Whoever says the Windows desktop computer is just an ugly rectangular box have probably not met the ASUS Zen AIO Pro Z240IC.
The All-in-one (AIO) PC is getting popular in homes and offices for one reason - it's both machine and display, integrated into a sleek, beautiful body. The hardware that is necessary to provide the PC experience have been integrated to the back of the display. Not only does the ASUS look stylish, it also doesn't hog the space on your desk.
And if you think you have to pay a premium for this AIO, you have a surprise waiting for you. The most basic version, which comes with a 21.5in display, starts from S$1099. Go big and you'll pay S$1798 for the 23.8in model. Then, there's the 4K version that'll make your eyes pop at the sheer screen quality, all for S$3198.
Regardless which model you're interested in, we'll tell you why it's more than capable to run your favourite games and applications without a hiccup.
Good as gold
Asus' Zen philosophy has always revolved around solid build and detailed design and it is not surprising to see that on the latest member of the AIO family, the AIO Pro Z240IC.
It sports a brushed Icicle Gold finish and visible horizontal brush lines which looks aesthetically pleasing and frankly, a tad similar to the Apple iMac. Unfortunately, the AIO only comes in this colour which will not impress King Midas or folks who dislike gold. A
Both the chassis and stand are built with unibody aluminium which is tough and not too heavy. Not that you'll be lugging it around but it's still nice to know that you can shift it easily without breaking your back. Plus, the 7.3kg Asus AiO doesn't take too much effort getting it out of the box.
There isn't much adjustments you can do aside from tilting up or down, but the AiO will sit firmly on your desk the way you want it to.
Keeping things vibrant and lively
At 24 inches, the touch-capable screen supports 1080p full HD resolution that delivers sharp and vivid images for your movie and gaming enjoyment. But if you're believe that more is better, Asus also offers the display that supports 4K Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) resolution, though that comes with a more expensive price tag.
The touchscreen is surrounded by one-inch thick bezels with the built-in speakers at the matte plastic panel at the bottom, and a 1MP 720p camera at the top. You can make face-to-face calls with the camera, or use it with Windows Hello for biometric authentication. The latter, whether it's a practical feature or gimmicky, is really subjective.
Unlike most monitors, there is no brightness or contrast adjustment button anywhere on the AIO Pro Z240IC. It would have been nice to have that shortcut, but not exactly a dealbreaker. You can control the brightness level via a slider in the Windows display settings.
Well-hidden and discret
Even though the ASUS is like a condensed version of a traditional desktop PC, it does offer sufficient ports for your use - a USB 3.1 Type-C, a USB 2.0, four USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, two HDMI output and audio (microphone, headphone).
The Type-C port is about the same size as the micro-USB for the Android mobile phones, and boasts faster file transfers to and from external drives and devices than USB 3.0. Putting everything at the rear, even the SD/MMC card reader, is Asus' idea of keeping its front pristine and clean. It looks like ASUS prefers to keep the front of the display clean as even the power button and the SD/MMC card reader is at the rear.
Good thing is, there is no worry about clutters or wires that could mess up the desk. Both the keyboard and mouse included are wireless and share a USB dongle that will occupy one USB slot. The keyboard is lightweight with smooth textured keys that are comfortable to use. The matching wireless optical mouse is also pretty basic, with no additional buttons and requires a click on either mouse button to wake the AiO from sleep mode.
Pre-installed on the Zen AiO Pro, the ASUSCloud personal cloud application is a nifty program operates similarly to cloud services such as Dropbox whereby you can easily setup a folder and share files to and from your cloud storage. The ASUSCloud includes ASUS WebStorage which anyone can sign up for free.
Free account users have access to 5GB storage and single file upload limit of 500MB. You can opt for other storage plans of 100GB, 1TB and 5TB on a paid yearly subscription from US$22.99.
Incorporating an Intel Core i7-6700T processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics, the AIO PC provides the necessary performance for most multimedia applications. Bioshock, a first-person shooter PC game runs very well on the Zen AIO Pro Z240IC even at 1080p resolution, maximum graphics details and lightings settings. Game play is smooth and graphics looked sharp with plenty of details.
The ASUS also had no problem playing a 1080p video while video encoding is executed simultaneously. Bearing in mind that this is not a gaming-grade system like Asus' Republic of Gamers laptops, the Zen AiO Pro is considerably impressive for the hardware it has.
Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240IC verdict
The Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240IC is an excellent all-in-one desktop PC that not only looks sleek, but also holds the performance you need for your day-to-day application. Whether its family movie time or solo gaming, this desktop system gets the job done without much complaints.
For an AIO PC like this one, the price tag is very much justifiable. Even if you were to bump up the specs to a 4K screen, it's still worth your money.
If you are looking for a Windows PC alternative to the Apple iMac, this one will not disappoint.