Asus puts color e-paper screen on a Zephyrus G14 lid: Dali concept brings a new level of customization to gaming laptops

Asus Dali
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Asus' Dali laptop concept puts a color e-paper display on the lid of its Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop, for seemingly limitless customization. Except this is still a concept, so who knows if the company will ever bring the idea to market. And the software, at least in its current state here at Computex in Taipei, would only let you apply several pre-rendered stickers, or apply some AI-generated art. 

According to an Asus representative at the company's Taiwan headquarters, the 12-inch e-ink screen on the lid has a resolution of 1600 x 1200, and delivers 6 colors, with other shades presumably created by a mixture of those hues. While other details about the laptop concept are slim to none at this point, we can say that, in person, the colors appeared more vivid than in many other e-paper displays we've seen, but that it also took about 20 seconds to apply most images to the lid via software – and there was some serious strobe-like flashing as the images are applied.

As someone who recently bought a new laptop and is still considering what stickers to put on the lid, the idea of being able to add electronic "stickers" to my laptop's lid and change them whenever I want does intrigue me. And I like the fact that, since this is electronic paper, the images on the lid won't be sipping on the battery once they're applied, unlike Asus' previous AniMatrix display on the lid of the 2020-era Zephyrus G14.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

I didn't get much of a chance to play with the Dali software, which is where you create the images and apply them to the laptop's lid. But what I saw seemed pretty basic, letting you move around and resize multiple stickers and pre-loaded images. There were three tabs: Curated Designs (a library of wallpapers to choose from), Manual Editing (allowed you to enter text and drag a few pre-made "stickers" around the screen) and Tweakable Designs.

The last of these was a rudimentary AI image generator that cycled through variations of colored lines until Asus' rep settled on one he liked and applied it to the lid. Again, the latter part of that process takes several seconds where the lid's display appears to strobe.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

This is not exactly something I'd feel comfortable doing in a crowded coffee shop. But as a thing you change up once a week or even once a day to give your laptop a fresh look, I can see the appeal. I'm just not sure how much (if anything) extra I'd pay for this kind of feature. 

At the very least, I'd need a finished version of this concept to include a lid display that better matched the dimensions of the lid itself. The display on the demo units we saw was smaller than the lid and not even centered. Obviously, since this is just a concept at this stage, the company didn't want to spend the money to have a custom screen created to the laptop's dimensions, but I sure hope it does if and when this ever becomes a product you can buy.

Of course, this isn't the first time a company has added an EInk or e-paper display to a laptop lid. It's not even the first time a color screen of this type has been on a laptop. Lenovo tried this idea with the Yoga Book C930 back in 2018, and followed it up with the ThinkPad Plus Gen4 convertible last year, which has an OLED screen on one side of its swiveling top half, and a color E Ink display on the other. Asus' Dali concept does, though, seem to be the first time anyone's tried this with a gaming laptop. And if there's one thing every case mod, Battlestation photo, and and Razer tattoo has taught us, it's that gamers love customization.

So what do you think? Should Asus move forward with its Dali concept, letting your next gaming laptop's lid reflect your ever-changing interests and style? Or are there other radical gaming laptop design ideas you'd like to see the company work on? Let us (and Asus) know in the comments. Me? I'm probably going to stick to vinyl stickers for my laptop lid. They aren't as easy to change as an e-paper display, but I'd rather live with traditional stickers and have my laptop budget go more toward better performance or longer battery life.

Matt Safford

After a rough start with the Mattel Aquarius as a child, Matt built his first PC in the late 1990s and ventured into mild PC modding in the early 2000s. He’s spent the last 15 years covering emerging technology for Smithsonian, Popular Science, and Consumer Reports, while testing components and PCs for Computer Shopper, PCMag and Digital Trends.

  • Notton
    If it had touch screen capabilities, I would use it as a comic reader
  • TechLurker
    It would be neat if they did make it touch-capable and usable with e-reading apps. Maybe include a button where it can shut off the reader and switch to the programmed static image. Then also switch to the static programmed image when opening up the laptop to start gaming or doing more intensive tasks.
  • subspruce
    no, I like to keep the lids of my laptops stock