Asus steps up to fill the gap for the need for sleek, slim-all-in-one windows desktop, an arena that iMac seems to know too well. Asus stands up to make a statement where other systems such as Lenovo’s A series and Dell XPS One have failed to weather the storm. The new Zen AIO Pro Z240-C4 is a sleek aluminum slab with edge-to-edge glass up front and a curved back tapering to thin edges. The unit is powered by sixth generation ‘SkyLake’ Core i7-6700 processor clocked at 2.8 GHz that can run up to 3.6GHz. It is coupled with 8 GB RAM and 1TB solid state hybrid drive. The system goes further to include a GeForce GTX960M with 2GB RAM, Intel’s RealSense Camera and a 4K display. This is good news for visual arts enthusiasts and multimedia professional that their computing needs have outgrown a 1080p HD screen. The Asus pro is a great premium all-in-one desktop for those on the Windows camp who can’t help to have a feel of the Apple iMac line.
The design of the Asus Zen AIO is undoubtedly inspired by the Apple iMac 21.5-inch with 4K retina display desktop. It sports an all metal and glass exterior just like the iMac and a curved back panel that tapers to a sharp edge all around. Asus flaunts a slim profile that will take lesser desk space especially for those who are working on a constrained office environment. It is the best option when compared to tucking a minitower PC in the room connected with a 24-inch monitor thereby taking much of the space. The Zen AIO pro has a single tilting hinge that is connected to a metal arm to support the display. It leaves some plenty of space underneath where you can easily store your wireless keyboard. The brand name ‘Asus’ is embedded on the bottom bezel of the display, were it not it, your friends can easily confuse the Zen Pro with Apple’s iMac.
The AIO desktop measures 23 x 17 x 7.5 inches and weighs 16 pounds, which is not quite heavy at least for desktop standards hence moving it from room to room should not be much of a problem. The Apple iMac 21.5-inch AIO desktop is much lighter and smaller as it measures 20.8 x 17.7 x 7 inches and weighs 12.5 pounds thus more preferable for those who could be moving offices more often.
Aboard the Zen AIO is the 6th generation Core i7-6700T processor clocked at 2.8GHz that can run up to 3.6GHz with Turbo boost technology and 8 GB installed memory. The processor manages a score of 5313 which is far above the 5000 mark baseline for modern computers. This gives the system the much power needed to handle any task thrown at it including playing the latest games, editing of videos and images, multitasking and handling power demanding workloads.
In terms of storage, the system comes with 1 TB 5400 RPM hybrid hard disk with a small Solid State Drive-like cache. The drive is much faster than the pure mechanical hard drive but falls short of being a solid state drive. Loading of programs and booting of the machine is relatively faster with the hybrid drive that comes in to cut down the cost of having a fully solid state drive while offering an almost similar experience. The drive strikes a balance between ample storage and performance. The space is quite enough for storage of all your videos, music, movies, files and photos.
Gaming enthusiasts will find this machine more appealing, thanks to the inclusion of the Nvidia GeForce 960M with 2GB RAM GPU which is capable of handling mainstream games seamlessly. The dedicated Chip will get away with playing some titles in Full HD and on high settings such as GTA 5 will give you +40 FPS while Minecraft hitting +60FPS. When it comes to power demanding games such as The Witcher 3, you will have to settle with medium to high settings in order to get decent frames per second. The system won’t do much of 4K gaming so keep your expectations in check. Playing BioShock Infinite on the Asus, it returns 107 fps at 1080p with the graphics set to low and produces 44fps on high settings. This is similar to what the GeForce 960M-powered MSI 24GE could offer with 102 fps at high graphics.
The connectivity department in the Zen AIO is well staffed with four USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port and the latest USB 3.1 type-C port. The system also includes two HDMI 1.4 output ports, headset and mic jacks and an SDHC card read. This is a good package in terms of connectivity, however, the grim part is that all these connectivity ports are on the back. As such, you will have to turn the desktop round to connect a thumb drive which could have been much easier with a side port. However, this is not a deal breaker, getting yourself a USB 3.0/3.1 dock while shopping will solve the problem. Internet connectivity can be done by way of a gigabit Ethernet port for cabled network. Wireless connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Conspicuously missing is the HDMI input port with HDCP 2.2 support considering the price of the AIO desktop. This should be a future proof device to taken care of the most upcoming UHD content that is likely to be copy protected where the HDCP 2.2 supported HDMI could have made it possible to play on this display. Additionally, the system does not come with a built-in disk drive so you will have to stream your videos or use the USB ports to plug in your external hard drive and watch movies.
The Zen AIO flaunts a 23.8 inch touch screen with a 3,840 by 2,160 resolution that is 4K ultra-high definition. This is an amazing resolution coming from Asus but it is yet to outdo what we saw in the 21.5-inch Apple mac which flaunts a higher resolution of 4,096-by-2,160 while using the film industry’s standard for 4K. The 23.8-inch display is also fitted with an IPS panel that offers wide viewing angles and accurate colors to view your videos and images. The display is also equipped with 10 points touch of control that make navigation of documents and use of windows 10 functions easier by just the use of your fingers.
The display boasts of a 100-percent sRGB color gamut that offers accurate colors thus making videos and photos look more vibrant. The 21.5-inch iMac eschews the Zen with its DCI-P3 color space that matches the colors similar to the digital projectors. Still the screen is in the Zen AIO is great and offers accurate colors than other AIO desktops in the competition such as the Dell XPS 18.
Asus ups the game with the use of Intel RealSense 3D camera that supports a number of motion-tracking apps and neat 3D-scanning. RealSense does a number of camera tricks with the Asus without breaking much of a sweat including superimposing you into a background without having a green screen. The RealSense feature comes in handy to work as a gaming peripheral as it allows you to steer a car by a simple tilt of your head while playing a racing game. The webcam can as well be used with the Hello Feature in windows 10 for signing in to your machine through facial recognition. In addition to the RealSense features, the 1080p camera is capable of taking decent pictures. It also comes in handy for video conferencing and chatting with friends and family via skype.
Keyboard and Mouse
The AOI desktop comes bundled with standard wireless mouse and keyboard set. The full sized keyboard offers plenty of key travel and feedback. There is also a numeri pad that will make it easier to handle all your calculations or entries. Typing in such a keyboard is comfortable with the ability to attain maximum typing speed without making many errors. The colors of the keyboard and mouse match that of the main unit but do not come with the same brushed-aluminum texture. It is this small things such as lack of detail that differentiate the unit with Apple who take everything seriously by giving their desktops and keyboards a premium look.
The Zen AIO packs two stereo speakers with woofers which deliver a loud and impressively bass-heavy sound. The sound is loud enough to watch your movies and play some music comfortably without the need for an external speaker. Playing Kenny Rodger’s “Gambler” you can feel the drum and bass guitar sound coming out well.
The Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240-C4 is a decent all-in-one desktop that flaunts a 4K screen and offers a reliable performance. The desktop offers plenty of storage space with a solid state hybrid that increases its performance and the screen quality is great. However, the 23.8-inch display with a resolution of 3820×2160 is dwarfed by the Apple iMac 27-inch that comes with 5K Retina display. The machine packs a speedy 6th generation Core i7-6700 processor and discrete Nvidia 960M graphics. Other goodies include a USB Type-C port and RealSense 3D camera that is rare to find in all-in-one desktops. If you prefer using Windows OS than iOS for professional editing and other functionality, then you will find the Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240-C4 to be the most ideal machine for you.