Review of ASUS Zen AiO Pro - The All-In-One Machine that you didn't know you wanted

Introduction


We all understand the urges to get your hands on a beautifully designed device like an Apple iMac all in one machine. However, not everyone can afford such a machine. Moreover, with the limitations of MacOS preventing the install of useful Windows applications or some games that are only available on the Windows platform, it may make much more sense to just stick to a Windows based machine. Today, we are going to put our hands on the ASUS Zen AiO Pro that aims to be the best all in one machine in the market today.

The ASUS Zen AiO is little short of incredible. This article will be dedicated to showcase the ASUS Zen AiO's intrinsic design features, performance in both work and games, as well as other small things that exemplifies a wonderful computing experience. Of course, we will also take a look at some areas where ASUS can improve on for the next iteration of the well-liked device.

Specifications

Operating System
Windows 10 Home
Display
23.8"(60.5cm), 16:9, Wide Screen, Ultra HD 3840x2160/, Full HD 1920x1080, LED-backlight, IPS, 178° wide viewing angle
Touch Screen
Multi-touch (10 Finger Touch)
Processor
The 6th generation Intel® Core™ i5/i7 Processor 
Intel® Core™ i7 6700T 

Intel® Core™ i5 6400T
Chipset
Intel H110
Graphics
NVIDIA® GeForce GTX960M 2GB/4GB 
NVIDIA® GeForce GTX980 4GB
Memory
8 GB Up to 32 GB DDR4 (16GB)
DDR4 at 2133MHz
Storage
ASUS Hyper Storage:
1TB HDD
1TB HDD+512GB SSD
SSHD: 1TB HDD (8GB flash)
Wireless Data Network
802.11 ac, Bluetooth V4.0
LAN
10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
Camera
1MP Intel RealSense Camera
Audio
SonicMaster Premium
Speaker
4 x 2W, 2 x 4W Internal Woofer
Built-in Mic
Digital Array Mic
Back I/O Ports
1 x USB 3.1 Type C 
4 x USB 3.0 
1 x USB 2.0 
2 x HDMI-Out
1 x RJ45 LAN
1 x Headphone (Speaker Out)
1 x Microphone
1 x DC-in
1 x Power input
Card Reader
2-in-1: SD/MMC
Power Supply
180W Power Adapter
Dimensions
585 x 434 x 52 ~190 cm (WxHxD)
Weight
7.3KG
Color
Icicle Gold
Accessories
Zen Keyboard + Mouse, Wireless
*Specifications in bold are the specifications of the review unit.

I/O Ports and Connectivity

Gigabit LAN and Power Jack

Card Reader and Mic/Headphone Jack
The ASUS Zen AiO Pro is designed to perform. The new Intel 6th Generation Core processors and Intel H110 chipset brings along some of the most advanced technologies to end users. With the choice of this combination, the system supports the new DDR4 RAM technology, which promises increased performance in every single application. Moreover, the utilization of a lower voltage Core processor also keeps the system cool and contained within a single AiO package without any compromises to performance. This is also why the ASUS Zen AiO Pro only requires a 180W power adapter, rather than anything higher than that. This also makes the system extremely energy efficient. Added minimally with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX960M graphics card, the system is sure to play almost all the popular gaming titles in the market. The ASUS Zen AiO Pro is definitely built to be a jack of all trades. 

Design



Inheriting the design features from ASUS Zen products, the ASUS Zen AiO Pro exudes glamour with its Icicle Gold coloured brushed aluminum finish. The metallic material allows the machine bring out its perfect slim figure, while staying rigid and sturdy. The unique Icicle Gold colour of the ASUS Zen AiO Pro also complements any environment that the machine is placed at, making it a centre of attraction.




The designers of the ASUS Zen AiO Pro has put much thought into the usability of the machine. Understanding that cables may inherently dangle from the back of the machine, creating a cable mess to end users, they have cleverly placed a hole right at the middle of the stand, so that all cables can route through it, thus bundling all cables together and tidying up the workstation.




