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Asus Zen AiO Z240ICGT review - the iMac has a Windows rival

Michael Passingham
23 Dec 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,500
inc VAT

A top-end spec for a top-end price, the Zen AiO is a genuine iMac alternative

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-6700T, RAM: 16GB, Front USB ports : None, Rear USB ports: 4x USB3, 1x USB3-C, Total storage: 1TB hard disk, Graphics card: 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, Display: 24in integrated touchscreen display, Operating system: Windows 10

Many all-in-one PCs aim for premium status, but few manage to be the whole package, and even fewer are able to hold a candle to Apple's iMac. It’s still the most complete system for those needing lots of power and lots of pixels – with a price to match. Asus could actually compete with the Zen AiO, though; it’s a high-end all-in-one with styling to match the specification. With looks consistent with the firm's Zen laptop range, the Zen AiO’s gold-tinted, brushed metal chassis and sharp, machined corners make it look and feel every bit the premium computer.

Form appears to have truly beaten function, however, with Asus mimicking Apple’s approach to port placement; four USB3 ports, two HDMI ports, an SD card reader and 3.5mm audio jack are all rear-and-centre, making them comically difficult to reach. Unlike Apple iMacs, which are generally easy to rotate despite their size, the Zen AiO's flipper-like stand is somewhat harder to spin around. If you regularly use the ports you'll want to buy a more easily-accessible USB hub, while others will simply cope with the occasional frustration. Still, we would gladly have interrupted the smooth curves for a set of more easily accessible ports.

All that is forgotten though once you look at the 24in, 3,840×2,160 resolution screen. With the Zen AiO very much aimed at professionals as well as home users, real attention has been paid to colour performance; with 99.9% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut and a delta-E of just 3.7, it’s a seriously impressive panel. With a peak brightness of 303cd/m2, it's also more than bright enough.

Our only gripe is the fairly high 0.33cd/m2 black level. This would be acceptable on a cheaper PC, but on one looking to entice video producers and photographers it's slightly too high, making it difficult to differentiate blacks with very dark shades of grey and so compromising detail.

The built-in speakers match the great picture with impressive audio. Music, explosions and speech all sounded surprisingly full of depth and were, for the most part, very clear. At 100% volume the chassis begins to vibrate slightly, but keep it just below that (which is quite loud enough) and this a great-sounding all-in-one.

There’s also an integrated Intel RealSense camera above the display, which allows for advanced motion controls and even some motion-based gaming. The list of titles that support RealSense is admittedly very small, but it is at least useful for Windows 10's 'Hello' feature, which lets you log on instantly using just your face.

The bundled mouse and keyboard aren’t up to the same standard as Apple's efforts; they might be wireless, but are made from plastic. The keyboard has a decent amount of travel and isn’t overly spongy, but we’d expect more than a basic two-button-and-scroll-wheel mouse with a £1,500 PC.

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