerings, with their notable price-tags, needed to be made to last.

All of our choices are made of decent material and boast quality not always seen at their respective price-range (the top ASUS picks take this even further with their military-grade certifications).

Our build ranking extended to the ergonomics of the choices too; we’ve considered the tactility and responsivity of keyboards, the pressure sensitivity of touch screens & the angle to which the laptops can open.

And finally, we’ve also considered the second screen placement as a qualitative factor; most notably if the screen tilts to a comfortable angle for viewing/drawing, as well as the size of the bezel in between the screens (thinner frames ranking higher).

Dual Screen Laptop 2

Thermal solution

Throughout the research and deliberation of how to rank each 2 screen laptop, we’ve put real stock into how devices perform in various thermal/cooling benchmarks, and if their results are acceptable for their relative power outputs.

We are pleased to report that for the most part, the offerings on display throughout this feature have thermal designs, including intelligent fan/heatpipe placements, that work to efficiently cool the systems.

There have been some examples of thermal throttling seen online, even across the top options, but these have usually been minor cases and, to an extent, to be expected with such advanced hardware/screen setups.

Battery life

We’ve stated throughout this guide that the battery life of dual-screen laptops isn’t on par with traditional portable computers; you can expect to achieve between 2.5-6 hours for most offerings (which is still impressive for the amount of power draw a 2 screen setup & premium hardware demands).

Despite this, we’ve still been sure to consider the variability in battery life between our top options as a ranking factor, with the ZenBook Pro Duo and Duo boasting some of the best batteries of the options on the list.

Software & user experience

The best part of having a laptop with 2 screens is simply being able to use the second screen for whatever you want; dragging, dropping, and customizing any type of window you can think of.

Although with that said, we think with this category, it was prudent to provide some slight extra ranking favor to ASUS, which specifically has some decent software availability to make exploiting the utility of a second screen as easy as possible (especially for the new ZenBook Duo model, with access to ASUS ControlPanel, a revamped set of UI options for popular design/productivity software).

We ranked the ZenBooks and Zephyrus offerings at the top for much more than the improved user experience, but it is still an appreciated value-add that is worth calling out.

Ports

All picks have suitable ports for most users, but we have included some consideration in our rankings for those that excel at providing excellent outputs.

The new ZenBook Duo model, for instance, pleasantly including 2 x USB Thunderbolt 4 type-C ports, is an impressive feature at the budget,  and is a nice recognition for the many creatives focussed on these picks, who will undoubtedly benefit from high transfer rate options.

Price

We haven’t just dubbed the most expensive laptop the best choice (if we had, we’d be recommending the premium RTX 3080 Zephyrus Duo to everybody!).

While some of our top picks are high-end choices, we’ve ranked based on value to the end-user for different requirements.

The ThinkPad Plus, for example, is more modestly specced, which is a better value offering for business users who don’t necessarily need high refresh rates, 4k screens, powerful GPUs, etc.

While the ZenBook Pro Duo better balances the screen & hardware demands of both professional creatives and users after a premium experience across any function, specifically recommending the cheaper version, which we think represents a better sweet-spot than the 32GB option.

The same consideration has been made for our budget picks (ranking less expensive dual-screen laptops based on their value/capability, not just on which is the cheapest, the latest ZenBook Duo is the clear stand-out with this in mind).

Sound (low importance)

Although not a heavy factor, we’ve considered the speaker sound quality in the above picks during our rankings; as you can expect with modern laptops, no speakers represent sound good enough for primary use, and we’d always recommend a speaker/headphone setup.

That said, the speakers on display in many of these devices are perfectly serviceable for sharing basic content with others/simple use – the HP X 2S, in particular, have impressive speakers as far as laptops go.

In terms of onboard codecs for audio input, there wasn’t a notable difference between any of the options, all capable of outputting great sound with a decent pair of headphones.

Dual Screen Laptop 3

What is a dual-screen laptop?

A dual-screen laptop is designed to offer an experience that rivals modern multi-display desktop setups all within a portable laptop unit.

This is done by placing a second screen directly on top of the keyboard area.

