All posts in “Asus”

Asus’ Blue Cave router has a gaping hole in it, but manages to look pretty sweet

There’s really no way you could miss the huge blue hole in the centre of Asus’ new router.

The rather aptly-named Blue Cave is the Taiwanese tech giant’s latest AC2600 dual-band Wi-Fi router.

But there’s more to the hole than pure aesthetic design.

Speaking to Mashable on the showfloor of the Computex technology show, an Asus spokesman explained that the antennas of the device are built into the roof, so you’ll no longer have those ugly rods sticking out of your router.

Image: yvette tan/mashable

The hole is meant to separate the antennas from the motherboard, which sits at the bottom of the router. 

The Blue Cave also touts the ability to handle large capacity transfers, to enable you to stream 4K videos and support wireless file sharing without lag.

Image: yvette tan/mashable

You can also manage the router from your smartphone or tablet — where you can control what apps can access the Internet and view network usage.

And in light of recent malware attacks, the Blue Cave also comes with “AiProtection”, the company’s security offering, powered by TrendMicro.

Asus has yet to officially announce how much the device is going for, but a spokesperson revealed that it would be “under $200.”

Soon, there’ll be no need to hide your routers behind your desks.

Stay tuned for more news from the Computex 2017 in Taipei, as we cover it from the showfloor.

WATCH: Hands-on review: Apple iPad Pro, Apple Pencil & Smart Keyboard

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Asus skips robots at this year’s Computex event and flaunts super-thin laptops instead

Remember Zenbo, the cute humanoid robot that stole the show at Asus’ Computex press conference last year? Zenbo was absent from the stage this year, as were ZenFones. Instead, in an unusual departure for the event, which took place today in Taipei, Taiwan, the focus was solely on Asus’ new laptops, with the spotlight shining on the newest additions to its ZenBook line: the ZenBook Flip S and the ZenBook Pro UX550.

Asus claims the ZenBook Flip S is “the world’s thinnest convertible laptop.” It weighs in at just 1.1kg and is only 10.9mm thick (Asus’ press materials compared it to the HP Spectre x360, which weighs 1.29kg and is 13.8mm thick, and the MacBook Air at 1.35kg and 17mm).

The ZenBook Flip S’s 13.3in 4K touchscreen display can flip 360 degrees, while its specs–an Intel Core i7-7500U processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD–should ensure a fast performance. Asus claims the machine’s battery can last up to 11.5 hours and reach a 60 percent charge in 49 minutes, and it has a USB-C port for peripherals. The ZenBook Flip S will be available for sale in September starting at $1,099.

  1. Asus ZenBook Pro UX550

  2. Asus ZenBook Pro UX550

  3. Asus ZenBook Pro UX550

Like its predecessor, the ZenBook Pro UX550 also has a 15.6in 4K touchscreen display–but this time it runs on Intel’s seventh-generation Core i7-7700HQ quad-core processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a discrete graphic card, the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti. Another selling point is the ZenBook Pro UX550’s slim profile: it weighs 1.8kg and is just 18.9mm thick. Pricing will start at $1,299 when it hits the market in July.

Other laptops showcased today include the ZenBook 3 Deluxe (which debuted at CES in January), the $499 VivoBook S (it comes with up to a Core i7 CPU and Nvidia GTX 940MX GPU), and the VivoBook ($799, with a Core i7 CPU and Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU).

Asus unveils the world’s thinnest convertible laptop yet

Image: yvette tan/mashable

The world of convertible laptops just got its thinnest yet.

Asus unveiled the Zenbook Flip S on Monday in a large scale launch event, a day ahead of the larger Computex technology show in Taipei. 

The Zenbook Flip S is 10.9mm thin. In comparison, competitors like the HP Spectre x360 come in at 13.8mm, and the Apple MacBook Air measures 17mm. 

Image: yvette tan/mashable

Image: yvette tan/mashable

The Taiwanese maker’s 13.3″ laptop features a 360 degree hinge, and weighs just 1.1kg — again, lighter than the HP and Apple competition.

It’ll be priced at $1,099.

Image: yvette tan/mashable

The Flip S also boasts a fingerprint security sensor, 4K display, and fully supports Windows Ink in Windows 10 — the OS’s support for onscreen pen input.

And like everyone else, Asus is also jumping on the USB-C bandwagon, with two ports for data and charging.

Image: asus/supplied

But how durable is the laptop?

Asus claims it’s able to handle 20,000 open and close cycles, so it should last its lifetime in the average user’s hands.

With a blue and gold finish, the ASUS Flip S is also stunning to look at — though its shiny surface also meant that every smudge and fingerprint could be seen. 

Image: yvette tan/mashable

Asus also unveiled four other laptops at the press conference: the ZenBook 3 Deluxe, the ZenBook Pro, the VivoBook S and the VivoBook Pro.

The VivoBook S comes in at the lowest price point — at just $499.

Image: yvette tan/mashable

At the launch event, Asus Chairman, Jonney Shih, talked up the new laptops’ thin profiles, saying: “Our brand-new ZenBook and VivoBook line-up…[provides] everyone with a new definition of thin, beautiful and powerful laptops.”

Stay tuned for more news from the Computex 2017 in Taipei, as we cover it from the showfloor.

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Yes, mobile VR is possible without strapping a smartphone to your face

No, I don’t like strapping a smartphone to my face to enjoy virtual reality. And I don’t blame you if you don’t want to either.  

But if you look at the reported sales numbers for mobile headsets like the Samsung Gear VR over the past year, you might think people prefer them.

