ASUS Zenbook Prime Reviewed

The most prime ultrabook of them all

ASUS N56VZ Review

The Definition of Entertainment

Transformer Pad TF300, Affordable Quad-Core

Transformer, Quad-Core, Affordable and Plastic

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

[REVIEW] : ASUS ROG Maximus V Formula

Teaser photos from the recently concluded Computex 2012 held in Taiwan, have whet our appetites for the latest ROG products that ASUS plans to release before the year ends. And guess what? We now have in our possession one of the aforementioned show stoppers from Computex 2012, the ASUS ROG Maximus V Formula.

The ROG Maximus V Formula supports socket LGA1155, making it compatible with Intel 3rd and 2nd Generation Core processors, as well as with the latest Pentium and Celeron Processors supporting the same socket.
The ROG Maximus V Formula (M5F), is a board built specifically to cater to the needs of the hardcore gamer. It is based on Intel's new Z77 chipset and supports the latest 3rd Generation Intel Core processors. It can also support multi-GPU configurations for either NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFireX and includes the new Virtu MVP GPU Virtualization technology. However, if you would notice, there are only three PCIe slots but, despite this configuration the board can still support Quad-SLI and Quad CrossFireX through two dual-GPU graphics cards.

If you would recall, Virtu technology allowed users to utilize both a discrete GPU and the integrated GPU inside 2nd Generation Intel Core processors to boost graphics performance and ultimately maximize their hardware. VirtuMVP does the same thing except now it can boost graphics performance up to 60% compared to just utilizing the discrete graphics card without the integrated Intel GPU.

With liquid cooling having become so popular among hardcore gamers and enthusiasts, it only made sense for ASUS to include a liquid-cooling solution built into their latest ROG gaming motherboard.
Upon inspection, one will notice two plugged up cylindrical ports on either end of the one-piece L-shaped VRM cooling block. These are in fact ports for funneling liquid coolant should the user opt for a liquid cooling system. The heatsink, referred to by ASUS as the ROG Fusion Thermo, is no ordinary VRM cooler as it is coated with a ceramic finish similar to what can be found on the VRM coolers of the TUF series of motherboards to increase heat dissipation.

While in its 'Off' state, the division between the SupremeFX portion and the rest of the motherboard is barely noticeable save for the sudden difference in capacitors. When switched 'On', a red line lit by LEDs will become clearly visible.

Moving on to a different part of the M5F, one can spot a familiar SupremeFX chip off to one corner of the board beside the PCIe slots. ASUS in fact implemented the same Red Line separation found on the Maximus V Gene to show the division between the components for the SupremeFX audio system and the rest of the motherboard. But more than a fancy looking design, this division helps mitigate the EM interference from the rest of the motherboard components to deliver a smoother and cleaner audio output.

From the rear, the M5F has just enough I/O ports which includes 4 USB 3.0, 3 USB 2.0, eSATA, HDMI, DisplayPort, and SPDIF.
Catered for the hardcore gamer, the M5F also features some considerable overclocking capabilities. If the liquid-cooling block wasn't hint enough, then perhaps this extra 4-pin power connector could give you a better clue.
Further down the board is another 4-pin power connector, this time as added power support for a multi-GPU configuration as it is found beside the lowest PCIe slot.
As a board that was made for hardcore gaming, ASUS made sure to include ample overclocking support. A quick look at the board showed two extra 4-pin power connectors for when running a heavily overclocked system with multiple GPUs. It can also support memory frequencies up to 2800MHz and comes equipped with the new USB BIOS Flashback.

The monitoring corner of the board, this piece of PCB real estate features the GO Button, Slow Mode switch, an LED post monitor, and the Probelt.
This mPCIE combo card can support a Bluetooth and and WiFi module.
Another of the M5F's stand-out features is a detachable mPCIe combo card that comes with a Wi-Fi module, again similar to the M5Gene and to the more mainstream P8Z77-V Deluxe. With this add-on, M5F users can enjoy the benefits of wireless connectivity for their desktop PC and ASUS Wi-Fi GO! technology, which allows users to manage the internet bandwidth for their PC. Additionally, the M5F also comes with GamerFirst II for maximizing bandwidth for online gaming use.

