ASUS Zen AIO Pro Z240IC review: Attractive design and strong performance, but limited upgradeability

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  • Editors' rating
    8.5 Excellent

Pros

  • Slimline all-in-one design
  • Attractive 23.8-inch display with 4K resolution
  • Strong performance from Core i7 processor
  • High-speed solid-state drive

Cons

  • Non-essential touchscreen adds to the price
  • Inconvenient location of ports and interfaces
  • Poor upgradeability

It's pretty clear that the Zen AIO Pro from ASUS takes most of its design cues from Apple's iMac. It has a similar slimline, metallic design, with a pedestal stand -- that doesn't allow you to adjust the height of the screen -- and even the faux brushed-metal finish on its mouse and keyboard (which are actually made of plastic). There are some key differences, though, and if you don't need the extravagant 27-inch 5K display of the iMac, then the 4K display of the 23.8-inch Zen AIO Pro will make a very cost-effective alternative for Windows users.

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The 23.8-inch Zen AIO Pro has a distinct iMac look about it, but differs from Apple's desktop system by offering touchscreen functionality.

Image: ASUS

Even the top-of-the-range model tested here comes in at a competitive £1,750 (inc. VAT, or £1,458 ex. VAT), which is actually closer in price to the more modest 21-inch version of the iMac. It might be smaller than the 27-inch iMac, but the 4K display of the Zen AIO Pro is still a looker, with a bright, sharp 3,840-by-2,160-pixel (185ppi) resolution that will work a treat for photo or video editing, or presentations work. The display also supports 100 percent of the sRGB colour space, which will make it a good choice for web designers too. There are two HDMI ports if you need to connect an external monitor, although it's annoying that -- like the iMac -- the Zen AIO Pro hides all its ports and slots around the back of the unit, forcing you to stand up and reach behind the screen simply to plug in a memory stick or card.

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All of the Zen AIO Pro's ports and slots are at the back.

Image: ASUS

The display is also touch-sensitive, which seems like a rather non-essential feature for a desktop system such as this -- as does the inclusion of an Intel RealSense camera, a genuinely innovative 3D technology that hasn't quite found its niche yet. There is a 'non-Pro' version of the Zen AIO available for around £1,200 (inc. VAT, or £1,000 ex. VAT) that omits both the touch controls and RealSense camera, although that model also drops down to a conventional HD display with 1,920-by-1,080 (92.6ppi) resolution. That would make the Zen AIO less attractive for design work, although it would still make a powerful and versatile system for general office use. And, somewhat confusingly, the Pro and standard versions of the Zen AIO both have the same model number (Z240IC), so you do need to pay close attention to make sure you buy the correct model.

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Image: ASUS

It's definitely the Pro model that we'd recommend, though, as it clearly offers a better all-round combination of price and performance. Along with its 4K display, the £1,750 (inc. VAT) model we tested includes a powerful Core i7-6700T processor (up to 3.6GHz with TurboBoost), along with a healthy 16GB of RAM and a speedy 512GB solid-state drive. There's also a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M GPU with 4GB of dedicated video RAM to handle the graphics.

The Core i7 processor certainly earns its keep, approaching Xeon workstation levels of performance and delivering Geekbench 4 scores of 4,520 and 14,246 in the single- and multi-core tests respectively. The solid-state drive is fast too, with impressive write and read speeds of 1,606MB/s and 2,209MB/s when running the ATTO disk benchmarks. Graphics performance isn't in quite the same league, but a speed of 51.3fps when running the Cinebench R15 OpenGL test is still respectable. You'll certainly be able to edit HD video for presentations, along with photo-editing and design work, although if you're serious about working with 4K video on a regular basis then you might need to consider a high-end rival such as the 27-inch iMac or one of HP's Z1 workstations.

The one real disappointment with the Zen AIO Pro is that it lacks even the modest user upgrade options of the iMac. Apple at least allows you to upgrade the iMac's memory via a small panel at the back of the machine, but the Zen AIO Pro really is a closed box -- and a browse around the forums on iFixit suggest that only a brave soul will attempt their own repairs or upgrades. So, as we've mentioned already, you really will need to pay close attention to the specification that you choose when buying the Zen AIO Pro, as you won't be able to make any changes further down the road.