Um, I don’t think so. 

Although hard numbers are difficult to come by, in my own experience, the most dedicated VR users in the growing community tend to use high-end headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. 

That’s why it’s frustrating to see so many VR developers and content companies focusing on mobile VR over stationary, high-end VR systems. But I digress … 

Not everyone is ready to make the commitment of installing a large gaming PC in their home expressly for VR. But on the other hand, I’ve rarely seen someone in the wild (on a train or in a park, etc.) using a mobile VR headset. I’m looking for these mobile VR users, but I almost never see them. 

So I’ve been thinking that there must be a middle ground. A space between the lower cost, lower quality VR delivered via devices like the Gear VR and top-tier VR available on devices like the HTC Vive, which requires a full PC set-up to work. 

Perhaps something like a VR-friendly laptop that can move with you from place to place.

Last year, when I shopped for my own VR system, most gaming experts I spoke to advised against getting a laptop, instead suggesting that I get a desktop machine (I did). But I still wondered: Is high-end VR using a powerful laptop viable? With so many people now living a peripatetic lifestyle from city to city around the globe, this is also question others interested in VR have frequently tossed my way. 

The Asus ROG G701VI gaming laptop with the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch controllers.

The Asus ROG G701VI gaming laptop with the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch controllers.

Image: Mashable

To find out, I decided to get my hands on a powerful gaming laptop and put it to the test using the most system and graphics resource-intensive VR experiences currently available. 

The machine I selected was the Asus ROG G701VI, or as I like to call it, The Beast. 

Covered in special ops-style brushed gray aluminum, the laptop uses an Intel Core i7 processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, 64GB of RAM and 1 terabyte of solid state drive memory. On the outside, the machine sports three USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port and a 17.3-inch screen. Oh, and it weighs a whopping 7.9 pounds. Like I said, it’s a beast.  

Before I get into the results, a few caveats. This is by no means an exhaustive test of all the most powerful gaming laptops on the market. Nor is this a laptop review. This exploration was designed solely to figure out just how viable high-end VR using a laptop could be. The VR system I used was the Oculus Rift.

Real talk: Is laptop VR easy?  

In the era of the MacBook Air — a reliable laptop that’s so thin you can toss it into a backpack and forget you even have it with you — lugging around a laptop like the Asus ROG is an act of commitment rather than convenience. This is not a device you want to carry with you on a daily commute. 

However, for our purposes — setting up two Oculus sensors and strapping on the Rift headset anywhere — what’s most important is that when you reach your destination you can quickly boot it up and launch VR apps without a hitch. To my surprise (after several gaming experts warned me off using a laptop for VR), the answer is yes.   

Aside from its massive 17-inch screen and hefty weight, there’s also the matter of the power adapter. It’s huge. The 330-watt power adapter is listed as a mere 1 pound, but it has about the size and feel of an actual brick you’d pluck from a construction site. Again, this isn’t something you want to carry around regularly. 

Does laptop VR match desktop VR, or is this some sort of hack?  

The good news is that all that size and weight delivers all the needed horsepower to facilitate smooth and flawless VR. And I didn’t hold back, I purposely hammered the machine with every intensive VR experience I could think of, whether it was graphics-intensive games like The Unspoken and Robo Recall, or shared movie viewing experiences with friends in Bigscreen VR. The Asus laptop handled everything with ease.  

This gif looks a bit jittery, but in VR the performance was silky smooth.

This gif looks a bit jittery, but in VR the performance was silky smooth.

Image: The Unspoken, Insomniac Games

Over the course of one month of testing, the only hiccups I experienced occurred when I launched the Oculus desktop app after the laptop had been put to sleep rather than shutdown. In those cases, a quick reboot of the system eliminated any issues.  

No matter how long or hard I pushed the machine, there were no heat issues thanks to the device’s well-designed cooling system. Sure, the sound of the laptop’s cooling fans working was fairly loud during intense usage, but I could only hear them when I took off my Oculus headset earphones, so it wasn’t an issue that impacted any experience. 

And while you can take this laptop anywhere, don’t expect to be able to go camping in woods, mount Oculus sensors in a pair of trees and suddenly commune with nature while in VR using the device’s battery alone. I generally had to remain plugged into a power source while using the laptop to avoid dropping frames and motion lag. 

Better mobile VR, but at what cost? 

Because of the laptop’s size, weight and power requirements, the use case for such a set-up is unique, and definitely not for the casual user. 

Similarly, at $3,498 (the price of the configuration listed above on Amazon), the Asus ROG G701VI is in the realm of top tier power user laptops generally favored by independent filmmakers and graphic designers. For a loose comparison, a similarly powerful 15-inch Apple Macbook Pro with a 2.9GHz Core i7 processor, 1 terabyte solid state drive and a Radeon Pro 460 graphics card is about $3,499. (Currently, the Rift and Vive aren’t supported for Macs of any kind.)

The Asus ROG G701VI, aka “the beast.”

Image: asus

Due to the cost and the fact the technology is still emerging, VR laptops aren’t likely to become the mainstream vector through which average virtual reality users access the metaverse. 

But as more people get a taste of VR, and are in some cases dissuaded by the thought of setting up a massive gaming PC in their home, there is absolutely no reason not to consider this, or a similarly powerful gaming laptop, as a solution for accessing high-end VR. 

Now the only barrier — as it often is with bleeding edge tech — is cost. If you have the cash, the virtual sky is the limit.