The other side of the the mPCIe card can support either a Bluetooth module or mSATA SSD.
The mPCIe slots in as such and is secured by a single screw beside the ROG Connect button.

Packaged with the mPCIe combo card Wi-Fi module is a pair of folding antanae.

[Review] : ASUS Transformer Pad TF300

ASUS Transformer Pad TF300
Affordable Quad-Core 

ASUS Transformer Pads TF300 in Iceberg White and Royal Blue
The TF300 is the 3rd transforming tablet from ASUS. The new Transformer Pad is now designed for capture the hearts of 1st time tablet buyers that looks for performance, style and still conscious for their budget. 

Design & Specifications

HWM Philippines quoted that the TF300 is "Prime on Plastic". Honestly I kinda agree, since the TF201 AKA Prime is using premium materials which is an all aluminum body, its definitely one reason why the Prime was expensive.

Here are the basic specs of the TF300

  • NVIDIA Tegra 3 4 plus 1 Quad Core Processor 1.3Ghz
  • 32GB eMMC Storage
  • 10.1" IPS Panel 1280 x 800 Display (10 point multi-touch)
  • 8mp Camera f2.2 Apeture and 5 Elements Lens
  • Exclusive Mobile Dock for Additional Battery, Keyboard and Ports
  • Iceberg White, Royal Blue and Torch Red

Compared to the Prime the TF300 is just basically more...affordable.

Some major changes is definitely the body, where lifting a plastic tablet will be noticable since the TF201 feels really premium. Focusing on the TF300 the quality of the plastic body is very good, still carrying the concentric circle design finish of ASUS, it adds design and functionality as the tablet is easier to grip. 


TF300T Sample Picture [click to enlarge]

Sample picture above is taken under direct sunlight. Thanks to its 2.2 aperture  camera, it was able to control the level of brightness making it possible to see the building in the picture. In other digital cameras, the light would be too great and will cover overshine the building. Quality wise, its still not that great when zoomed in as you can't get that much detail but color and clarity wise, its already above average class.


ASUS created the Transforming concept because they want to combine all of the gadgets into one powerful powerhouse. In a bag where a techie person has a camera, an external HDD, mouse, charger and many more, ASUS wants to simplify the on-the go person with the Transformer Pad.

Having a functionality of a notebook with a full pledged keyboard, touchpad, usb ports and SD card reader. Also a bonus battery pack as the keyboard can charge the tablet extending the battery life significantly

Transformer Pad Dock

The TF300 Dock is specifically designed to work only on the TF300 as well. Unlike the dock of the TF201 where its also the same as the one for the Transformer Pad Infinity. This is because that the TF300 is a little thicker at 9.7mm where it will be flimsy if slot into the TF201 Dock.

Basically the dock is also made in plastic, and they changed the keyboard to the same keyboard used by Eee PC netbooks.

TF300 USB 2.0 Port + SD Card Reader on the same side

TF300 30-Pin connector Port


ASUS Transformer Pad Default Screen

Basically ASUS didn't tweaked the user interface that much as ASUS believes that Google Ice Cream Sandwich is already good. Tech persons call this as "Vanilla" version of Ice Cream Sandwich. 
ASUS just tweaked the user interface with simple change of font by using "Roboto" font, and simplification of widgets by simple line based graphics.

ASUS Notification Bar

The notification bar is also simple with just a modification of power adjustments of the processor from battery saving, balance mode and high performance mode. Plus the quick toggle to change the brightness. 

Another good thing about ASUS is that they are FAST, as in really fast in updates. They were the 1st in Honeycomb 3.1 , Honeycomb 3.2, Ice Cream Sandwich and now their latest is ICS with Face Unlock. 


In conclusion the TF300 of ASUS is still powerful thanks to its Quad Core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor. Plus ASUS managed to pack a very good tablet at a very tempting price point.

With an SRP Php 24,995 which is also now the 32GB variant, this is definitely a hit for those tablet searchers. With other competitions with the same price level but only providing a "tablet", unlike with ASUS where it already has the Mobile Dock in the package, its definitely a feature that users will have to reconsider when buying a tablet. 

