Computers

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

A complete desktop PC that simply works

Published

on

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

Microsoft is planning to revamp Windows 10’s design

Update beta might launch by February

Published

on

It’s been a while since Microsoft drastically changed how Windows looks. Before Windows 10, Windows users often anticipated how Microsoft will revolutionize its user interface with every new version. However, with Windows 10, interface updates became more sporadic. The developer just outed minor updates every now and then. Things might change, though. According to a new job posting, Microsoft is planning to completely revamp Windows 10’s design.

According to Windows-centric outlet Windows Latest, Microsoft recently posted a job opening for a senior software engineer who will “work with [their] key platform, Surface, and OEM partners to orchestrate and deliver a sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows experiences.”

“Windows is BACK,” the job posting concludes.

Further, the outlet confirms that an upcoming update — titled the Windows 10 21H2 “Sun Valley” update — will revamp the design for a smoother consumer experience. Previous updates have focused on business users more.

It is entirely possible that Microsoft doesn’t want to reveal too many details yet. Soon after the job posting leaked, Microsoft updated the details to remove all references to a design revamp.

Microsoft might release the first Sun Valley beta by the end of February. At that point, software developers and testers will get a first look at the new look.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft could bring Android support to Windows in 2021

Continue Reading

Computers

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i review: Building a case

But it’s not a pretty strong one, though

Published

on

Legion Tower 5i

Just last June, I managed to build my own PC through countless research and price haggling. I figured that I should invest in a gaming setup that will last for about two good years while playing games at high frame rates. With building a PC, I ensure some level of upgradability and flexibility down to every last detail.

Before I decided on this endeavor, I was dead-set on wanting to just stick to a pre-built system. Imagine getting an entire package with all the parts you’re looking for, without the hassle of building it yourself. Plus, it’s already optimized to some extent so you don’t have to worry about tinkering as much.

In essence, a prebuilt like the Lenovo Legion Tower 5i offers such promise. But, as someone who has already built a gaming system, is it really a good idea to get this pre-built system?

On its own, it’s a great system for intensive workloads

I will go out and say that on its own, the Legion Tower 5i is a well-built system. It comes with an Intel Core i5-10400 processor and an NVIDIA GTX 1660 SUPER inside. Right off the bat, I thought that the hardware was great for gaming, and it showed when I ran some games on it.

Legion Tower 5i

The NVIDIA GTX 1660 SUPER inside the Legion Tower 5i

More than anything, it’s a solid device for a variety of workloads. With 16GB of RAM and a  512GB M.2 SSD inside, Windows managed to boot up pretty fast — which is great. This means that I could get into my work immediately, especially when I’m in a rush to get some done.

Intensive applications like Google Chrome, Adobe After Effects, and even Blender ran with relative ease. As a content-creating machine, I felt that it has potential to accommodate whatever project you throw at it. However, don’t expect the world from it since the hardware isn’t the most powerful available.

Gaming performance is great

I touched on this in the previous section, but it’s true: Lenovo managed to create a great gaming system here. Some graphics-intensive games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Fortnite ran pretty well under this system, provided you adjust a few settings. Throughout my hours of gameplay, I didn’t experience lag caused by the hardware.

Valorant’s FPS on the Legion Tower 5i when nothing is happening in the game

Most games I tested on this system ran at consistent frame rates, which is what you should expect out of gaming systems. Games like VALORANT and Counter Strike: Global Offensive ran at above 200 FPS, considering you really don’t need much to run them. Those two games I mentioned earlier, however, ran at close to 50-60 FPS.

By all means, this isn’t a perfect gaming system to both record and stream content out of. But, if you wanted to start somewhere — again, on its own — this system provides great gaming value.

Putting up a great (Cold) front

Like gaming laptops, I feel that gaming PC builds are only effective when proper cooling is present. While the Legion Tower 5i doesn’t come with fancy liquid cooling, it does come with Lenovo’s Coldfront 2.0. Essentially, it’s an optimization feature for the overall airflow between all the components.

From my experience, I actually think Coldfront did its due diligence. Throughout long hours of gameplay, I didn’t hear the fans whirring loudly. Plus, I felt that the air coming out of both the front vent and rear fans wasn’t as warm. Inside, components do feel a little warm but it isn’t scalding hot.

I even cranked up the system to run on Performance Mode, with overclocking enabled and I don’t hear any fans whirring too much. Again, even without all the liquid cooling tubing you see in custom builds, the Legion Tower 5i delivers while staying relatively cool.

Going against a custom build? Well…

I know I’m practically raving about the Legion Tower 5i, but the big question is whether it’s a better investment over a custom build. My short answer: not really, unless you’re committed to not build a PC from scratch. See, my custom build actually comes pretty close to the Legion Tower 5i across most of the hardware.

CPU Performance (Intel vs. AMD)

My custom build comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, which comes with the same core and thread count as the i5-10400. On paper, performance should be right about the same but the big difference is in my AMD’s base clock speed of 3.9Ghz. This means that my AMD performs at a much faster rate.

I tried running two Google Chrome tabs simultaneously between the two systems, and both showed stable clock speeds. However, when I tried switching tabs, I noticed a slight delay on the Legion Tower 5i. At face value, it doesn’t really mean much but that split second of a delay could come back to haunt you.

In case you were wondering, the two Chrome tabs I ran were a Google Doc and a YouTube music video at 1440p.

GPU Performance (NVIDIA GTX 1660 SUPER)

Here’s the thing: both these systems run a 6GB VRAM, NVIDIA GTX 1660 SUPER. Both systems can run the games I just listed with relative ease, which was what I expected. At first, I thought I couldn’t discuss anything more beyond these points. However, when I started to play for longer hours, I noticed something.

