Computers

ASUS Zen AiO 27 hands-on: A step up from before

Your next home PC?

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Let’s take a break from laptops and check out this desktop PC from ASUS. This is the Zen AiO 27 and it looks so much better than any of the previous all-in-ones we reviewed from the Taiwanese company.

Coming from the iMac-like Zen AiO Pro and Vivo AiO, the Zen AiO 27 is a welcoming sight. But, is it any good?

Let’s find out in this hands-on.

This AiO has a gorgeous 27-inch UHD display

It’s also a touchscreen

The bezels surrounding the screen are slim

ASUS brings NanoEdge to desktop PCs

It has an outward notch at the bottom for the webcam

With an IR sensor for facial recognition

There are four speakers located at the back

ASUS claims it’s a 16W quad-speaker setup

Quick-access ports are on the right side of the base

L-R: USB 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, 3.5mm combo jack

The remaining ports are all at the back

L-R: Ethernet, 3x USB 3.1, HDMI-In, HDMI-Out, Power

The front has two LED indicators and an SD card reader

The LEDs show if your PC is on and functioning

The base even has a wireless charging pad

Charge your phone while you’re working

A full-size wireless keyboard comes in the box

It has all the keys but its very plasticky

There’s also a bundled wireless optical mouse

Pretty basic but it gets the job done

The Zen AiO design upgrade we’ve been waiting for

ASUS’ new Zen AiO 27 finally gets the design upgrade it deserves. It’s not an iMac copy-cat anymore and it looks even better than Apple’s desktop PC. ASUS certainly took a step forward in design; however, I’ve seen better-looking AiOs running Windows 10 like Dell’s new Inspiron desktops.

Perhaps, the best asset of the Zen AiO 27 is its display. It’s a 27-inch IPS LCD panel with a UHD resolution and multi-touch support. The display is Pantone Validated for color accuracy and it has ASUS’ NanoEdge design for slimmer bezels all around.

Although, like on smartphones, slimmer bezels come at a cost. ASUS had to put an outward notch to house a webcam and, for some reason, they placed it at the bottom. When I tested the webcam, it was showing myself from an awkward angle. As a consolation, it’s also equipped with an IR sensor for hands-free face login with Windows Hello.

The Zen AiO 27’s stand lets users view the display from multiple angles. It can tilt and swivel, plus the height can be adjusted with one finger. There’s no option for rotating the display, but that’s okay.

Design-wise, the Zen AiO 27 is a thing of beauty. I do appreciate its brushed metal-effect finish of really dark blue (darker than navy blue) with gold trims and accents. The audio and visual department of the PC delivers top-notch quality as well.

Slim and powerful, but not enough for 4K

All of the power of the Zen AiO 27 comes from beneath. The components are all housed in the base of the PC, which is neat and practical. How so? There are two storage slots and memory is user upgradeable up to 32GB.

The specs of the model I have are impressive with an Intel Core i7-8700T processor, 16GB DDR4 memory, 512GB M.2 SSD, and 2TB HDD. It also has discrete graphics using NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1050, which is kind of old but still very capable.

The base also has a Thunderbolt 3 port and features Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band gigabit-class Wi-Fi. Needless to say, it runs Windows 10 Home out of the box.

I have no complaints with the general performance of the Zen AiO 27 thanks to its incredible specifications. I can easily multitask with multiple windows open and quickly render images from Photoshop. The configuration is also enough to ensure smooth video editing.

When it comes to gaming though, it doesn’t hit the mark. While the GTX 1050 GPU is good for games like Fortnite or anything with similar graphics power requirements, it’s not enough to push pixels in UHD.

This means you can’t take full advantage of the crisp display of the Zen AiO 27. It’s best to keep the game’s resolution in Full HD to have at least 60fps in not-so-demanding titles. Too bad I can’t enjoy Cities: Skylines in 4K.

I wasn’t able to try it out, but the Zen AiO 27’s can also act as an external monitor since it has an HDMI-in port. Any HDMI-connected source can use the UHD display as a second monitor.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The ASUS Zen AiO 27 is indeed premium with an asking price of PhP 149,995 in the Philippines. It’s available through ASUS Concept Stores nationwide.

Of course, if you are to build your own desktop PC, you could get more power with the same budget. You could even still use an ASUS monitor, keyboard, mouse, and components since the company also sells those.

What you won’t get is the convenience of a plug-and-play, space-saving AiO. It’s like bringing out a laptop and plugging in the charger. If only ASUS included a better wireless keyboard and mouse, it would have been a better package.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo offers largest secondary touchscreen yet

Computers

Lenovo unveils new Eyesafe-certified ThinkVision monitors

For those who wish to manage their screen time while working

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thinkvision

For those working from home, you often find yourselves glued to your screens for more than eight hours a day. Whether it’s your work laptop or your phone, you proceed to work on your tasks or scroll through social media through a screen. Of course, if you do it for too long, it has the potential to damage your eyesight in the long run. Now, Lenovo unveiled a new set of displays that might just help you address that.

The company has launched its latest ThinkVision monitors that are now Eyesafe-certified. In essence, both monitors come with technologies designed to ease off the harmful blue light emitted from the display. Furthermore, they received a TUV Rheinland Eye Comfort certification to ensure maximum eye comfort and protection.

