Computers

ASUS Vivo AiO (V272) review: All-in-one goodness?

A complete desktop PC that simply works

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As a person who builds his own desktop computers and thrives on portable laptops for his on-the-go lifestyle, I admit there are times I just want a PC that can do it all — minus all the hassle of plugging accessories in and finding wall sockets for charging.

That’s exactly what an all-in-one computer aims to do, and the ASUS Vivo AiO is the latest example.

Much like the Zen AiO Pro I reviewed last year, this model only needs a single power cable to get things running. Everything else is already built in or simply wireless. Now, that’s convenience!

Here’s what it can do

Make no mistake about it: This AiO PC is quite big. With a 27-inch LCD on its adjustable base, it takes some effort to take this 8.5kg computer out of its box and setting it on a table. From there, however, the rest of the setup becomes pleasantly easy.

All you have to do is plug in the power cable, insert the wireless keyboard and mouse’s dongle into an open USB port, and you’re all set! Powering the unit on happens by pressing a somewhat hidden button at the back of the display.

You’ll then be greeted by a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, which isn’t that dense for a 27-inch panel, but it does allow the system to run more smoothly since fewer pixels have to be pushed at a given time. ASUS claims it has a 100 percent sRGB color gamut, which is great for editing photos and videos more accurately.

Some variants of the Vivo AiO come with a touchscreen. This is kinda unusual to have on a desktop computer, but if it’s already there, then why not, right? Still, I would stick to using the keyboard and mouse, and leave the touch gestures to your laptop or smartphone.

I’m saying this because the bundled wireless mouse and keyboard are actually quite good. While not mechanical or gaming-optimized in any sense, they’re ergonomic and work well on all sorts of surfaces with no noticeable input lag.

Despite having everything in one solid piece, there are enough ports to go around.

Underneath the display, you get a single USB port, which I found to be a perfect spot to plug in the keyboard-mouse receiver, as well as a 3.5mm audio port for your headphones or external speakers.

At the back is a decent selection of ports, from USB 3.1 to HDMI and Ethernet. The only head-scratching omission is USB-C, which is becoming increasingly common on smartphones and thin notebooks. Even ASUS’ own phones and laptops are committed to the port, so it’s strange to see it missing here.

Design-wise, my main complaint is the location of the webcam. It’s situated on the bottom bezel, allowing it to look up your nose during video calls. ASUS brags about the display’s 81 percent screen-to-body ratio, but I would’ve been fine with some bezel up top to house the front camera instead.

Even though you can tilt the unit by a few degrees to find your sweet spot, you sadly can’t adjust the height to remedy the poorly placed webcam.

What exactly can it run?

One look at the specifications sheet, and you can tell what this machine is meant for.

My review unit is equipped with an Intel Core i7-8550U, 8GB of memory, and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics chip. This setup means the Vivo AiO can handle light workloads such as Microsoft Office, Chrome, and Photoshop with ease, but anything visually heavy will make it struggle a bit.

Like most AiO computers, upgrading components is a pain, so you’ll have to settle for whatever configuration you pay for from the start, so choose wisely.

During my time with this unit, I didn’t experience any lag while browsing websites, writing articles, and editing photos — all at the same time. That’s largely thanks to the quad-core Core i7 processor with Hyper-threading, giving you eight logical cores in total.

It’s only when I fired up a couple of graphically demanding games when the system couldn’t keep up.

For kicks, I played some Final Fantasy XV on this thing. As expected, I was forced to endure the lowest graphics settings on 1080p. However, to my surprise, the game managed to run at a consistent 30 frames per second, which made it totally playable. Any title less power-hungry than Final Fantasy XV such as Fortnite or PUBG — will definitely run more smoothly.

Video editing on Premiere Pro is enjoyable on the large monitor and its powerful stereo speakers, but don’t expect rendering to be seamless. Still, I highly recommend getting a configuration with both an SSD and HDD to speed up the processing and provide you with enough storage, respectively. My setup has a standard 128GB M.2 SSD and 1TB HDD.

All in with the all-in-one?

