Archive for Asus

Asus ZenWatch 3 Gets The Google AndroidWear 2.0 Update

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 14, 2017 by itnerd

I reviewed the Asus ZenWatch 3 a little while ago. Thus I was interested in fact that the Google AndroidWear 2.0 update is now available for the device.

Key update features include:

Direct access to the Google Play Store: With Android Wear 2.0, users need no longer install apps though their paired smartphones. Now, they can directly browse and download apps from the Google Play Store on ASUS ZenWatch 3 itself for installation on the smartwatch.

Google Assistant: Android Wear 2.0 brings the Google Assistant to ASUS ZenWatch 3, so users can simply ask questions or issue commands to the smartwatch. Google Assistant recognizes natural speech, allowing users to simply talk to their ZenWatch 3 to perform tasks like setting alarms, asking about the weather, updating shopping lists, or navigating to destinations.

Highly personalized watch faces: With Android Wear 2.0, ASUS ZenWatch 3 owners can now personalize their watch faces to show live information from their favorite apps like appointments, stock prices, and fitness data. Other uses of this new feature include the ability to interact with apps simply by touching the watch face — for example, to book a ride, start a workout or make a phone call. Profiles for different locations like work, home or outdoors, that show different sets of information can also be set.

Improved message response options: Android Wear 2.0 features improved ways to read and respond to messages using ASUS ZenWatch 3. Now, when messages are received, users can expand the notification and choose to respond by dictating; typing or handwriting a reply; or by drawing an emoji. There’s also a new Smart Reply function that instantly and intelligently suggests different pre-prepared responses based on the content of the received message. This feature works with the most popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Glide, Google Messenger, Hangouts, Telegram or Line.

ZenFit: With Android Wear 2.0, the ASUS ZenFit fitness app can now count repetitions when using gym exercise equipment like shoulder presses, butterfly machines, chest presses and lateral pull-down machines in addition to its existing ability to count push-ups and sit-ups. ZenFit can now be downloaded and set up on ASUS ZenWatch 3 independently without using the phone app.

Instant Google Translate: Google translate now allows users to speak in one language to ASUS ZenWatch 3, which will then show the translated phrase in the selected language. It even presents the translated text upside down so the wearer can conveniently show it to the person they are speaking to for reading.

Users can manually check for the update in the Settings menu of the watch under System Updates. 

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Android N Now Available for ZenFone 3 Zoom

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 28, 2017 by itnerd

Asus today announced that the ZenFone 3 Zoom is getting Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS (AKA Android N).

Notable upgrades include:

  • Portrait mode as well as RAW image support – to better maximize the smartphone’s photography-related capabilities
  • Multi-Window View – Run two apps side by side
  • Quick App Switch – Switch between apps with a double tab
  • Notification Directly Reply – Reply to messages right inside the notification screen
  • 72 New Emojis – Select new emoji genders and skin tones
  • Data Saver – Limit how much data the device uses
  • Notification Controls – Choose app notification preferences
  • Display Size – Change the size of texts and icons

ZenFone 3 Zoom users can expect a notification for the software update on their phones, and also check for the update by navigating to ‘System Update’ on their ‘Settings’ screen. To learn more, including updated where to buy information, visit: https://www.asus.com/us/Phone/ZenFone-3-Zoom-ZE553KL/.

 

 

Asus And ROG Introduces The World`s Thinnest Gaming Laptop

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 27, 2017 by itnerd

The Republic of Gamers (ROG) Zephyrus is the world’s thinnest gaming laptop (17.9mm) offering an unparalleled PC gaming experience for today’s highly mobile gamers, and is now available in Canada.

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The ROG Zephyrus is the result of persistent dedication to gaming innovation from ASUS. It’s cooled by the exclusive Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) that runs cooler and quieter without sacrificing performance and is designed to increase air flow volume by 20 per cent. It is powered by 7th Gen Intel Core i7 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, with 120Hz Full HD G-SYNC display.

Additional features include:

  • Greater Efficiency with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 and Max-Q Design
  • ROG Exclusive Design and Cooling System
  • Perfected Gaming Keyboard with Aura Lighting Effects and Innovated Touch Pad with Ten Key Function
  • Ultra-Smooth Gaming Visuals and Versatile Connectivity

The laptop is also set up with Windows 10 Pro Creators Updates, which improves PC games performance via the all-new Windows Game Mode and easily performs on native game-streaming with Mixer, Microsoft’s streaming service.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501VI-XS74 is priced at MSRP $3499 and is available immediately from BestBuy.Ca, Canada Computers, Memory Express, NCIX, and Newegg.ca.

