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ASUS Takes Home 18 IF Design Awards

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 21, 2018 by itnerd

ASUS has announced that they won 18 prestigious 2018 iF Product Design Awards. Spanning three product categories — Gaming Hardware/VR, Computer, and Telecommunications — the award-winning products represent the ASUS commitment to design innovation and engineering excellence. The awarded products were selected from a competitive field of 6,400 entries from 54 countries.

The winners in the Gaming Hardware/VR category are the ASUS FX503, ROG G703, ROG Zephyrus, ROG Strix SCAR Edition and ROG Strix Hero Edition gaming laptops; ROG Poseidon GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards; ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset; ASUS SBW-06D3X-U UHD Blu-Ray optical drive; ROG Strix Fusion gaming headset series; ASUS Cerberus Fortus mouse; and ROG Ranger 2-in-1 backpack.

In the Computer category, the award-winning products are the ASUS TUF X299 Mark 1 motherboard, ASUS Zen AiO ZN242 all-in-one desktop, ZenBook Flip S (UX370) convertible laptop, ASUS Designo MZ27 monitor, ASUS Zenbo smart home robot, and ASUSPRO B9440 business laptop. The ZenFone 4 Series won an award in the Telecommunications category.

Each year, the world’s oldest independent design organization, Hannover-based iF International Forum Design GmbH, organizes the iF Design Awards. These awards are recognized worldwide as a seal of quality for products that excel in specific criteria, including design quality, degree of innovation, functionality, ergonomics and more. An independent jury of 63 experts from countries around the world assesses products and selects winners.

 

2018 iF Design Award Winners – Gaming Hardware/VR category

ASUS FX503

ASUS FX503 is a compact and powerful Windows 10 laptop that packs the latest 7th Generation Intel® Core™ processor and NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 10-Series graphics. A high-capacity battery ensures that users stay productive or entertained throughout the day, while an intelligent cooling system enables graphically intense gaming sessions without throttling. FX503 is the first in the series to feature an ultrafast 120Hz, 15.6-inch Full HD display for cinematic experiences and smoothest gameplay. While offering power and performance, its lightweight design allows for easy portability.

 

ROG G703

ROG G703 is the world’s first gaming laptop with an ultrasmooth 17.3-inch Full HD IPS-level display with NVIDIA® G-SYNC™ technology for a 144Hz refresh rate. Powered by the factory-overclocked Intel® Core™ i7-7820HK processor that reaches incredible speeds of up to 4.3GHz out of the box, NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1080 graphics with a maximum boost clock of up to 1974MHz, and Windows 10, ROG G703 is an unmatched gaming powerhouse.

 

ROG Zephyrus

ROG Zephyrus is the world’s slimmest gaming laptop powered by a 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor and the latest NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 (Max-Q) graphics. It features the Windows 10 Creators Update, which improves the performance of PC games via the all-new Windows Game Mode while also making it easier to perform native game-streaming with Beam, Microsoft’s streaming service. The 15.6-inch ROG Zephyrus features an ultraslim profile and incorporates the ROG-exclusive Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) — a specially designed cooling system. It also features customizable ASUS Aura RGB lighting effects and a superfast 120Hz panel with wide-view technology, 100 percent sRGB color gamut and NVIDIA G-SYNC™ for breathtaking gaming visuals.

 

ROG Strix SCAR Edition and ROG Strix Hero Edition

ROG Strix SCAR and Strix Hero Editions are built for esports gaming titles. Hero Edition is ideal for fearless multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, and features an aggressive design with monster scales, silver Mayan-inspired patterns, and deep blue accents that project heroes’ might. SCAR Edition is ideal for first-person shooters, and features an anodized Gunmetal Grey finish. Engineered with Intel® Core™ i7 processors and NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 10-Series graphics, the 15.6-inch GL503 and 17.3‑inch Strix GL703 give gamers the tools they need to control the competition — so they can gear up, stake their ground and get ready to win.