A Quad Core Tablet, 8mp Camera, up to 15 hours of battery life, easy typing experience, the latest Ice Cream Sandwich OS and a very tempting price. All you need to start your tablet experience. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

[Review] : ASUS N56VZ

Entertainment Notebook Redefined

The new N6 series of ASUS is their new entertainment notebook that definitely defines entertainment without breaking the bank. 

Currently the N56 is one of the most in-demand notebook of ASUS, with its powerful specs, beautiful design, crystal clear speakers, powerful bass and gorgeous simple design. 


The N56VZ is the entertainment powerhouse of ASUS in the Philippines, its specialty is its superb display and audio quality. 

As the N56 is equipped with Bang & Olufsen, its capable of producing crystal clear sound without sacrificing bass. Also the N56 is now using an Magnesium Aluminum body where its now more better against body vibration.

ASUS highlighted that its easy to put big speakers in a notebook, but making it work with vibration sensitive parts such as HDD or I/O modules makes it very hard. That why they use Bang & Olufsen speakers for the best sound reproduction without sacrificing on weight, body quality or design. 

ASUS SonicMaster Technology
ASUS Introduced the SonicMaster technology last 2009 where it was primarily used in the NX90 notebook 

Since then, ASUS has created the image to use SonicMaster in their products. SonicMaster is a software of ASUS that enchances the speakers of a notebook to produce better range in treble and more bass without producing unwanted side effects in speakers. Probably the reason behind this is that ASUS wants to separate their brand in sharing technology and prove that they are better.

Example : SRS Surround sound is used by Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo and before ASUS.

Asides from the two powerful speakers of the N6 series, it also has a SonicMaster external subwoofer where its ideal in producing more bass. When used, its incomparable to any other audio special notebooks in replicating the sounds of the N6 series.

Software wise, the N6 series is equipped with a Full version of MaxxAudio software, it specifically tunes every aspect of your audio system for a customized audio experience.

In situation terms, the N56 can easily replace the any external speakers that cost around 1500 - 2500. Making you carry less and avoid the hassle of bringing additional items. 


The N6 series notebook is overhauled in design to deliver a more simple yet powerful package. The Touchpad is now three point touch enabled where it can do multiple command gestures to avoid using keyboard keys to much. 

Keyboard of the N6 is now back assembled as it promotes better travel distance, solid typing experience and especially the best feature of all, its now Backlit

Another feature is its Superior Display that provides wide viewing angle display with 350 nits of brightness. Plus the resolution of the N56 is now Full HD 1080p. 

As you can see the display is now also matte, making viewing videos more pleasurable especially movie watching with many friends.

Equipped with NVIDIA GT630M series graphics, the N56 is capable in playing high end games in the market today. Plus in a Full HD display, powerful speakers it makes your experience more enjoyable as you can really feel each and every bit of what is happening.

I definitely recommend the N56 Multimedia Notebook for anyone who has special requirements. With its powerful specifications, beautiful display, superior display and audio quality its perfect for people with professions. Audio Junkies, Graphic Artists, Video Editors or even just a hardcore gamer, the N56VZ definitely can fit the lifestyle of those entertainment hungry users

Plus having a price range of less that 50k, its bang for the buck as its the same performance as high end notebooks in 60k+ price and the best part is that it has better audio quality. 


  • CPU: 3rd generation Intel Core i5
  • Operating system: Windows 7 OS
  • Chipset: Intel HM76 Express
  • Memory: DDR3 4GB 1600MHz
  • Display: 15.6-inch 16:9 Full HD Wide Viewing Angle LED-backlit
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GT 630M with 2GB DDR3 memory
  • Storage: SATA 3Gb/s 750GB (7200rpm) 
  • Audio : ASUS SonicMaster + Bang & Olufsen Speakers

Estimated SRP : Php48,000 - Php50,000

[Review] : ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A

ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A
The Prime Ultrabook

ASUS introduced the Zenbook as early as Computex 2011 where its the new form factor inspired by Intel. The 1st generation Zenbook claimed many awards for its approach of a slim, powerful and beautiful PC where it fulfilled the role of being the "Zen" or balance of Beauty and Performance.

You can read up my review of the 1st Generation Zenbook Here

What makes the new Zenbook Prime? 

