Over the past week I’ve been spending lots of time with the Zen AiO from ASUS.
I’ve used plenty of All-in-One PCs in the past and it’s always fun to see what‘s new in the genre. Lately the trend has been for increasingly large machines. Many of the new models I‘ve been trying these days are big, heavy, and like monoliths when set up on your desktop. The first thing I noticed with the Zen AiO was how compact and lightweight the box was. I actually thought that maybe they made a mistake and it was the wrong box because I had become so accustomed to big and heavy AiO machines.
Upon opening the box I developed an immediate crush on this computer. It looks gorgeous and striking, is easy to move around, and is a visual treat on my desk. That’s before even turning it on!
Pausing to focus on the design of this hardware, this machine is definitely suited to the ASUS Zen brand which you may know from the striking notebooks carrying that name.
This All-in-One PC is yet another example of how your tech gear can and should feel more like an object of design than of utility. The housing for this PC is crafted from solid aluminum for a quality vibe that speaks to precision. It has been given a golden brushed metal finish which helps it look luxurious while hiding unsightly fingerprints and smudges. The edges are nicely detailed and the stand is beautifully integrated such that it looks light while being tremendously strong and sturdy. The whole package has an undeniable feel of quality and precision. It’s graceful, powerful, and robust.
This All-in-One PC comes with everything you need to get to work right out of the box.
That means a keyboard and mouse are bundled so that you’re ready to go straight away. Unfortunately, this is where things fall a little short. The keyboard and mouse are decent enough if you just need something that works, and ASUS has given them a silver finish that somewhat matches the PC, but in comparison to the PC, these peripherals feel decidedly cheap and disposable. I’m sure they’re good enough to be functional but when the PC has such a luxurious and quality feeling, the lack of that attention on these peripherals starts to stand out in contrast. The mouse particularly seems fairly forgettable. They’re practical and they work but if they were given the love that the PC received in all the finer design details, then it would be a much more impressive affair overall. The peripherals do their job functionally but you’ll be much better served by upgrading to a much more premium keyboard and mouse combo in the future that complement the quality and beauty of the PC itself.
I would consider the bundled peripherals to be placeholders until you pick out the ones you really want to go with this beauty of a PC.
In terms of connectivity, this machine does a pretty good job for an All-in-One PC.
The back of the machine sports a card reader, mic and headphone jacks, an Ethernet port, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, four USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 connector, and even two HDMI output ports. That is a whole lot of ports which go a long way towards extending the usefulness of this machine. With all of that connectivity, that means that this machine has the potential to be tremendously flexible and versatile for years to come.
A lot of All-in-One PCs work but keep everything contained so that you can’t really do much to extend beyond them. This machine packs enough connectivity that being able to expand your experience shouldn’t be a problem for quite a while. The stand even has some basic cable management to keep everything looking neat and organized while you have everything connected.
Under the hood of this machine you’ll find a sixth generation Intel i5-6400T CPU and 8GM RAM which makes it a great multi-purpose device. That is supported by a GTX950M graphics card with 1 GB dedicated video memory, which delivers full HD resolution (1920×1080) on a beautiful and responsive 24″ IPS ten-point capacitive touchscreen. That is plenty of power to support HD movies, games, and of course any typical office tasks making this a strong machine for both work and play. You’ll also find a 1TB hard drive, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Windows 10 64-bit preloaded. Topping all that off, they’ve included an Intel RealSense camera, which features 3D facial recognition for Windows Hello compatibility.
The design of it is wonderfully done, and it has phenomenal build quality. It’s actually rather tough to think of anything I would want improved with this computer. It’s as much a work of art as it is a work of technology. Really my only gripe is that the bundled peripherals don’t quite live up to the bar set by the PC itself. With such a great PC you’re definitely going to find yourself wanting to upgrade the mouse and keyboard in no time to something befitting such a graceful, and high quality PC. The machine is elegant, powerful, and a joy to use whether working, playing a game, unwinding with a movie, or multitasking with any combination of those. What’s more, it is designed to fit in on any desk while feeling light and unobtrusive, unlike many of those other bulky monoliths that tend to dominate your desk. If you want to be able to do it all with your PC with minimal fuss, bulk, and with style then this is the PC for you.