 

ROG Poseidon GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

ROG Poseidon GeForce GTX 1080 Ti features the next-generation DirectCU H2O cooler, combining liquid and air in a larger 2.5-slot design. The expanded heatsink boasts 40 percent more area than its predecessor, while the updated plumbing improves the liquid flow rate by 22 percent. Support for standard G1/4 fittings make it easy to add the card to custom loops, and dual FanConnect II headers let the card manage system fans for gaming-optimized cooling. Poseidon GTX 1080 Ti features ASUS Aura Sync lighting and adds a new twist with a ‘mirror-reflection’ design that gives the illusion of a lighting effect that extends to infinity. ROG Poseidon GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is produced using Auto-Extreme technology, the industry’s first and only 100 percent-automated production process, for improved quality and reliability.

 

ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti includes a 2.5-slot for 40 percent more surface area for heat dissipation, compared to previous two-slot designs. It is packed with exclusive ASUS technologies, including the all-new MaxContact, an industry-first GPU cooling technology that features an optimized copper heat-spreader that is in direct contact with the GPU for improved thermal transfer. MaxContact, together with three patented wing-blade 0dB fans, delivers cooler, quieter performance. The fans are IP5X dust-resistant for improved reliability and extended lifespan. ASUS FanConnect II provides hybrid-controlled fan headers and a comprehensive set of GPU Tweak II tuning options to optimize system cooling even further. Industry-exclusive Auto-Extreme technology with 10+2-phase Super Alloy Power II components ensures premium quality and reliability.

Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti also features synchronized ASUS Aura Sync technology for complete RGB LED customization and personalization. A VR-friendly design with two HDMI ports lets gamers keep a VR headset connected to their system for immersive, virtual-reality gaming any time.

 

ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset

The ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset features innovative Microsoft technology to bring immersive real-world and virtual experiences to users. It features a beautifully unique design with a pattern of hundreds of 3D polygons and a glossy tone-on-tone effect. Weighing under 400 grams and featuring premium antibacterial cushioned materials and a balanced-crown design that reduces pressure on the nose and face, the ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset is cool and comfortable to wear for extended periods, so users can enjoy amazingly immersive experiences for longer. It features innovative inside-out tracking with two built-in front-facing tracking cameras with six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) position tracking and it doesn’t need external sensors or additional software — so initial setup is simple and users can get up and running in minutes. To ensure the widest range of stunningly immersive virtual experiences, the ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset supports more than 20,000 Windows apps and more than 2,000 Steam® VR titles.

 

ASUS SBW-06D3X-U optical drive

ASUS SBW-06D3X-U is the world’s first external Blu-ray optical drive capable of playing 4K UHD Blu-ray movies. It has a futuristic design with ASUS Aura Sync RGB LEDs, giving it a look that goes well with gaming systems. It has a built-in fold-out stand for space-saving vertical placement. A USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C™ (USB-C) port provides fast file transfer speeds and eliminates the need for a power adapter.

 

ROG Strix Fusion gaming headset series

ROG Strix Fusion series is a new gaming headset series that offers no-compromise gaming audio quality, comfort and style. Currently available in two models — ROG Fusion 300 and ROG Fusion 500 — ROG Strix Fusion headsets feature exclusive ASUS Essence drivers, airtight chamber technology for top-notch audio, ROG Hybrid cushions for extreme comfort, plus captivating lighting that lets gamers show their personal style.

 

ASUS Cerberus Fortus

ASUS Cerberus Fortus is an ambidextrous gaming mouse engineered for battlefield-dominating performance. Its magnesium-alloy base evenly distributes weight to provide smooth gliding and pinpoint accuracy. The metal base also improves durability, providing reassurance that Cerberus Fortus is built to last. High-quality Omron mouse switches also ensure the fastest response times and extended durability, with a lifespan of up to 50-million clicks.

 

ROG Ranger 2-in-1 Backpack

Ranger 2-in-1 Backpack is a unique and stylish travel accessory for gamers. Featuring detachable front and rear compartments, it’s designed for comfortable and easy transport of any gaming gear. The modular design of the Ranger 2-in-1 Backpack lets gamers easily customize its capacity to suit whatever gaming gear they’re transporting — from light to heavy loads, and from small accessories to 17-inch gaming laptops. A full-size front ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) panel with a reflective ROG logo provides total protection, while displaying a gamer’s unique ROG style. With its ergonomic shoulder straps and ventilated back-padding — constructed from memory foam — the Ranger 2-in-1 Backpack is comfortable for all-day use, even when fully loaded.

 

2018 iF Design Award Winners – Computer category

ASUS TUF X299 Mark 1 motherboard

TUF X299 Mark 1 comes from the TUF family of motherboards that prioritize reliability and durability for PCs built to go the distance. TUF X299 Mark 1 features a protective cover that streamlines airflow over the board and prevents dust accumulation. Besides the dedicated fan that directs cool air toward the primary M.2 slot, it is also laced with additional temperature sensors to monitor different zones on the motherboard and in your system as a whole. Sensor data is fed into Thermal Radar 3 software that intelligently manages system cooling to keep temperatures and acoustics low. Its updated armor is the strongest yet for TUF motherboards, but its real strength comes from the Fortifier backplate that prevents the board from warping while helping to support massive air coolers that tend to hang a lot of weight off of the socket. The TUF X299 Mark 1 also features a VGA holder that eliminates ugly and potentially damaging graphics card sag by supporting the motherboard to prevent bowing and bending.

 

ASUS Zen AiO ZN242

Zen AiO ZN242 is a powerful, compact and elegant all-in-one PC that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible — to deliver the ultimate AiO computing experience. Zen AiO ZN242 features a 23.8-inch NanoEdge frameless display with an industry-leading 90% screen-to-body ratio, 100% sRGB color gamut and 178° wide-view technology for incredibly immersive viewing. As well as stunning looks, Zen AiO ZN242 delivers seriously powerful performance, with a 7th Generation Intel® Core i7 quad-core processor, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and gaming-grade NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 graphics. Zen AiO ZN242 offers a clean and uncluttered design with a gorgeous metal-like Icicle Silver finish. It features many thoughtful and practical touches including a pop-up camera and hidden cooling vents in the rear logo. It has a sturdy, diamond-cut stand with an ultraslim metal base adorned with our iconic Zen-inspired spun-metal finish.

 

ASUS ZenBook Flip S (UX370)

ZenBook Flip S is the world’s thinnest convertible laptop and it’s also one of the lightest. A mere 10.9mm thick and weighing only 1.1 kg, it features an Intel Core i7 processor, up to a 1TB SSD, 16 GB of RAM, a 13.3-inch high-resolution display with ASUS Pen support, and two USB-C ports. The new 360° ErgoLift hinge on ZenBook Flip S is smooth and stable, holding the display securely at any angle. The innovative hinge has a dual-action mechanism that lifts and tilts the keyboard into the perfect typing position when the display is opened beyond 135°. The integrated fingerprint scanner in the ZenBook Flip S is one of the slimmest scanners in the world, and it’s positioned on the side of the laptop for easy access in any mode.

 

ASUS Designo MZ27AQ monitor

Designo MZ27AQ is a stunning 27-inch monitor that heralds a new generation of frameless, ultraslim monitors. Winner of a 2017 Computex d&i award, Designo MZ27AQ measures just 7mm at its thinnest point, and boasts a sharp, WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS panel with a 100% sRGB color gamut to deliver incredible visuals for home entertainment. With an integrated 2.1-channel ASUS SonicMaster audio system co-developed with Harman Kardon, Designo MZ27AQ features two 6-watt stereo speakers and an external 5-watt subwoofer.

 

ASUS Zenbo

Zenbo is the first commercially available home robot designed to provide assistance, entertainment, and companionship to families. Zenbo is a fun and educational playmate for kids, entertaining them with interactive storytelling and learning games that foster creativity and logical thinking skills. As a hands-free household keeper, Zenbo enriches the home with a broad range of skills that make life easier and more enjoyable. He can control many smart home devices, assist in the kitchen by reading recipes out loud and by functioning as a voice-controlled timer, serve as a family photographer with his built-in camera, and operate as a home security camera to give homeowners peace of mind when they are away.

 

ASUSPRO B9440

ASUSPRO B9440 is currently the world’s lightest 14-inch business notebook. Designed for discerning on-the-go professionals and weighing just 1.05 kg, B9440 has an ultracompact design with a footprint no larger than many 13-inch notebooks, making it the ultimate take-anywhere notebook for business productivity. Stylish and practical, the sleek B9440 features an all-metal chassis crafted from magnesium alloy — a premium material that is both lighter and more rigid than standard aluminum alloy. Its ergonomic keyboard has an innovative tilting design that positions it perfectly for comfortable typing. B9440 is US MIL-STD 810G military-graded and also passes extra-strict ASUSPRO reliability standards, undergoing a series of extreme tests to ensure dependable operation in any environment.

 

2018 iF Design Award Winners – Telecommunications category

ZenFone 4 Series

ZenFone 4 Series smartphones are designed to provide the best mobile photography experiences, with dual cameras that enable unlimited creative options and give users the freedom to capture their world from multiple perspectives.

ZenFone 4 is a 5.5-inch smartphone that evolves the ZenFone lineage with luxurious design while delivering an unparalleled mobile photography experience with a dual-lens camera system featuring the flagship Sony IMX362 image sensor, a large f/1.8 aperture lens, and a 120° wide-angle lens. The latest powerful and energy-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 660/630 Mobile Platform provides performance for every scenario, and a high-capacity 3300mAh lithium-polymer battery coupled with ASUS BoostMaster fast-charge technology keeps ZenFone 4 going longer.

 

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ASUS Reveals All New Lineup At CES

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 8, 2018 by itnerd
ASUS today revealed its all-new lineup of connected devices at the ASUS Showcase Room at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, displaying how the ASUS ecosystem delivers impeccable connectivity to keep users in touch around the home, at the office and on the go. Here’s a list of what was revealed.

ASUS Lyra Voice

Winner of the CES 2018 Innovation award, Lyra Voice is a two-in-one 802.11ac mesh Wi-Fi system and voice assistant with powerful stereo speakers, a microphone and integrated Amazon Alexa voice control. Users can interact with Amazon Alexa simply by talking to Lyra Voice, enabling them to play music, hear the news, check the weather, control smart-home devices, and more.

Part of the Lyra mesh Wi-Fi system family, Lyra Voice is a tri-band, AC2200-class device that communicates with other connected Lyra hubs to provide whole-home coverage with no Wi-Fi dead zones. It’s the perfect choice for wherever a smart assistant is desired — be it the kitchen, living room or bedroom. The system also integrates seamslessly with trigger and automation services such as IFTTT, making it easy to turn a traditional house into the connected smart home. Lyra Voice can be configured and controlled easily using the intuitive Lyra mobile app.

ASUS Lyra Trio

Lyra Trio is a stylish, dual-band, multi-hub mesh Wi-Fi system with unique antenna placement to deliver impeccable Wi-Fi to every corner of the home — banishing Wi-Fi dead zones.

Lyra Trio features 3×3 MIMO technology and seamless roaming to deliver superior Wi-Fi speeds and automatically connect users to the best possible signal wherever they are in the home, ensuring consistently fast and smooth connections. This eye-catching new Wi-Fi- system also boasts always-on privacy protection for all connected smart devices for the life of Lyra Trio, ensuring that security is always up to date.

The ASUS Lyra app puts users in control, enabling PC-free setup, network management and diagnostics, and automatically notifies the network administrator should problems arise.

ASUS RT-AX88U

RT-AX88U is a dual-band router featuring the next-generation 802.11ax wireless standard for ultrafast Wi-Fi speeds of up to 6000Mbps. With a revolutionary combination of OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology, 802.11ax technology provides 4X-faster throughput than 802.11ac technology on connected devices in traffic-dense environments, while also increasing network capacity and efficiency. With the latest 802.11ax technology and four powerful antennas, RT- AX88U provides wide coverage and stable connections. Moreover, RT-AX88U offers easy connectivity for multiple users. Its eight Gigabit LAN ports and MU-MIMO for both uplink and downlink communications make RT-AX88U the ideal solution for busy environments such as LAN parties, which demand high capacity for both wireless and wired connections.

