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”]

Computers

ASUSPRO D340MC is designed with budget-conscious workers in mind

Prioritizes security and endurance

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ASUSPRO is known for producing reliable laptops, but did you business-grade desktop computers are part of its portfolio, too?

The D340MC is an example of this, and it delivers on several fronts. It may seem like a standard boxy PC at first, but most of the features are on the inside.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; this is how it looks:

It definitely has a strong presence on any desk

Check out that port selection and DVD drive

The keyboard and mouse are part of the package

There’s lots of ventilation for cooling

Here’s a closer look at its ports

It’s easy to upgrade as needed

This is certainly a no-frills, get-the-job-done type of PC. Fortunately, it comes with good specs to show off: an Intel Core i7-8700 processor, up to 32GB of memory, 1TB of HDD storage, and a simple GeForce GT 720 graphics card to get you going.

But should really interest you are the reliability and endurance. The company claims the unit goes through rigorous quality tests in diverse environments, uses solid capacitors to lengthen lifespan, and produces little noise thanks to the thermal design.

The ASUSPRO D340MC starts at around US$ 600, but with its upgradability, it’s easy to give it more power when needed.

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Computers

Microsoft says you need a real computer, not an iPad

‘Don’t run out and buy an iPad’

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You’re probably familiar with Samsung teasing Apple and its iPhones through humorous commercials. But did you know Microsoft does the same against iPads?

Like Sammy, Microsoft loves to promote its products while humiliating those of close competitors. The latest attempt comes with this short holiday ad for the Surface Go.

Check it out:

The very first line — “Grandma, don’t run out and buy an iPad” — is already a clear dig at Apple. The little girl’s lyrics continue with, “It was fine when I was six, but now I’m 10. My dreams are big so I need a real computer to do all the amazing things I know I can.”

Yes, a real computer. If you’ve been following Apple’s promotions for the recently launched iPad Pro, you’d know that they tout it as a laptop replacement in a sense. Consumers and techies have since been debating whether the claims are true or not.

Well, Microsoft doesn’t think so, and instead believes that you need a Surface Go to cater to all computing needs. It runs desktop-class Windows 10 and is quite flexible productivity-wise when used together with the stylus and keyboard.

It seems like Microsoft’s goal here is to take away some of Apple’s strong younger market for iPads. Kids traditionally choose an iPad because of its portability, ease of use, and strong library of apps.

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Computers

Samsung 860 QVO SSD offers up to 4TB storage for your laptop

Available beginning January 2019

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Solid-state drives (SSD) have always been the faster storage option compared to hard disk drives (HDD), but it was only recently when SSDs caught up in terms of storage capacity. Samsung in particular is pushing for more digital space in its latest model, the 860 QVO.

Using a high-density 4-bit multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash architecture, this SSD is able to go up to 4TB in capacity, which is great for a mainstream product.

Samsung claims 550MB/s read and 520MB/s write speeds for the 860 QVO, thanks in part to the integrated Intelligent TurboWrite technology and MJX controller.

Because of its 2.5-inch form, it’ll fit perfectly inside any laptop or desktop setup.

The Samsung 860 QVO will go on sale beginning January 2019 with a starting price of SG$ 299 for the 1TB variant. You may also spend SG$ 659 for the 2TB model or SG$ 999 for the top-end 4TB model.

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