In a nutshell, this is pretty much the Windows equivalent of an iMac. And like an Apple product, the Vivo AiO simply works. There’s no cumbersome setup process or annoying cables and dongles to deal with; plug it in and you’re set.

Who is this for other than iMac users wanting to jump ship? I’d say Windows users who want more screen real estate than what a laptop offers, yet need to save as much desk space as possible. An AiO like this is by far easier to transfer from one point to another compared to a traditional desktop PC with its separate monitor and multitude of cables.

Of course, this costs more than a custom-built PC spec-for-spec. You may buy a Vivo AiO with a starting price of US$ 1,000, but you could assemble a more powerful rig for less.

It ultimately comes down to convenience versus power. Which one will it be for you this time? Take a long look at your work space and decide from there.

Computers

Windows 10 gains support for Linux GUI apps

For developers struggling with Windows 10

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Historically, Microsoft has been averse towards the free and open-source operating system Linux. It’s become a popular choice for developers and enthusiasts, making it a “threat” to Windows. Over the years, however, Microsoft seemed to change course. Nowadays, the company has been embracing Linux and integrating it right into Windows.

In its latest Build conference, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 is gaining support for Linux GUI apps. This is a big deal for most developers since they don’t have to dual-boot or run Linux in a virtual machine to run Linux-exclusive apps. Take note though, that Windows 10 already supports Linux apps through the command line. GUI apps for Linux can run on Windows 10, though it requires a hefty workaround for most.

Support for Linux apps is possible through the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) that Microsoft developed and improved over the years. The second version of WSL will have a full Linux kernel, allowing apps to run natively on Windows.

Elsewhere, Microsoft is also bringing GPU hardware acceleration for Linux apps running on Windows. There’s also a brand-new terminal app and a package manager coming to Windows 10. Developers who rely on Linux-exclusive developer tools will now find it easier to develop and compile code on Windows as a result.

Support for Linux apps, hardware acceleration, and more will come on future updates to Windows 10.

A native GTK app running alongside Windows 10 apps | Photo from Microsoft

Embracing developers

The reason for Windows embracing Linux over the years is to attract more developers. Microsoft’s recent stance towards open-sourcing its products is another indication of this strategy. The latest move will only make Windows 10 a viable option for most developers who have to resort to dual-booting Linux or buying a Macbook to suit their workflow.

h/t: The Verge

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Computers

Dell releases a host of new Precision-branded laptops for work

Getting some serious work done

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Dell is a household computer name pretty much everywhere and the world’s top laptop maker has a significant share in the enterprise business. Unlike consumer-oriented products, businesses are looking for serious work machines that can get the job done without any added shenanigans. Dell has updated its Precision series workstations and there’s one for everyone’s requirement.

Dell Precision 7750 and 7550

With a 17-inch and a 15-inch display respectively, the 7000-series is made with scalability and high performance in mind. It has a plethora of configurations available ranging from Intel Xeon processors to Intel Core i9, coupled with Nvidia Quadro GPUs for complex AR/VR as well as 3D CAD editing. Scalability also means the machine can house up to 128GB RAM and 2TB of SSD storage. The company has also added front-firing speakers and low blue light display for an immersive feel.

The 7750 will start at US$ 1,990 while the 7550, on the other hand, starts at US$ 1,709. Both of them shall ship from May 28.

Dell Precision 5750 and 5550

With a 17-inch and a 15-inch display respectively, it further gets four-sided InfinityEdge 16:10 aspect ratio. The top bezel houses an infrared camera for improved video conferencing experience. This series has a balance of performance as well as portability thanks to an aluminum chassis. It also has varying configurations available and can sport up to Nvidia Quadro 3000 series graphics.

The 5750 starts at US$ 2,399 and will be available from June 9, while the 5550 starts at US$ 1,999 from May 28.

Dell Precision 3551 and 3550

This series is more focused on portability while providing enough firepower for on-the-go tasks. It has multiple options in choosing the 15.-inch display panel ranging from HD, Full HD, non-touch, and touch. Furthermore, it can also be powered by an Intel Xeon processor or Intel i9, based on the requirement. The same goes for RAM and storage configuration.