RT-AX88U also includes AiProtection, commercial-grade network security powered by Trend MicroTM, to block and neutralize internet security threats for all connected smart devices. It’s also compatible with the ASUS AiMesh Wi-Fi system for seamless whole-home coverage.

ASUS NovaGo

NovaGo is the world’s first Gigabit LTE-capable laptop designed for truly connected mobility, providing users with an always-on, always-connected experience with Windows 10. This ultrathin and light convertible laptop is powered by a Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 835 Mobile PC platform, and features a Gigabit Snapdragon X16 LTE modem for lightning-fast download speeds of up to 1Gbps — 3X to 7X-faster than average broadband speeds. It has up to a 22- hour battery life1 with over 30 days of modern standby, and a built-in eSIM or Nano SIM2 that ensures seamless connectivity across borders.

NovaGo is a new breed of laptop designed for the tech-savvy user who is aware of the new and exciting always-on, always-connected possibilities offered by the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC platform. The latest premium-tier Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC platform is designed to provide superior user experiences with blazing-fast connectivity and exceptional on-the-go power efficiency.

NovaGo runs Windows 10 S natively and provides users with a secure and familiar Windows experience including the Start menu and great new features like Windows Ink, Windows Hello and Cortana. Windows 10 S runs verified apps from the Microsoft Store, which provide a seamless and secure experience. Users can stay productive with Outlook and PowerPoint, get creative with Photoshop or InDesign, and be entertained by Spotify or Netflix.

ASUS ZenFone Max Plus (M1)

ZenFone Max Plus (M1) is the first model in the new ZenFone Max Series, the world’s only range of high-battery-capacity smartphones, perfect for modern, connected users that need their devices to just keep on going.

ZenFone Max Plus (M1) is the first ASUS smartphone with a 5.7-inch full-view display in an amazingly compact body that’s no larger than many standard 5.2-inch smartphones. With its expanded viewing area, compact size, dual rear cameras, convenient face- and fingerprint-

These products should be hitting your corner of the world shortly.

ASUS Announces AiMesh

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 4, 2018 by itnerd

There was a time not too long ago when our WiFi networks only had to support a couple of computers and maybe a gaming console, but the last ten years have gifted us an entire ecosystem of smart devices to streamline our lives. Making matters worse is the fact that these devices are not all sitting in one convenient location where the WiFi signal is the strongest. These devices are now dispersed throughout your home, sometimes in rooms where you previously would not have noticed a weak spot in the network. Getting decent speeds or connection stability in the most-used areas of the house is no longer good enough.

Fortunately, the answer to this massive increase in connected devices is actually simple. Mesh networks allow you to blanket your entire house with WiFi, from garage to guest room to backyard patio, by spreading access across multiple nodes to cover your home’s layout. Although these Mesh network products can be convenient all-in-one solutions, they are often only available in expensive fixed bundles, with a limited choice of WiFi speeds, hardware features and upgrade paths. In fact, your old router probably won’t work with these systems, so you’ll need to get rid of it — an expensive and wasteful thing to do.

With AiMesh, users can create a completely flexible whole-home WiFi system tailored to their needs, while continuing to enjoy all the functions of their current ASUS router, such as class-leading WiFi performance and enhanced security features like AiProtection. AiMesh also offers convenient central management and control via either the ASUS Router mobile app or the ASUSWRT web interface.

Enabling AiMesh on a compatible router just requires an easy — and completely free — firmware update that allows it to be added to any AiMesh network, so users can mix and match ASUS models according to their budget and/or needs, while making good use of their old router when they upgrade.

For a full overview on ASUS AiMesh, how it works and why this might just be your perfect networking solution, please visit us at Edge Up ASUS to learn more.

ASUS AiMesh is a free update for selected ASUS routers and is now available worldwide.  To view currently supported ASUS routers, please check www.asus.com/AiMesh.  Additional ASUS wireless routers will be added throughout 2018, so please keep checking the AiMesh support page.

