Dual-screen laptop clone puts a tempting price tag on poor design

Foldable smartphones are starting to become more mainstream, so it’s not that surprising that even laptops are slowly starting to follow suit. These computers with large foldable screens are admittedly a harder sell, but it’s not the only “foldable” design available for laptops. There was a point in time when it seemed more feasible, not to mention more practical, to have a dual-screen laptop than a single foldable screen. But while those do exist, they tend to carry a pretty hefty price tag for what can be considered new and experimental technologies. An affordable option like this dual-screen laptop that seemingly popped up out of nowhere would normally be a welcome arrival, except for the fact that it fails to deliver the benefits of having two screens instead of one.

Designer: SZBOX

A dual-screen foldable device isn’t exactly that new and smartphones with this design came out way before there were foldable phones. Those designs were a bit awkward, though, especially considering a phone or tablet is often considered to have a single, unified screen. A laptop with two screens, on the other hand, seems to be a bit more useful. You still have a whole screen if you need it but can span the content across two screens if you want to. It’s like having a second screen permanently attached to the laptop, except that that second screen can function as your keyboard or drawing canvas as well.

In theory, this design should be more practical and less expensive to make since there are no experimental or expensive components like flexible displays and specially designed hinges. In practice, however, they’re still just as expensive as foldable laptops because of production and market dynamics. The SZBOX DS135D dual-screen laptop from a lesser-known Chinese brand is trying to impress buyers with its $699 starting price. The only problem is that the specs, design, and configuration of this device will prove to be more trouble than it’s worth.

The Intel N100 processor is an underwhelming piece of silicon, even when paired with 16GB of RAM. Since it’s running Windows 11 on two, large 13.5-inch touch screens, it will have to take on more work than it should normally be capable of. And while you can use one of the screens as the virtual keyboard for the laptop, experience has proven time and again that people will only use that as a final resort. Most will prefer a Bluetooth keyboard in this situation, and that price tag doesn’t include one. Neither does it include the stylus it advertises to be such a helpful tool, leaving buyers trying to figure out which pens are compatible in the first place.

The design of this dual-screen laptop also differs from others in that it doesn’t seem to fold beyond 180 degrees. In other words, you can’t fold it backward and use it like a tablet, let alone in a tent mode for sharing content with others around you. The SZBOX DS135D functions pretty much like a laptop with a second screen permanently attached, and that is also how it’s advertised to be used. While it could still potentially do more than a regular laptop, its mediocre hardware might not be up to the task anyway. Making a product more affordable is definitely commendable, but not if it results in a crippled and unpleasant experience.