Moreover, the elegant integrated aluminum stand provides a study support for the whole machine. The hinge that connects the display unit to the stand is also precisely balanced to allows the screen to be tilted effortlessly to match the end user's viewing angle. The tilting of the display also enables an easier access to the expansion ports at the rear machine.


Performance

Equipped with the latest Skylake 6th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, we did not expect less in terms of performance. Coupled with an abundance of 16GB of DDR4 RAM, the system should complete work related application based benchmark tasks in a breeze.






The ASUS Zen AiO Pro is also equipped with one of the latest GTX960M dedicated graphics card. Even though this is a notebook class graphics chip that targets the best graphics performance while using less energy, it has brought over all the hardware features of a full desktop graphics card. This allows multiple GPU based hardware acceleration to take place, freeing up the CPU from complex floating point and graphical computation. Of course, working with a maximum FullHD resolution of 1920 x 1080, the GTX960M should be able to handle most commonly played games. The game benchmarks below on the GTX960M will make a statement on the performance of the graphics card.



We have also tested Alien VS Predator at 1920 x 1080, the average FPS was recorded at 62.4. It is seen from the results that the GTX960M is probably sufficient for older games. However, for more graphics intensive games like Lost Planet 2, there has been instances where frame rates went below 30FPS. A more powerful graphics processor will be needed to included in the system if higher end games are to be considered for the system. On the other hand, we had no doubts at all with the Core i7 6700T processor as it constantly outperforms many other processors in benchmarks.

What we liked

The ASUS Zen AiO Pro gives users an "out of the box" Windows 10 experience. Setting up an all in one machine is extremely easy as users simply have to plug and play. With such an complete and well designed product available, it puts other all in one machines from other brands to shame. The ASUS Zen AiO Pro is probably the defacto Windows alternative to an Apple iMac. It is the only system that comes close to such great integration of hardware and software.

Additionally, the ASUS Zen AiO Pro series is made to be a high end device. With the limited customization available, the system has to fit the vast differing requirements of many users in the market. Being a high end machine will feed the thirst of these users who constantly look for the best performing machine out in the market. 

Understanding that the computing experience does not end with the performance of machine, ASUS has also decided to include their own wireless keyboard and mouse to the whole setup. This completes the Zen AiO Pro experience, as it gives users a truly minimal and simple setup. Moreover, the full sized wireless keyboard also feels great to type on, ensuring maximum productivity and comfort.

What can be improved

Thick Bezels

To put it crudely, ASUS is probably well-known for creating devices with ugly and thick bezel for their displays. The Zen AiO Pro would have been the perfect all in one machine, if it was not for the thick display bezels. We understand that it could be a certain technical and design limitation, but we felt that such flaws will be an obstacle for the search of the incredible.

The ASUS Zen Aio Pro is also limited in its modularity. This makes it extremely painful for maintenance and upgrades. Imagine that a simple hard drive failure could possibly mean that the whole system is as good as useless if it is out of warranty. It would be much preferred if ASUS would allow end users to have easy access to common components such as RAM, hard drive, or the M.2. PCI-e slot so that simple upgrades and maintenance can be performed.

Conclusion




We enjoyed our experience with the ASUS Zen AiO Pro thoroughly. Its amazing design puts it at the number one spot as an iMac alternative. In fact, this machine is so much better than an Apple iMac in every single aspect. The ASUS Zen AiO Pro performs so much faster with the newest technology available on the market. If you are looking for a new machine to start your Windows 10 computing experience, the ASUS Zen AiO Pro would certainly be a great choice. We would like to recommend the higher end SKU with a GTX980M and a blazingly fast SSD though. That future-proofed machine would possibly serve you well for the next 5-8 years.

The Zen AiO Pro with a full HD display is available at all ASUS Brand Stores and authorized retailers. It is retailing at S$1,099 and from S$1,798 for the 21.5-inch and 23.8-inch respectively. The 4K/UHD Zen AiO Pro is only available in 23.8-inch and retailing at S$3,198.



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