Conclusions

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It might look like an iMac wannabe, but the ASUS Zen AIO Pro manages to carve out its own niche. Its high-quality 4K display provides an attractive Windows-based alternative to the iMac that will appeal to many designers, photographers and video editors, at a more competitive price than its Apple rival. It's a shame that ASUS's closed-box approach restricts upgrades and repairs so severely, but if you choose carefully the Zen AIO Pro will certainly earn its keep.

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Specifications

General
Type Personal computer
Product Form Factor All-in-one
Packaged Quantity 1
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core i7 (6th Gen) 6700T / 2.8 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 3.6 GHz
Number of Cores Quad-Core
Chipset Type Intel H170 Express
Processor Main Features Hyper-Threading Technology, Intel Smart Cache, Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2
Processor Socket LGA1151 Socket
Cache Memory
Installed Size 8 MB
Cache Per Processor 8 MB
Per Processor Size 8 MB
Installed Size 8 MB
Storage
Interface Type Serial ATA-600
Type none
RAM
Memory Speed 2133 MHz
Memory Specification Compliance PC4-17000
Features unbuffered
Configuration Features 1 x 8 GB + 1 x 4 GB
Technology DDR4 SDRAM
Installed Size 12 GB
Data Integrity Check non-ECC
Rated Memory Speed 2133 MHz
Memory
Max Supported Size 32 GB
Form Factor SO-DIMM 260-pin
Slots Qty 2
Empty Slots 0
Display
Widescreen Display Yes
Image Aspect Ratio 16:9
Monitor Features 100% sRGB color gamut, 82% NTSC color gamut, 85% Adobe RGB color gamut
Type LED
Touchscreen yes (10-point multi-touch)
TFT Technology IPS
Diagonal Size (metric) 60.5 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation Ultra HD 4K
Hard Drive
Interface Type SATA 6Gb/s
Type Hybrid Drive
Interface Class Serial ATA
Installed Qty 1
Capacity 1 TB
Hybrid Drive Cache 8 GB
Input
Type keyboard, mouse
Hard Drive (2nd)
Type none
Storage Controller
Type 1 x SATA
Interface Type Serial ATA-600
Type Serial ATA
Installed Qty 1
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
Hard Drive (3rd)
Type none
Processor
Installed Qty 1
Max Supported Qty 1
Type Core i7
Processor Number i7-6700T
Generation 6
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 2.8 GHz
Optical Storage
Drive Type no optical drive
Type none
Optical Storage (2nd)
Drive Type no optical drive
Card Reader
Type 2 in 1 card reader
Supported Flash Memory Cards MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card
Storage Removable
Type none
Header
Brand ASUS
Product Line ASUS Zen AiO Pro
Model Z240ICGT
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 4.0, Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
Wireless LAN Supported Yes
Features Dual stream (2x2)
System
Type personal computer
Hard Drive Capacity 1 TB
Miscellaneous
Color icicle gold
Monitor
Monitor Type LED - IPS
Native Resolution 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD 4K)
Horizontal Viewing Angle 178
Diagonal Size 23.8 in
Vertical Viewing Angle 178
Graphics Controller
Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
Video Memory 2 GB
Video Interfaces HDMI
Dimensions & Weight
Width 23 in
Depth 7.5 in
Height 17.1 in
Chassis
Form Factor all-in-one
Manufacturer Form Factor all-in-one
Audio Output
Sound Output Mode stereo
Mainboard
Processor Socket LGA1151 Socket
Chipset Type Intel H170 Express
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 1 year warranty
Keyboard
Connectivity wireless
Printer
Type none
Environmental Standards
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Expansion / Connectivity
Slots 1 (total) / 0 (free) x CPU
2 (total) / 0 (free) x SO-DIMM 260-pin
Audio Input
Type Microphone
Mouse
Connectivity wireless
Physical Characteristics
Form Factor all-in-one
Weight 16.09 lbs
Power
Type power adapter
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Windows 10 Home 64-bit Edition
OS Provided Windows 10 Home 64-bit Edition
Type AntiVirus software (trial), MaxxAudio, Microsoft Office 365 (Trial)
Hard Drive (4th)
Type none
Video Output
Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
Graphics Processor Series NVIDIA Geforce GTX
Video Interfaces HDMI
Video Memory
Installed Size 2 GB
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts and labor
Full Contract Period 1 year

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