Also, these two monitors — the ThinkVision T24i-2L and ThinkVision T27h-2L — come with color accurate displays and phone holders on the base.

For the ThinkVision T24i-2L, it comes with a 24-inch FHD display with flexible connectivity options for all kinds of devices. Meanwhile, the ThinkVision T27h-AL comes with a 27-inch QHD display for a much larger workspace.

These monitors are now available for the price of PhP 8,850 (ThinkVision T24i-2L) and PhP 15,499 (ThinkVision T27h-2L). You will find these through Lenovo’s authorized partner sellers.

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Computers

All new iMac with M1 chip, 4.5K Retina display now official

Long overdue update!

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The iMac has remained largely untouched for what felt like forever. Now, the curse appears to have been lifted as Apple finally introduces the new iMac that’s powered by the M1 chip and has a 4.5K Retina display.

What’s up with the M1 chip?

Well, it’s only Apple’s latest and greatest chip for their MacOS machines. It brings forth a leap in power, performance, and efficiency previously unheard of in MacBooks and iMacs of the past. Some performance improvements include a faster more fluid overall feel, no slowdown despite opening hundreds of tabs on Safari, smoother image editing, and a better Apple Arcade experience.

For a full breakdown of the performance improvement, watch this M1 MacBook Air review.

That display tho

24 inches. 4.5K Retina. 11.3 million pixels. P3 wide color gamut and over a billion colors. 500 nits of brightness. Put them all together and what you get is a computer display that will be a blessing to your eyes.

Apple is promising vivid and brilliant images with a color temperature that adjusts to your environment thanks to True Tone tech. Sweet.

OMG those colors

This one’s a nice callback to the iMacs of old that didn’t shy away from a splash of color. From a singular choice of Silver (which is still available, by the way), Apple is now also giving us the following color options: Green, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Purple, and Blue.

Could a PRODUCT (RED) option be in the horizon? We don’t know yet, but we also wouldn’t completely rule it out.

Cameras, mics, and speakers

You’ll likely attend a few more video conferences as we navigate this new normal setup most of us are in. You’ll be happy to know that the all new iMac now has a 1080p FaceTime HD Camera. FINALLY.

Supporting the brand spanking new HD camera is what Apple claims to be a studio-quality three-microphone array and six-speaker sound system with Dolby Atmos.

What else is here?

You get two Thunderbolt ports for fast data transfers and support for up to 6K displays. The 8-core iMac models have two more USB-C ports.

TouchID also comes to the iMac with the color-matching Magic Keyboard. The Magic Mouse and Magic TrackPad are also available in colors that match the iMac. You can also buy more than one and mix the colors up. You do you.

Price and availability

The new 24-inch iMac is available to order beginning Friday, April 30. It will begin arriving to customers and be available in select Apple Store locations and through Apple Authorized Resellers beginning in the second half of May.

Available on apple.com, apple.com/sg, and in the Apple Store app

iMac with 7-core GPU is available in green, pink, blue, and silver. It features an 8-core CPU, 8GB of unified memory, 256GB SSD, two Thunderbolt ports, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Mouse.

  • US: Starts at US$ 1,299 and US$1,249 for education
  • Singapore: Starts at SG$ 1,849 and SG$ 1,779 for education

iMac with 8-core GPU is available in green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver. It features an 8-core CPU, 8GB of unified memory, 256GB SSD, two Thunderbolt ports, two additional USB 3 ports, Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, Magic Mouse, and Ethernet.

  • US: Starts at US$ 1,499 and US$1,399 for education
  • Singapore: Starts at SG$ 2,149 and SG$ 2,009 for education
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Computers

The global chip shortage could last till 2023

Put your plans for a PC build on hold!

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The Coronavirus pandemic prompted everybody to leave the “normal” behind and adopt a completely new lifestyle. With everyone moving to the work-from-home model, the demand for new computers, phones, and other gadgets skyrocketed, bringing another crisis to our doorstep — global chip shortage.

The world’s largest chipmaker TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), announced its quarterly results this week, posting a profit of almost US$ 5 billion. This marks a 19 percent rise in profit when compared to the previous quarter. The announcement is good news for the investors, but it also highlights how long the shortage will continue.

TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said that the company hopes to offer more capacity and meet the demand by 2023. That’s two years away. And that’s after gearing up to spend a whopping US$ 100 billion in the next three years to ramp up production.

American chipmaker Intel has been plagued with production issues for the last few years and recently disclosed that it would spend US$ 20 billion to set up two new facilities in Arizona, US. However, these production sites take time to come up and can’t be just switched on in a few months.

Things aren’t looking good

Even Nvidia isn’t very optimistic about a recovery from the chip shortage anytime soon. “Overall demand remains very strong and continues to exceed supply while our channel inventories remain quite lean,” the company said in its press release. “We expect demand to continue to exceed supply for much of this year.”

Nvidia also has a brand new challenge — the demand for GPUs has skyrocketed ever since Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies started their bullish run in 2020. Cryptocurrency evangelists are constantly on the lookout for new gear, further amplifying the chip shortage.

The current state of component availability looks grim, affecting everything from the availability of new graphics cards to processors to next-gen PlayStations and Xboxes. The ripple effects of the shortage are being felt by every technology company, including giants like Apple.

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