Computers

ASUS Zen AiO Pro review

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ASUS has this all-in-one desktop computer that may seem kinda expensive at first (it’s $2,000!), but it’s as easy to use and set up as a regular laptop, plus it’s much more powerful. Check it out!

This is the Zen AiO Pro, which goes by the model name Z240IC. Like its name implies, it has everything you need in the package: a full-fledged Windows 10-powered computer within a large 23.8-inch 4K monitor, and both a wireless keyboard and mouse bundled inside.

Sounds a lot like an Apple iMac or Microsoft’s new Surface Studio, right? Well, ASUS does some things better and is targeting different needs, which we’ll get into now.

Look at how big and spacious the display is!

Being made of solid aluminum and weighing 7.3kg doesn’t make this travel-friendly, though

There’s more than enough room on the screen for multiple windows 

A 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) on a bright 23.8-inch display is no joke!

The back is sleek too, and has all the ports you need

Let’s see: SD card reader, microphone and headphone ports, Ethernet, two HDMI ports, four USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, and a single USB-C port — whew!

Here’s a closer look at some of the ports

The old-school USB 2.0 port (the black one) seems out of place, but it’s perfect for the receiver of the wireless keyboard and mouse

The keyboard and mouse are as basic as they come, but get the job done

The keyboard is squishy and the mouse is bland, but you can always replace them with something better

So, what exactly is powering this thing?

Our unit came with a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M to run everything. Not a bad setup, but the components are nearly two years old, and the newer chipsets from Intel and NVIDIA smoke their predecessors. Still, this configuration is enough to edit videos and photos, and even play visually intensive games on medium settings.

I was curious, so I ran The Witcher 3 and the new Doom game to see just how well they run on ASUS’ AiO PC. The Witcher 3 with its strong demand for processing power worked smoothly enough on medium settings with the more advanced options like shadows and hair effects toned down. Doom was a little more forgiving on medium settings, and would let me turn up some graphics options to pull off prettier visuals at around 40 frames per second. Not something a hardcore gamer would like to hear, but definitely satisfactory for casual gamers who enjoy the newer 3D games.

Do note that these games were played on a downscaled Full HD 1080p resolution to handle the intense graphics. A GTX 960M is in no way good enough to take on 4K gaming, which is better left for real desktop graphics cards like the GTX 1080. On the bright side, the downward-firing speakers have a strong punch to them, and are generous in the bass department — perfect for Netflix and YouTube watching, as well.

But the most impressive pair of components in the Zen AiO Pro are the 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD. If you read our explainer on the two storage mediums, you’d know this is the most optimized setup you can get. By having the operating system run on the faster SSD, boot-ups and navigating through the system are consistently fast, and you still have 1TB of space on the HDD for all your personal files and large apps.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

This is one of those instances when you have to think long and hard before making a purchase. On one hand, the Zen AiO Pro is built for nearly every sort of task and is complete out the box; on the other hand, it’s far more expensive than conventional desktop computers and you could easily build one for a fraction of the price with even better components.

You’re paying for the convenience here; being able to plug in this computer with a single cable and nothing more is such a relief in a small office space or tight apartment. It’s so well made too, and the fact you don’t have to go out and buy a separate keyboard-mouse combo makes the deal even sweeter.

Then again, you could buy a premium laptop like the ZenBook 3 for less than this, and it would also save space and run through apps nearly as well — you’d just have to give up the desktop-level display and gaming performance.

The model we reviewed is available in the Philippines for PhP 99,995, which matches the average international price of $2,000. There are more affordable configurations out there with slower processors and weaker graphics cards, but it totally depends on where you reside.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenBook 3 review

[irp posts=”10098" name=”ASUS ZenBook 3 review”]

Cameras

Select ASUS laptops come with free Instax cameras

Get a free Instax Mini 9, SQ6 or Mini LiPlay

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Christmas season is the time for creating memories. What better way to capture these memories than with an instant camera?

Instax partnered with ASUS this Christmas to give away free Instax cameras for every purchase of select ASUS laptops. Buyers also get to enjoy bundled freebies along with their free cameras. 

Bundled Instax cameras are the Instax Mini 9 worth PhP 3,999; Square SQ6 worth PhP 7,999; and Mini LiPlay worth PhP 9,999. The Instax Mini 9 is one of the best-selling products in the lineup, while the Instax Square SQ6 is the first analog camera that uses a square film format. Meanwhile, the Instax LiPlay is can convert recorded sounds into a QR code for sharing. They are available with these ASUS laptops:

Zenbook laptops

  • Duo / Pro Duo — Instax Mini LiPlay + ASUS 30th premium freebies + Nereus bag
  • Pro 14/15 — Instax Mini LiPlay + Nereus bag
  • S — Instax Square SQ6 + laptop sleeve
  • Flip 13 / 14 / 15 — Instax Square SQ6 + laptop sleeve
  • 13 / 14 / 15 — Instax Square SQ6 + laptop sleeve

VivoBook laptops

  • S13/ S14/ S15 — Instax Mini 9 + Nereus bag
  • Flip 14 / 14 / 15 — Instax Mini 9 + Nereus bag
  • 14 / 15 — Instax Mini 9 + Nereus bag

Others

  • X series (Intel Core models) — Instax Mini 9 + Nereus bag

To claim the Instax camera and the freebies, buyers must log on to ASUS’ promo redemption site and provide the necessary information. After confirmation, they must pick the freebies at ASUS Philippines headquarters.