Performance between my AMD build and the Legion Tower 5i for Fortnite Battle Royale

Because they’re both running the same type of GPU, what set them apart would be its CPU performance. However, based on avg. frame rates, the Legion Tower 5i outperforms my build by just a few frames per second. It comes at a slower clock speed during gaming, though so it resulted in some levels of bottleneck.

Performance between my AMD build and the Legion Tower 5i for Valorant

Price (The most important aspect)

At the end of the day, you’ll be spending your hard-earned money on either one of these systems. At this point, I’d like to stress out once more that both systems perform well — although not as identical. Both systems are suitable for long hours of gaming and productive work, and cooled roughly the same way. Except, my build doesn’t have Coldfront 2.0.

Yet, this is where I draw the line between a custom build and a pre-built system. See, the Lenovo Legion Tower 5i comes in at Php 72,995 and the package you get already comes with Windows pre-installed, and all the optimizations in place. My build, when sourcing the parts individually, comes in at close to Php 42,000.

I don’t think a 30,000-peso difference sounds like a great financial investment. Personally, I believe that a working version of Windows 10, PC optimization software, and a Legion-branded tower is not worth that much. Also, this doesn’t even factor in the amount you will spend for all the other peripherals.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

All in all, the Lenovo Legion Tower 5i is a great gaming system to consider. If you’re looking for a great PC to start off your streaming career or to just play games, this build is a great pickup. With powerful hardware and a fast SSD inside, you will get straight into the action once you boot it up.

On its own, it’s a product of great value. But, when you have the option to just build your PC and get the parts individually, it doesn’t look too good. You can even look for the parts that the Legion Tower 5i has, and get them for way less than this finished product.

If you have some extra cash to spare and you’re too afraid to build a PC, the Legion Tower 5i is a great fit. Otherwise, you’re better off building your own PC and grabbing more powerful yet compatible parts.

Continue Reading

Computers

Lenovo Q27q-10 review: Casually great

Work and play, definitely the name of the game

Published

on

Lenovo Q27q-10 review

Nowadays, monitors provide a great alternative to television sets in your room. If you’re short on cash to buy good 4K TVs for your console or PC, a decent monitor already suffices. With color accurate and high refresh rate displays, you can’t go wrong with using it for any purpose you want.

Lenovo launched a lineup of monitors earlier this year that they dubbed as “work and play” monitors. One of those monitors was the Lenovo Q27q-10, a decent monitor with a clear display and high refresh rate. In essence, it serves a dual purpose for anyone who wishes to use it.

But, is this worth getting for your own workstation? For starters, here’s what you’re getting with the Lenovo Q27q-10:

It has a 27-inch QHD, near bezel-less display with a 75Hz refresh rate

Lenovo Q27q-10 review

It comes with a single metal stand with a cable management hook

Easy to set up, much easier to use

In essence, the Lenovo Q27q-10 is one easy monitor to use and set up initially. The moment I took it out of the box, I didn’t really have to look at the manual for help on setting things up. To be honest, it’s great that they made setting the monitor up easy enough so you don’t waste time.

Once you do set it on your table and connect it to your PC or console, it’s already good to go. I say this because with some monitors, you still need to do some level of display calibration the moment you turn it on. Sometimes, you even need to calibrate the color settings to remove unnecessary yellows in the display.

Except for adjusting the monitor’s refresh rate, this monitor is quite easy to get around the moment you connect it. Speaking of that refresh rate…

Best for work and casual play, as advertised

The Lenovo Q27q-10 comes with a 27-inch QHD display, which is a large enough display on its own. I managed to write this article down while watching high-quality YouTube videos on the side. Also, since it doesn’t require that much calibration, I was already expecting great color accuracy when watching videos or editing photos.

Lenovo Q27q-10 review

Now, it’s not an anti-glare display so I wouldn’t recommend using this near your windows. It’s relatively bright even at 70 percent brightness, so you don’t really have to crank it up and risk getting blinded. However, the one time I used this monitor near my window, I could barely see what I was working on at 70%. 

One other feature this monitor comes with is the 75Hz refresh rate, with a 4ms response rate. By competitive gaming standards, this really isn’t much even if it comes with AMD FreeSync compatibility. However, for casual players, you will find great value in it.

Good port selection and cable management, not suited for next-gen

At the back of the display, the Lenovo Q27q-10 comes with an HDMI 1.4 port and a DisplayPort 1.2. Both these ports are equally great, and I honestly believe this is a standard for most work displays moving forward. Also, it comes with internal speakers for audio output when connected to the HDMI port.

As I pointed out earlier, the monitor also comes with a cable management hook at the bottom of the stand. It’s a bit sharp for my liking, but it has enough space to run a lot of wires through it. Throughout my entire use of it, I manage to run power wires, keyboard and mouse wires through it — with so much room to spare.

However, I’m telling you now that this monitor isn’t necessarily suitable for your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Apart from the low refresh rate, the HDMI 1.4 port simply won’t cut it for that 120 FPS everyone craves for on the next-gen consoles. Another minor detail here is that currently, the PS5 still doesn’t support 1440p displays so expect a resolution drop.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 14,995, the Lenovo Q27q-10 provides great value as a work and casual play monitor. It checks out as a wide, bright, and color accurate display fit for anything you throw at it. With a decent refresh rate, you can play casually without worrying too much about image tearing.

Lenovo Q27q-10 review

With a good set of ports and nifty features, it serves its dual purpose quite well. Although, if you plan to do some competitive or next-gen gaming, this doesn’t offer you enough features for them.

Overall, this is a great pickup for your WFH or casual gaming setup. At a decent price, it isn’t taxing on your wallet and it’s easy to set up, as well.

Continue Reading

Trending