The 3551 comes with a starting price of US$ 939 while the 3550 comes for US$ 1,049. They shall be available from May 19.

Keep in mind, these laptops are designed for maximum performance and inherently have a tonne of features like multiple ports, wide-scale wired as well as wireless connection support, and other security features. Additionally, Dell says they have dual opposite outlet fans for faster heat dissipation and thinner vapor chambers instead of heat pipes.

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Computers

The Dell OptiPlex family is built for efficiency

AiOs and PCs for working smart

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Dell has long been known to provide quality computers and for desktop enthusiasts, the OptiPlex family is where it’s at. The 2020 OptiPlex line promises a faster and more responsive experience, smarter solutions, and features tailored for the end user.

The OptiPlex family have built-in AI to assist you in getting work done. As with any 2020 PC, you get up to the 10th generation Intel core processors. You will also be treated to up to 128GB of 2933MHz DDR4 memory along with optional Wi-Fi 6. That, together with Dell’s reputation for building smart, durable, and dependable chassis is the perfect setup for your desktop needs.

Here’s what’s new in the OptiPlex Family.

OptiPlex 7070 Ultra

With All-in-One PCs you’re usually limited to the specs you have at the time of your purchase. That’s not the case with the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra. It combines the form factor of your regular AiO and the flexibility of desktop PCs to upgrade parts whenever necessary.

It’s a fully modular zero footprint desktop solution. It has swappable elements for enhanced flexibility and performance. Literally the first of its kind.

OptiPlex 7780 All-in-One

Of course, if you don’t want to have to think about upgrading, there’s the OptiPlex 7780 All-in-One. It’s a 27-inch AiO that promises to be the best-in-class in just about everything.

You have options for a Full HD IPS touch or non-touch display, next generation discrete graphics for a powerful and efficient work experience, and an optional pop-up webcam available with Full HD or infrared camera features Windows Hello sign on support.

OptiPlex 7489 All-in-One

Next up on the list is the OptiPlex 7489 All-in-One. It has a smaller 24-inch screen but it’s a full HD IPS display technology with a glare-free matte touch option.

Need a faster boot-up? This one has dual M.2 slots for Intel OptaneTM, SSD and double max memory than its predecessor with 64GB DDR4 memory.

OptiPlex 5480 All-in-One

Not as powerful graphics-wise as the AiOs mentioned above but the OptiPlex 5480 All-in-One can be equipped with NVIDIA discrete graphics cards for crisper images and better video experience.

You also have the option for Touch and Non-Touch FHD displays.

OptiPlex 3280 All-in-One

Lastly there’s the OptiPlex 3280 All-in-One. If you’re place is space-challenged, its 22-inch display should have no trouble fitting in. Its IPS Full HD Touch display promises good color reproduction, better viewing angles, and an improved refreshed rates.

Tower, small form factor, micro

OptiPlex is not limited to AiOs. It also offers your traditional PC setup with options for a tower, small form factor, and micro casings.

OptiPlex 7080. Built for ultimate expandability and peformance. Has built-in artificial intelligence of Dell Optimizer ExpressResponse. Now available with dual M.2 SSD option and USB 3.2 Type A Gen 2 (10Gbps Data) support for increased data access speed.

Also supports discrete graphics on micro to achieve better visuals for 3D rendering and 4K monitor use. Fully engage with rich VR content with support for high-end 215W class graphics card on 7080 tower.

OptiPlex 5080. Mainstream desktop size perfect for just about anybody. Has AI-powered Dell Optimizer ExpressResponse and support for next generation NVIDIA discrete graphics for entry level VR content.

OptiPlex XE3 (tower and small form factor). The basic of the basics but designed for ultralong lifecycle and expandability options.

Pricing and availability

  •  OptiPlex AiO 7780 — starting at US$ 2,070 and will be available May 28, 2020
  • OptiPlex 7080 Micro — starting at US$ 1,284.28 and will be available May 28, 2020
  • The rest have yet to be announced.

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