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Reviewed: ASUS Zen AiO S

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Shawn Baker

Page 1: Reviewed: ASUS Zen AiO S

zotac magnus en970 teaserThe noble all-in-one has been around for years with Apple leading the way with their original iMacs. Most Windows products couldn’t keep up when it came to both material and workmanship. ASUS hopes that all changes with their new Zen AiO. A clear influence from the world of Apple is seen here. With a Skylake based Intel CPU and NVIDIA Maxwell graphics, is the Zen AiO an iMac alternative for Windows users?

Already at IFA the Zen AiO S caught our eye, straight away, though, the design is reminiscent of an iMac. With that said, ASUS have certainly added their own DNA into the mix to make it stand out. There are not only the striking Zen circles in the lower part of the frame, the daring angled frame adds another change into the mix. Almost a traditional element for the Zen products is used with the aluminum.

Unlike Apple, ASUS decided to not offer the precious AiO in two sizes. However, the 23.8” display is a reasonable balance and a clear eye-catcher. The 4K resolution means the 23.8” display sees an impressive 185 ppi. The huge pixel density allows for an extremely crisp image.

Behind the 3840 x 2160 panel we don’t have a whole lot of room. With that said, ASUS has decided to skip on frugal notebook hardware for the CPU, instead they’ve opted for regular desktop models. The Zen AiO S can be ordered with either the Core i5-6400T or Core i7-6700T. These T models make do with a TDP of just 35w.This compares to the likes of the more powerful Skylake model the Core i7-6700K which sees a TDP of 95w. However, the models come in at more restrained clock speed. Core i7-6700T offers a base clock of 2.8GHz with a maximum boost clock of 3.6GHz. The Core i5 option the other hand comes in at 2.2GHz and 2.8GHz respectively.

With little surprise, the GPU options are from the notebook line. With both options from NVIDIA, the Core i7 comes with the more powerful GTX 960M. The core i5 on the other hand gets its little brother the GTX 950M. The two mid-ranged solutions are both based on NVIDIA’s current Maxwell architecture. While playing modern games at the monitors native resolution won’t be an option, they should be able to handle them at a reduced resolution. We’ll cover the gaming performance a little later on.

Questionable pricing policies

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The selling price of the Zen AiO S varies depending on the configuration. During IFA, ASUS showed two variants on a presentation slide. The top version with Core i7 and GeForce GTX 960M would come in at 1,499 euros. The cheaper Core i5 with GTX 950M offer would arrive at just 1,099 euros. For a valued AiO with both current and quite powerful hardware, an aluminum housing and 4K touch display, the prices seemed solid. Against the competition, a 21.5” iMac with 4k display is atleast 1,699 euros.

Unfortunately, things turned out differently than expected. In reality, the budget Core i5 version doesn’t offer a 4K touch display, instead it’s a non-touch FullHD one. Those wanting a 4K touch display would opt for the Core i7 variant which will cost you at least 1,899 euros. For that price you got a 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD. The top model Core i7 with 4k display and 512GB SSD will set you back 2,399 euros. Although the price doesn’t appear to be unreasonable for what is offered, given the misleading information during the IFA presentation, you can’t help but feel some disappointment.

The ASUS AiO Zen S at a glance
Manufacturer and name ASUS AiO Zen S
Street Price: from 1,149 euros (for the basic variant with Full HD display, the test version will cost 2,399 euros)
Homepage: www.asus.com/
Hardware  
Dimensions: 53.4 x 40.1 x 4.7 cm
CPU: Intel Core i7-6700T (quad-core, 2.8 GHz base clock, maximum Turbo clock 3,60 GHz)
Graphic card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M with 4GB of VRAM
Mass storage: 512GB SSD (PCIe - 3.0 - 4x)
Memory: 32 GB of RAM (DDR4-2133)
Connections: 1x USB 3.1 (Type-C)
3x USB 3.0
1x USB 2.0
2x HDMI
1x LAN (RJ45)
2x 3.5 mm jack
Others: WiFi (802.11ac)
Bluetooth 4.0
Card Reader
Intel Real Sense

How does the ASUS Zen AiO S suggests in terms of performance, power and volume, you can learn on the following pages. Before we show the exterior of the precious computer still at an unpacked & touched video: