PROS / The AiO Pro has six dedicated speakers, including two subwoofers, for superb stereo sound.
CONS / The system lacks an optical drive or HDMI inputs, so you can’t watch Blu-ray movies or easily install programs from discs.
VERDICT / The ASUS Zen AiO Pro is a well-rounded all-in-one that pushes affordability more than raw power. It might not blow you away, but it’s still a solid machine.
All-in-ones desktops make great family computers. They’re easy to setup, don’t have lots of cables or peripherals to clutter your desktop, and can fill the needs of almost everyone in the house. By that definition, the ASUS Zen AiO Pro is the consummate all-in-one: It’s beautifully minimalist and great for almost everyone in the house, but the keyword here is “almost.”
The AiO Pro’s screen measures 23.8 inches from corner to corner and sports a 1080p display. That’s not great, but this is a sub-$1,000, entry-level model – there’s a 4K version available if you can spare the cash. The display is touch-sensitive, so you can make full use of Windows 10’s touch-enabled interface options.
Beneath its exterior, the base system is powered by a sixth-generation Intel Core i5-6400T. That’s on the lower end of processors on our all-in-one lineup, but it still has a PassMark score of 5,313, which is above the 5,000-mark baseline we expect from a modern computer. It’s enough to power through document processing and even some image editing, but it will flounder if you try to 3D render or play high-end games. That’s not to say you can’t play games at all; the discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M graphics card should sate the casual gamer in your family.
One of the things we look for in all-in-one computers is multimedia capability. Whether it’s a built-in Blu-ray player or an HDMI input so you can plug in a cable box or game console, being able to use your computer for more than business is always a boon. The Zen AiO Pro has neither HDMI inputs nor a built-in disk drive, making it a lot harder to watch movies without streaming them. Fortunately, it comes with five USB 3.0 ports, so there’s always the option of buying and plugging in an external drive.
For either watching movies or listening to music, the AiO Pro’s speaker system is a big step up from most all-in-ones. ASUS packs six speakers into the display: two drivers and a subwoofer on either side. Given that all those speakers are right in the monitor, you can’t expect to experience true surround sound, but ASUS’ solution still makes for rich, bass-heavy audio from a very svelte machine.
At some point in time, even the best all-in-one computers will need servicing, though it may simply be a clean installation of the operating system. Our sister site Laptop Magazine does an annual survey of the tech support offered by each of the major computer manufacturers, ASUS included. In its most recent Tech Support Showdown, ASUS came in eighth out of 10. It offered up solid phone support with low average call times, but its online support section is lacking.
The ASUS Zen AiO Pro takes more than a few design cues from Apple’s iMac, and the result is a solid Windows 10 machine with similar drawbacks – no HDMI inputs and no built-in optical drive. The smaller 1080p display isn’t as impressive as the big-screen 4Ks we see in the competition, but if you don’t need that screen real estate, the Zen AiO Pro can save you a lot of money.