Promo runs from November 18 to December 31. It is applicable to all participating ASUS concept stores nationwide and via the official ASUS Philippines digital store. For more information, visit their website or their Facebook page.

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Computers

Dell’s new innovation keeps your monitor and CPU together

Saving space in the work place

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Dell prides itself in being the leader of innovation for the modern computer. Such innovation allows for better and more efficient work spaces in offices. And with their latest innovation, the company hopes to expand the work space by simply cutting the technology down.

The company introduces the Dell OptiPlex 7070 and OptiPlex 7070 Ultra, a desktop machine that cuts all the space in the work place. This desktop computer, coined as a “zero-footprint” computer houses the CPU within the monitor. Dell designed the OptiPlex 7070 to conserve space while you’re working in the office.

It features a relatively compact and flexible design while retaining potential areas for upgrading. The monitor stand houses the components of your PC — including the CPU, RAM, and storage to reduce the space taken up compared to a separate computer unit. According to the company, users can upgrade either the PC or the display — whichever fits their needs more.

In terms of hardware, Dell promises to offer the OptiPlex 7070 with up to an Intel core i7 vPro processor, 64GB or RAM, and 1TB worth of SSD storage. Additionally, users can avail up to 2TB of added storage through an internal HDD flexible for multiple users.

The Dell OptiPlex 7070 is now available, starting at Php 53,500.

 

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Computers

Solar-powered classrooms bridge educational gap in rural communities

Making education more accessible one classroom at a time

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Photos from Dell

GadgetMatch is founded on the premise of making life better and easier through technology. For many of us who get caught up in emails and social media in our day to day, it’s easy to forget how technology changes lives.

It teaches new skills, builds self-confidence, and brings new job opportunities especially to rural communities; but that’s easier said than done. High costs and complex societal challenges hampers not just access to technology in developing countries, but human progress as well.

There are companies like Dell Technologies who make it a point to harness its resources and global reach to make technology more accessible. In areas where access to consistent energy and technology are scarce, Dell has partnered with Computer Aid International to create Solar Learning Labs. 

These labs are solar-powered and created by converting old shipping containers. The classrooms are filled with Dell Wyse Thin Client workstations managed by an air-cooled PowerEdge server. Up to 20 students can use a classroom at a time.

Reusing and converting what is otherwise considered waste is inline with Dell’s use of circular economy concepts. Relying on solar panels to generate electricity makes the containers self-sufficient. They can also be placed even in the most remote locations because of their size. They help deliver sustainable and affordable connectivity to schools.

A commitment to advance education

EMEA Strategic Giving Manager Houcine Faik says Dell is committed to enabling and empowering communities with technology, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s core to its business.

The goal is to help increase the exposure of entire communities to digital skills, particularly in developing countries where many students and schools still struggle to access reliable technology, infrastructure, and electricity.

The initiative first kicked-off in Lagos, Nigeria in 2013. Since then, Dell has already funded 18 labs in six countries around the world including South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Mexico, and Colombia.

More than 10,000 students have benefited from the project during school hours. The labs are also open to other members of local communities even after school.

Faik tells Gadgetmatch that they chose South Africa to start expanding the program by leveraging a crowd-funded approach. The average number of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) jobs in South Africa increased by 26% over the last decade.

There is also a national commitment to improving ICT for education in schools, but a shortage of training capacity and equipment.

Expanding to more countries

For now, Dell is focusing their efforts in scaling the Solar Learning Labs in South Africa, and then Latin America. “Based on the success in these locations, we’ll then look to expand to other regions,” shares Faik. By enabling crowd-funding, Dell hopes to open up the opportunity to partner with others to make scaling the project easier.

While there are no plans of expanding to Asia just yet, Dell recently released its full 2030 Progress Made Real plan. This outlines the company’s goals of creating a lasting, measurable impact on people and the planet over the next decade.

One of Dell’s 2030 commitments is to advance the health, education, and economic opportunity of 1 billion people. Using the company’s expertise and technology, it can help 1,000 nonprofit partners digitally transform to better serve their communities.

With its 2030 vision now set, Dell hopes to create a total of 100 labs by 2030. If you are interested in helping fund a Solar Learning Lab, visit solarlearninglabs.org.

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