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

3 tips for proper gadget care against volcanic ash

Better safe than sorry

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Yesterday, the potentially destructive Taal Volcano in the Philippines erupted after almost 20 years of inactivity. The eruption belched out steam, rocks, and other volcanic materials. Most importantly, it belched out ash, which caused ashfalls as far as 100 kilometers from the volcano.

Volcanic ash impacts and disrupts society as a whole. It doesn’t only pose a threat to our health, but it also presents risks to our gadgets. Since they are less than 2-4 millimeters in diameter, they block openings, limit functionality, and even corrode our devices.

Needless to say, you need to look out for you and your family’s safety first. Afterwards, you can think about your other belongings like your gadgets and appliances.

To ensure the best proper care for your gadgets against volcanic ash, we came up with three tips that you can follow. Remember, an ounce of protection for your devices is better than a pound of expensive repairs.

1) Avoid direct exposure

Avoid exposing gadgets to volcanic ash as much as possible. Soon after a volcanic eruption, be cautious of any ashfall alert. If ash begins to fall in your area, relocate any gadgets indoors

When outdoors, place gadgets in the safety of a bag or cover them if necessary. Limit the use of phones or tablets, especially when it is raining ash hard.

2) Seal off any sensitive gadgets

Some of our gadgets are sensitive to dust particles. Since ash is comparable to these dust particles, they can enter our devices and cause problems if left unchecked. One of these problems is electronic short-circuit.

It is proven that ash can contaminate insulators in power lines, causing flashovers and triggering a short-circuit. Plus, ash can corrode equipment in the long term.

Sensitive gadgets are susceptible to these damages also. Seal them off during an ashfall to prevent ash from reaching critical components. Some sensitive gadgets that you need to seal off during an ashfall are generators, power supplies, servers, and the like.

If you can’t seal these sensitive gadgets, then it is recommended to shut down them.

3) Clean any opening in your gadgets

Last but not the least, you should clean any openings in your gadgets before, during, and after an ashfall. Ash accumulates around the openings of our gadgets, including laptops and smartphones. The tiny particles present in the ash can block the openings of some gadgets, preventing them from cooling down. As such, these particles limit the functionality of these gadgets.

Cleaning the openings is simple but goes a long way in ensuring proper care. A can of compressed air will do the trick, as do a soft brush.

However, do not excessively rub ash-covered surfaces as tiny particles present can scratch or cause static discharge, which is harmful to our gadgets.

These three tips will go on a long way to ensuring that our gadgets function properly, even in an ashfall event. As with any hazards, take necessary precautions when operating gadgets to avoid hazards. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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CES 2020

Razer Tomahawk is a modular desktop with insane power

They’ve also unveiled a new 5G router

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In an effort to take the hassle out of the whole process, Razer has taken to CES 2020 to announce the Razer Tomahawk Gaming Desktop — a compact PC gaming solution that makes it easy to slot in upgradeable components without tools.

Utilizing Intel’s NUC 9 Extreme Compute Element — which is essentially a system-on-a-card that’s powered by 9th-gen Intel Core H-Series processors — the Razer Tomahawk N1 chassis can be opened from the rear, with a lock-and-slide mechanism allowing for easy access to the case’s internals.

“A perfect fit for the Intel NUC 9 Extreme Compute Element, the Razer Tomahawk N1 is a sleek, compact desktop chassis with an advanced modular layout, infusing Razer’s minimalistic design language into a gaming chassis to create a one-of-a-kind desktop case, capable of achieving high clock speeds and framerates without the bulk of a full-sized desktop,” Razer explains.

It will also be available as a standalone product with support for up to a Core i9 processor, 64GB of RAM, and a GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics card. The RAM, the SSD modules, the fans, the Intel NUC, and the GPU are all “upgradeable” as a good DIY construct gaming PC should be.

The Razer Tomahawk N1 case “will be available as a standalone product” as well. Users will be able to configure and purchase Razer’s Tomahawk Gaming Desktop sometime in the first half of 2020.

TheRazer Sila 5G Home Router

It’s a high-speed networking device that both automatically prioritizes bandwidth for gaming and streaming, and also lets users choose which devices on the network get more or less juice.

At CES 2020, the company is showing off a concept for a 5G version of that router, the Sila 5G, which would rely on a wireless 5G connection as the source of your internet rather than conventional cable. Razer Sila 5G is currently just a concept rather than something to buy now.

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CES 2020

MSI launches MEG Aegis Ti5 5G gaming desktop, brand new monitors

It has a very unique design

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MSI is highlighting a new gaming desktop and curved gaming monitor as part of its CES 2020 showcase.

The MEG Aegis Ti5 is configured with the latest 9th-generation Intel Core CPUs with Nvidia’s ‘Turing’ architecture-powered GeForce RTX GPUs, which support real-time ray-tracing for new levels of immersive lighting in games.

The Aegis features support for up to the GeForce RTX 2080Ti, 128GB of DDR4 RAM, multi-terabyte high-speed NVMe SSDs, and is equipped with a 650-watt power supply.

MSI’s gaming desktop uses an intuitive knob positioned on the front center of the PC case, dubbed the ‘Gaming Dial’. With a quick spin of the dial, users can adjust and monitor various system stats – while real-time monitoring the parameters on the front-mounted OLED display.

The MSI Optix MAG342CQR will be one of the curviest gaming monitors ever, and the MSI Optix MEG381CQR has a bonus OLED screen on its bottom bezel.

With two screens for the price of one, this could almost be considered a bargain. MSI said that its MEG381CQR will be the first gaming monitor to use a human-machine interface (HMI), which is defined as a UI connecting the user to a device and allowing the interaction to flow between the two.

MSI revealed an equally curvy display in the form of its MAG342CQR. That curvature is deeper than that of any other curved gaming monitor available out in the market now.

The price and availability details of the new MSI products will be announced this week.

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