To learn more, including updated where to buy information, visit: https://www.asus.com/ca-en/ROG-Republic-Of-Gamers/ROG-ZEPHYRUS-GX501VI/.

Review: Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA

Posted in Products with tags on June 8, 2017 by itnerd

Not everyone needs a Windows tablet or laptop. For some would be best served with a Google Chromebook. The ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA is an example of such a Chromebook, and it has a fair amount going for it.

Now for a very long time, Chromebooks were largely used in education. Pardon the pun, but the Asus Chromebook Flip is going to flip the script on that. First of all, it’s quick by Chromebook standards. Nothing I did could bring it to its knees and you can thank an Intel processor and 4GB of RAM for that. In terms of storage, you get 64GB of storage which doesn’t sound like a lot. But it is by Chromebook standards.

Second, it’s all bundled up in a very classy and good looking package. For starters, all of this Chromebook goodness is in a thin aluminum body that feels solid and of high quality. In fact, it almost feels like something from 1 Infinite Loop. There’s a 12.5 inch screen with a max resolution of 2400 x 1350. My mid 40’s eyes found that to be too high a resolution, but you may not find it so bad. Regardless, the screen is sharp. Though I will note that it does get washed out when you’re outside in bright sunlight and sometimes in bright indoor lighting situations. You also get a full sized keyboard which is excellent to type on because it has long key travel. It’s also backlit and has a decent sized trackpad. Connectivity comes in the form of a pair of USB-C ports (which of course do double duty for charging purposes) and there’s a MicroSD card in the mix as well. A headphone jack is also included and you’ll need them as the speakers aren’t exactly the loudest. Battery life is good. Ten hours is what I managed to get out of this Chromebook which is what I look for in any portable device of this type.

The one thing that the Asus Chromebook Flip has going for it is that you can “flip” it and turn it into a tablet. To get to that mode, you just rotate the screen on its hinges. There’s also a magnet to make sure that it stays in tablet mode. It’s a cool and well designed feature that sets it apart from its competition.

Now in terms of pricing, the unit that I had goes for about $700 dollars Canadian. But Asus has models that start at under $600. If you’re in the market for a Chromebook, take a good look at the Asus Chromebook Flip.

 

 

Review: Asus Transformer Mini T102H

Posted in Products with tags on June 7, 2017 by itnerd

The Asus Transformer Mini is a entry level, 10.1″ Windows 10 tablet that has a bunch of things going for it. For example, it comes out of the box with a cover that doubles as a very nice keyboard (which is detachable). Typing on it was very good as the keys had a substantial amount of travel to them. Thus typing was easy for a touch typist like me. It also comes with a pressure sensitive stylus that you can draw lines with varied thicknesses in apps that support that functionality. There’s two buttons on the stylus as well that can be programmed. Both of these are extras or not available on many other tablets.

The tablet itself has a 10.1″ display that does 1280×800 resolution in a 16:10 aspect ratio. It was a very bright display where the colors simply looked amazing. The speakers are pretty good too when I played videos from YouTube with stereo separation. They were, loud, clear, and distortion free. The back of the tablet has a flip out stand that swings out of the back panel. It can stop at a wide range of angles, from straight up to an almost horizontal. It also has a fingerprint reader for security reasons which works with Windows Hello. Connectivity is pretty strong as it comes with a microSD card reader on the top of the tablet, and on the left there are a headset jack, a micro HDMI port, a micro USB port for the charger, and a full-size USB 3.0 port for connecting memory sticks, hard drives, etc. It also comes with 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 for wireless connectivity. The whole package weights less than 2 pounds.

Under the hood, you get 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage on top of having Windows 10 on board with an Intel quad core processor. Integrated Intel HD Graphics are on board as well along with a 2 megapixel web cam. I was able to open lots of tabs in Microsoft Edge as well as not have it slow down when I tossed a copy of Microsoft Word on it to see what it can do. As long as you’re not playing Overwatch or something on it, you’ll have no complaints on the horsepower front. Speaking of power, I got ten hours of battery life which is in line with its competition.

The best part is the price. Expect to pay $549 Canadian which given what comes in the box is a pretty good price. If you’re in the market for a versatile tablet, take a good hard look at the Asus Transformer Mini. It’s got more than enough to warrant your immediate attention.

Review: Asus ROG SWIFT PG27A 27″ 4K Monitor

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

I’ve been spending the last two days playing Team Fortress 2 on a brand new Asus ROG SWIFT PG27A 27″ 4K monitor and I’m loving the experience. Why? It comes down to a bunch of factors. 