The IT Nerd Award For Best Smartphone Goes To: ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro

Posted in Products with tags on December 26, 2017 by itnerd

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I reviewed a bunch of phones this year, but the ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro stood out to me because of the camera. I took it into an environment where it had to deal with a variety of lighting conditions which was the new Line 1 extension of the Toronto Subway System. And it passed that test with ease. That’s important because every phone these days is fast and capable. So it has to have something that makes it stand out from the pack. ASUS has it in the form of the camera. It’s a total winner if you want a flagship phone with a great camera. To add to that is battery life of close to two days. All for a sub $900 price tag unlocked. This makes the ZenFone 4 Pro a worthy winner of the IT Nerd Award for best smartphone of 2017.

Review: ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro

Posted in Products with tags on December 23, 2017 by itnerd

I’ve reviewed a number of ASUS phones over the years. But the ZenFone 4 Pro has to be their best effort. It mostly ticks of the boxes on what a flagship phone should be. Thus it is worthy or your consideration. Here’s why.

Before I get to the phone. Let me talk about the box. When you open the box, you don’t see anything but a bunch of boxes inside. The phone actually folds out in another compartment. Which is a rather cool way to package it. The box itself is magnetically closed. I have to admit that this was one of the cooler unboxing experiences that I’ve lately.

ASUS has put a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution AMOLED display on the ZenFone 4 Pro, which gives it a pixel density of 401 ppi. It is covered in Gorilla Glass 5 for protection. Here’s the catch, With the fingerprint sensor on the bottom, and two big bezels on the top and bottom, my first thought was that this was an iPhone clone. ASUS may want to go with an edge to edge display for their next phone just to avoid that comparison. But in any case, it looks very good and is visible in most lighting conditions that I used it in.

Under the hood, ASUS has this on offer:

  • 8 core CPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64GB Of Storage
  • Dual SIM capability, or use the second SIM slot to expand the memory.
  • Android Nougat
  • USB-C
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE
  • Headphone jack

The phone itself feels solid. But it’s a full-glass smartphone with some metal on the frame. That means that if you drop it, you risk cracking the glass. Let’s face it, glass is slippery and fragile, which are definitely two things you usually don’t want in a smartphone. But tell that to everyone buying an iPhone X. Regardless a case is mandatory as it is an all glass phone. Having said that, it wasn’t the fingerprint magnet that I was expecting it to be. The volume rocker and power button on the right side of the phone, with the USB-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, and speaker at the bottom. The left side houses the SIM and microSD card slot/second SIM slot. The phone is fast and didn’t bog down regardless of what I tossed at it. The skin that ASUS uses won’t annoy users. Plus the included software adds value to the ZenPhone 4 Pro rather subtract from it.

But the real star of the show is the camera. The rear camera is a dual camera setup which features a 12-megapixel main sensor and then a 16-megapixel secondary, telephoto sensor. That’s kind of different as you usually don’t see that kind of setup. It worked well when I tested it by going to the brand new Line 1 extension of the Toronto Subway System. The extension comprises six new stations and is the first extension of Toronto’s subway system in 15 years. Here’s a look at the six new stations which comprised a variety of lighting conditions:

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The camera of the ZenFone 4 Pro is insanely good. The autofocus is fast and the camera recycles quickly. If you want a great camera, this is it. It’s easily competitive with anything else that is out there. One note, you can run it in auto mode, or put it in pro mode so that you can control every aspect of the camera’s function. It also has a portrait mode that I tested by by taking a couple of pictures of a strap on a subway train. One has portrait mode, the other doesn’t:

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Video functions are just as good as it will do up to 4K resolution. Take this example which for best results, you should set to full screen and 4K:

For what it’s worth, The front facing camera is a 8-megapixel shooter. Regardless, the camera setup front and back really rocks.

Finally, the battery on the ZenFone 4 Pro is pretty impressive. There is a 3600mAh battery pack inside. That gave me almost two days of battery life. Thus if I can’t drain it in a business day, neither will you.

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro goes for $899 CAD unlocked. It’s easily the best phone that ASUS has made to date. And given all that it has, especially on the camera front, I say that this easily should be on your list if you’re in the market for a new phone.