This is the ideal placement as it ensures that only a thin bezel lies between the main and secondary screens. Ergonomically, it allows users to quickly look between the two screens comfortably, even for longer sessions.

Some critics initially wrote this off as a gimmick, but that’s become a less popular opinion the more we’ve seen how exciting the possibilities of a laptop with 2 screens are:

  • Most dual-screen laptops (especially ASUS) have preset software for popular programs to maximize your workspace (e.g. Photoshop UI on the bottom screen with pictures/drawings maximized on top)
  • Even when there aren’t presets available, customization offers endless options, such as:
    • Your most important work settings to declutter the main screen
    • Note-taking during a main screen video lecture
    • Skype/Discord call and chat while main screen gaming

These are just some examples. With the ability to place any content on the secondary display, the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination; dual-screen laptops are an innovation that is likely here to stay because they provide so much utility for creatives, professionals, and general users.

Are dual-screen laptops worth it?

Do you need a laptop with 2 displays? No, a traditional portable computer with decent hardware is still capable of the essentials for most.

However, we think in a lot of cases, choosing one of the top picks above is more than worth the price for a few reasons.

The most significant one is that, with everything else these offerings provide, the premium you’re paying for the dual-screen isn’t nearly as bad as many other laptop innovations and feels like a fantastic value add for most users.

Consider our top pick, the ZenBook Pro Duo.

Even if you take away the second screen, you are still left with one of the most stunning primary 4K HDR IPS displays, a fantastic CPU, GPU, and RAM capacity for modern computing, an incredibly striking design and build quality that is both fined-tuned for ergonomics and physical longevity.

The premium choices aren’t just good for their second monitor, they tick all the boxes we expect from any high-end PC without corner-cutting.

And if you’re a lower/mid-range user without the budget, the ZenBook Duo is an equally compelling example; competing with many other cheaper single-screen offerings at its price range.

Yes, there is a premium for a duo screen laptop, but:

For creatives and professionals, we would argue the productivity-gains from the second monitor will quickly outweigh the additional cost (in other words, it’s a decent investment).

For gamers, there are certainly some great single-screen options, but there’s a reason why most desktop-gamer setups have a second monitor; not having easy access to other content like Discord calls, guides, or streaming when your main screen is focussed on your game can be frustrating. You don’t need a second screen, but it’s a fantastic upgrade and worth the extra budget if you have it.

We also like that the specs of our top choices tend to lend them well to all sorts of different types of computing.

In other words, you’re not paying for just one type of device; the ZenBook Pro Duo or ROG Zephyrus Duo could both comfortably operate as a 4k video editing PC, a gaming laptop, a media device, and accommodate a majority of other mainstream demands.

With all that said, there are a couple of situations you may want to consider a more traditional laptop:

Low budgets – While we think the extra cost is worth the value-add for most people, we appreciate they are still more expensive than the average laptop. If you find yourself unable to accommodate the cheaper picks comfortably, then we would recommend focussing on the budget options of our longest-lasting laptop feature.

Ultra-portable requirements – Dual screen offerings are very capable of being moved around (especially with their sturdy build qualities) – however – if you are the kind of user who is very rarely settled in one location for more than an hour, prefers using a PC on your lap or is often without an outlet for more than a few hours at a time, DS laptops may not be the best choice due to their low battery life and better alignment on a desk. If this describes you, there are some traditional options more suitable.

For most users, however, 2-screen offerings are easily the best multi-tasking laptops available today and worth the money if your budget allows.

Final Word

And there you have it! The above picks are not just what we think are the best dual-screen laptops available, but with consideration to the incredible specs, build qualities, and value of picks like the ZenBook Pro Duo and Zephyrus Duo, we’d go as far as to call these some of the best laptops available for gaming, video editing, visual work, and other productivity/entertainment goals across any category.

So yes, there is a premium for a second screen. But as far as premium laptops go, this is one of the greatest additions in many, many years to portable innovation. Investing in one for your next laptop isn’t just exciting, but also opens up so many creative ways to maximize productivity and enjoy your entertainment.

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