First, the monitor is a 4K monitor, meaning it four times the resolution of HD. If you crank up the resolution to maximum, the images be it graphics, photos, or text, are bright, vivid, detailed and simply stunning on this IPS display. And you can tweak everything to your hearts content which will appeal to the control freaks that are reading this review. What helps with this is support for the Nvidia G-Sync standard for syncing your video card to this monitor for extra-smooth performance during your gaming sessions. Nothing I threw at it produced anything negative. Zip, zero, nada. It was impressive. Though for me to get this stunning display to work in this manner, I needed to use the DisplayPort connector instead of the HDMI cable that came in the box. My MacBook Pro should have been able to output 4K video via the built in HDMI port, but for some reason this monitor didn’t like doing anything about HD resolution via HDMI. But that’s not a deal breaker by any means as I am assuming that it’s the Mac more than the monitor.

Another thing that helps with the positive experience is the design of the monitor. In terms of ports, you get HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2 connections. You also get three USB 3.0 ports for peripherals, as well as an audio jack for your headphones. Plus a pair of great sounding speakers that produce audio that was better than those found in most monitors that had built in speakers that I’ve tested lately. The bottom line is that you have every port you need at hand. What makes those ports easy to access is that this monitor will pivot 180 degrees to give you access to those ports and you can rotate the display to do a landscape display (though it’s not automatic on the MacBook Pro that I tested). That way you can get some work done between online gaming sessions. Other nice design touches are the triangular opening in the middle of the stand that makes it easy to organize your cables. As well as the fact that you can raise and swivel it to a huge degree, which means that you can adjust it to fit your workspace and your needs. There’s a a directional nub and a series of snappy physical buttons on the right hand side of the monitor. They’re used for doing things like changing display presets and activating special features such as the Asus GamePlus special features which will be handy for hard core gamers. Everything in the on screen menus are logically laid out and easy to figure out.

The only downside of two that I found was the glowing red LED lights and futuristic-looking patterns on the base of this monitor (which for the record you can turn off). It’s polarizing. Gamer types will love it. I was indifferent. My wife despised it. This will be a your mileage will vary sort of thing. The second thing that this monitor goes for about $1200 Canadian. Not exactly a low price. But is one of the best high-end gaming monitor around. And that’s why I’m not bothered by the price as gaming types who want the best display available to help them to pwn their competition will flock Asus ROG SWIFT PG27A without batting an eyelash. I almost hate giving it back to Asus because it is that good.

 

Review: Asus Pro B9440

Posted in Products with tags on May 31, 2017 by itnerd

If you are a corporate user and you travel a lot, you likely want a laptop that balances light weight with power. That’s a hard balance for any PC company to keep. Asus is trying to walk that line with the Asus Pro B9440 business laptop.

Now this is a laptop that weighs in at 1.05Kg or 2.3 pounds even though the case is made of metal. That’s not going to weigh you down while you sprint across the airport terminal to catch your flight, and it explains why it’s MIL-STD 810G rated for durability. It is also spill resistant for those who like to work and drink their Starbucks coffee. It is slim and has a pair of USB 3 ports on the sides of the screen near the hinge (but only the one on the left side can charge it which is kind of strange) as well as a headphone jack on the left center edge. Two speakers are on the bottom front edge that sound great when I tested it by playing The Who. Above the power button is a fingerprint reader which works with Windows Hello. The keyboard itself is really comfortable to type on, and it’s at at an angle that favors a touch typist like myself. Plus the touchpad is a decent size. But kind of finicky. Finally, the 14″ HD screen is almost bezel-less. But what is weird is that it is missing a webcam which I would have expected to find on a business class laptop. It’s also matte which while it cuts down on the vibrancy of the colors, it makes the screen glare free. Bonus points come in the form of a sleeve to put the laptop into that is included.

The laptop comes to the table with Windows 10 Pro. It does its tricks via a 2.5 Ghz Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. You get 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. Graphic processing comes in the form of a 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620 chipset. The whole package works well. It’s quick to boot. As in 10 seconds or so from the time you press the power button to when you see the login page. I really couldn’t get it to slow down whether I was surfing the web or streaming video. Though it did get warm when I really pushed it. Battery life was in the order of roughly 9 hours which is what I expect, and you should expect from a laptop of this type. If you need to charge it, you can get 50% of a charge in 30 minutes. That is a plus for someone who’s always running from meeting to meeting and is away from an AC outlet from extended period of time.

One thing that the Asus Pro B9440 has in its favor is price. At roughly $1300, it is in line with most of the competition from Dell, Lenovo and HP. If you’re someone who travels a fair bit and need a light laptop, and you can live without a webcam, I’d consider the Asus Pro B9440 for your laptop needs. It’s light, durable, and will handle your typical office related tasks with ease while giving you plenty of battery life to make through a business day.