Review: ASUS ROG Rapture AC5300 Gaming Router

Posted in Products with tags on December 6, 2017 by itnerd

I will say right up front that if you want the best performing router possible, the router that you are about to read about is the one to get. And that router is the ASUS ROG Rapture AC5300. I’ll get the elephant in the room out of the way and address the looks:

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Now it looks like the RT-5300 that I tested last year with an ROG logo added onto it. Thus that means that like the RT-5300 it takes up a lot of real estate and looks like something out of a Transformers movie. Which means it will be polarizing to potential buyers. But besides that and one other piece of criticism that I will share later, this review will be overwhelmingly positive. Starting with this:

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The front panel is pretty low key and doesn’t attract that much attention. Which given the overall looks of the router is kind of surprising.

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There are three buttons on the side that turn off the front panel LEDs, allows you to use WPS to pair devices to the router, or a button that kills WiFi entirely which would be handy for parents who want to get their kids to bed. But here’s one of the reasons why this router is extremely cool:

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There are EIGHT gigabit Ethernet ports on this thing (compared to the four that come with the RT-5300). The first two you can set up to have priority over all other ports, or you can bond them together to get 2 gigabits of throughput. Only a handful of routers have this many ports and your next LAN party will benefit from that. The two USB ports that you see are USB 3.0 which again is a rarity. You can use them for storage like USB hard drives or even for an 4G Internet dongle.

Another reason why this router is cool is what is under the hood:

  • 1.8GHz Quad-Core Processor

  • One 2.4GHz 1000 Mbps band

  • Two 5GHz 2167 Mbps band

  • 256 MB Flash

  • 1024 MB RAM

  • MIMO support

All of this conspires to make this one fast router. How fast? I have gigabit Internet access at home and it’s predecessor which was the Linksys WRT32X only managed to get a top speed of 798 Mbps over 802.11ac WiFi when I was five feet from the router. Now that’s nothing to sneeze at. But the ROG Rapture AC5300 beat that with a average speed 841 Mbps which is the fastest 802.11ac score that I have ever seen. Plus, it’s range is impressive. I was able to get a decent quality signal in areas of my condo where most routers struggle to get to. On top of that, throwing every device at this router from my Roku to my security cameras to all the computers didn’t slow things down all that much, if at all. YouTube, Netflix, whatever I threw at it worked without stuttering or buffering.

But things don’t stop there. Unlike the aforementioned WRT32X which to some degree relies on you having networking hardware from Killer to get the best performance, the ROG Rapture does this without that reliance in three ways:

  • Game Boost: This is a a quality of service (QoS) system for prioritising gaming traffic.
  • Game Radar: This provides server locations and ping status for a number of different game servers, allowing you to see which is the best to connect to so that you can get the best performance.
  • WTFast: This is a worldwide game network service that aims to optimize your connection to game servers. Usually you install their software on your PC. But because the router has this feature, everything on your network can leverage this.

On top of all that you get the protection of Game IPS which is powered by Trend Micro. It can stop external attacks from reaching into your network. That way you don’t get pwned by hackers while pwning your competition. And from my testing, I didn’t notice any slowdown in terms of playing any online game while using it.

Gripes? The only gripe that I have is the user interface. While the router is insanely easy to configure via one of the best wizards that I’ve seen in a router lately, once it’s configured, all the options that the user interface presents to you can be daunting. Though all those same options allow you to tweak this router to death. The only people who are going to love this user interface are nerds like me, control enthusiasts, and gamers. Joe Average user however will be heavily intimidated by this user interface. But then, this isn’t the router that Joe Average will be buying. Although they should be for reasons that I will get to in a moment.

Now all of this doesn’t come cheap. The ASUS ROG Rapture AC5300 is $500 CDN which makes it expensive. But, here’s why you want to spend $500 for one:

  1. It’s fast for everyone.
  2. It’s highly secure.
  3. You can plug lots of devices into it.
  4. It’s highly configurable.

