Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Ctrl+Alt+Del: You should ditch your external monitor for a dual-screen laptop

OPINION: Ever since 2020, working from home has become the new norm for a lot of people. But not everyone has the space or money to facilitate a productive set-up at home, which is where dual-screen laptops come in.

Depending on your job, you may have spent the last three years working from home in some capacity. If you’re anything like me, your office may double as your bedroom or, wherever you work, you may have limited space – and funding – to create a truly productive environment. My tiny foldable desk isn’t built to support multiple monitors and, even if it was, I haven’t had the time nor the money to invest in a PC that would make the most of them. Multiple monitor setups can be great, but they simply don’t work for everyone.

The problem gets worse if you’re someone working with graphically intensive workloads. Some smaller productivity monitors can be found online for a reasonable price but those who need to work on a colour-accurate display will find that external monitors are a pricey endeavour. 

All this is to say, working from home without an adequate setup can massively impact how well you work. And, if you’ve had the pleasure of working with multiple displays, more screen space almost always allows for better productivity – whether you’re editing images or writing up a report with multiple reference points required. That’s where dual-screen laptops come in.

Until I got to spend some time with the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED (2023) recently, my experience with these intriguing devices was limited. Ignoring the impressive inner specs – which include an Nvidia RTX 4070 GPU and 13th-Gen Intel Core i9 processor – the most notable aspect of this laptop is that it features not one, but two displays. 

The smaller display, dubbed the ScreenPad Plus, is located just above the keyboard. It sits on a hinge that puts it at an elevated angle when the laptop is open. I’ve been testing this device for an upcoming review but I can say right now: I really love the ScreenPad Plus.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+

The Home of Apple Originals. Enjoy star-studded, award-winning series, films, and more.  Grab your 7 day free trial now.

  • Apple
  • 7-day free trial
  • £8.99 p/m
Sign up

The ScreenPad Plus works just as an external monitor would, only smaller. I was able to view Slack channels, flip between songs on Spotify and reference web pages all in one place, completely negating the need for any extra hardware. 

Obviously, the ScreenPad Plus is smaller than a traditional screen and has a distinctive rectangular shape, which did take a little time to get used to. But these downsides are massively outweighed by its portability. Traditional monitors are not portable so, even if you have one at home, you won’t be getting the benefits of it if you want to work on the train or knock out a few hours in your local library.

With a dual-screen laptop, however, you have two monitors wherever you go. I could work for a few hours on my balcony while the sun was shining, pop the laptop into my bag and have the exact same experience down the road at my local coffee shop – all without sacrificing my secondary screen. It’s an elegant solution that’s compact and portable, and ideal for the hybrid working environment.

Two screens on Zenbook Pro 14 Duo
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

And it doesn’t stop at productivity work. Gaming and creativivity workloads benefit too, further foregoing the need for specialist and often hefty external monitors. I was able to play games on the main screen while video calling my friends on the second, with apps like Discord functioning as normal. For creative professionals, happily arrange your colour palettes on the smaller display while drawing on the larger display and, once you’re done, throw your laptop into your bag and out of sight. I’m convinced – dual-screen laptops are the way forward for those who don’t have the space or funding for external monitors.

For productivity workers, the cheaper Asus Zenbook Duo 14 may be the best way to go. It comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect for a work laptop and costs $1299.99/£1199.99, putting it on par with a lot of other premium productivity devices. And there are plenty of other options out there for everyone else, with Asus offering up dual-screen displays that are more than capable of running games or tackling heavyweight creative tasks.

I can only imagine that these devices will become more popular and accessible over time, hopefully bridging the gap for many people that are working from home and struggling with it. Not all the issues have been ironed out just yet – with the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED having a notably disappointing battery life – but I would urge anyone who does work from home to try out a dual-screened laptop before investing in another large and costly external monitor. 

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is our weekly computing-focused opinion column where we delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon. 

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.

Trusted Reviews Logo

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the best of Trusted Reviews delivered right to your inbox.

This is a test error message with some extra words