Quite simply, this is currently the best performing router that money can buy. Some would argue that this router is complete overkill for most people. I would disagree. Given the four points above, I would say that it is the best value out there when it comes to routers that are designed for performance. If you have a house that has lots of devices with a thirst for data, this is the router that has to be at the top of your list.

ASUS ZenFone AR Now Available in Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 2, 2017 by itnerd

ASUS today announced the availability of the ZenFone AR – a next-generation smartphone that represents a significant advancement in mobile virtual and augmented reality technologies. The ZenFone AR is the world’s first smartphone that supports both Tango AR and Daydream VR technologies developed by Google, giving users totally new ways to engage with and be entertained by their smartphones. The ZenFone AR is available today, in a 6GB RAM configuration with 64GB storage, at Amazon Canada, BestBuy Canada and BestBuy Canada Prototype Stores, Canada Computers, Memory Express, and Staples Canada.

To create the best-in-class VR and AR smartphone, ASUS engineered the ZenFone AR with latest, top-of-the-line components. The ZenFone AR is equipped with 6GB of RAM and includes a Snapdragon 821 Mobile Platform; specially optimized for AR operations and unparalleled multi-tasking. ASUS worked closely with Qualcomm Technologies engineers and Google to efficiently distribute computer vision workloads, as well as rapidly process movement and positioning instructions by Tango that is known as six degrees of freedom, or “6DoF” (forward-backward / up-down / left-right / roll / pitch / yaw).

The desktop-class Qualcomm Adreno 530 graphics processing unit (GPU) delivers supercharged graphics performance, allowing the ZenFone AR to handle the graphics demands of Tango and Daydream with ease. Complementing the rich AR & VR experiences offered by ZenFone AR is a new audio system that supports Hi-Res Audio and DTS virtual surround sound. External audio also gets a boost with the ZenFone AR’s new ultra-loud 5-magnet speaker.

ASUS ZenFone AR was developed in close cooperation with Google to deliver the best user experience on both Tango and Daydream platforms. Tango, an augmented reality (AR) platform that uses qualified devices to detect their users’ positions relative to places and objects around them without using GPS or other external signals, allows application developers to create AR user experiences that include indoor navigation, 3D mapping, and environmental recognition, among other augmented reality applications. To date, there are already over 35 apps on Google Play that are Tango compatible. ASUS and Google are also partnering with well-known brands to bring the Tango AR experience to customers.

Today, Wayfair’s AR application, WayfairView, has been updated and integrated into its popular mobile shopping app for the ASUS ZenFone AR. The Wayfair app makes it possible for consumers to see virtual furniture and décor in their homes at full scale before they buy. A featured app on the ASUS ZenFone AR, shoppers can easily find and download the Wayfair app from the Tango App, or from the Google Play Store. Take a look at this to see the Wayfair app in action on the ZenFone AR:

To qualify as a Tango-enabled smartphone, ZenFone AR features a set of sensors and “computer vision” software that gives it the ability to interpret images, videos, space and motion like humans. Tango adds three new abilities to ZenFone AR: motion tracking, depth perception and area learning. Through these capabilities, ZenFone AR can detect how far it is away from a floor, wall or an object and understand where it is moving in three-dimensional space.

The ZenFone AR is also an accomplished camera smartphone, and contains the ASUS PixelMaster 3.0 camera system that includes the world’s highest resolution Sony IMX318 sensor and TriTech Autofocus system. Other key camera features include: 4-axis OIS photo and 3 axis EIS video stabilization, Super Resolution, Low Light, and a variety of optimized presets modes, as well as manual creative controls to provide photographers advanced control of the ZenFone AR’s camera to suit any need. Lastly, high resolution 4K video recording allows for ultra-detailed videos.

The 6GB RAM, 64GB storage ZenFone AR is available today for CAD MSRP $899 at: Amazon Canada, BestBuy Canada and BestBuy Canada Prototype Stores, Canada Computers, Memory Express, and Staples Canada.

To learn more about the ZenFone AR, including alternate configurations and updated where to buy information, visit: https://www.asus.com/ca-en/Phone/ZenFone-AR-ZS571KL/