1st of all, ASUS is proud to announce that the Zenbook Prime is the World's 1st Notebook equipped with FULL HD IPS Panel. Meaning both 11.67" and 13.3" variants are using IPS Panels for accurate and vivid display visuals and FULL HD resolution for optimal PC experience. 

So its FULL HD / IPS Panel + SSD + Backlit Keyboard = Zenbook Prime

Basically ASUS kept the same look for the Zenbook but made a lot of improvements in the inside. 
Let's talk about it more now.
Backlit Keyboard

When the 1st Zenbook was out, a lot of people complained about that it doesn't have backlit keyboard. Now the new Zenbook Prime now has one, they even improved the travel distance of the keys in the Zenbook Prime which is the primary complaint for Ultrabooks due to their slim form factor. 


The speakers of the Zenbook Prime is still the Same Bang & Olufsen ICEpower  but the Prime got improvements by changing the speaker channel directly below. Making the Prime have a more clear and direct speaker experience. 


Zenbook Prime UX31A Upclose Photo

Pixel Density 
UX31A - 165.63 Pixels Per Inch
UX21A - 189.00 Pixels Per Inch

Zenbook Prime Matte Screen 
You can still actually see pixels but the quality of the Display is phenomenal as you won't really look at it upclose. Since the display is IPS, it can give the widest viewing angle available, plus the addition is that ASUS uses 3M matte finish on the display so there will be a lot less of those glare especially outdoors.

As of now the Zenbook Prime is still the only one with IPS Panel and Full HD Resolution in an Ultrabook, making it the top choice for an Ultrabook. As other manufacturers announce their new ultrabooks, they can't still beat or even match the FULL HD resolution of the Zenbook Prime. As far as the competition goes, they can only deliver up to 1600 x 900 in resolution.

Zenbook Looks?

The Zenbook Prime still looks the same, but ASUS improved the metallic spun finish by making it even a more hairline thin finish thus creating a more smooth yet more louring finish for better light reflection. 

A Roll of scotch tape is even taller than the Zenbook Prime
 Left Side Ports : USB 3.0, 3.5mm Audio-In Jack and SD Card Reader

Zenbook Prime right side ports
Right Side Ports : Mini-VGA, Micro HDMI, USB 3.0 Port and AC Adapter

Don't worry about connecting to projectors as the Zenbook has a bundled adapter for the Mini VGA for free, also a USB Lan for those rare Lan Moments. 


Zenbook Prime Windows Experience Index

The Zenbook Prime is now upgraded to the new Ivy Bridge processors of Intel, with the Core i7 to be shipped here in the Philippines. A lot of users are sure to be happy aiming for the prime specs of them all.

The Zenbook Prime achieved a lowest of 5.1 for graphics in windows aero but for the rest, it achieved remarkably.

Calculations per second - 7.1
Memory Operations per second - 5.9
Desktop Performance for Windows Aero - 5.1 
3D business and gaming graphics - 6.2
Disk Data Transfer Rate - 7.5

SSD Performance is now even faster as the Prime is also using the latest SSD Sata III and combined with Raid 0 technology for an even faster sequential read and write. 

Graphics wise, this is where the new Ivy bridge steps a notch with the new Intel HD 4000 graphics. Its capable in running games such as Diablo 3, Batman Arkham City, Battle Field without setting it to the lowest possible settings, thus more gaming quality. 


The new Zenbook Prime definitely brings up the Ultrabook competition up a notch, while other manufacturers are improving their durability by using carbon body or gorilla glass technology, ASUS on the other hand focused in improving the customer experience by providing a more user adaptive features.

With the inclusion of the new FULL HD / IPS panel, the Prime now opened the doors for professionals such as Graphic Artists, Fashion Designers or even Video Editors to consider having an Ultrabook for their profession.

Zenbook Prime UX31A in the Philippines is Php69,995

It will be available by the 2nd week of July

  • Intel Core i7-3517 1.90Ghz up to 2.40Ghz with Turbo Boost
  • Intel HD 4000 Graphics
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 13.3" FULL HD 1920 x 1080 IPS Display
  • Bang & Olufsen Speaker
  • Full Aluminum Body 3mm at the Front and 9mm at the Back

Overall you can say that all of the complaints in the 1st Zenbook was addressed now in the Zenbook Prime. Making it now the Prime Ultrabook of them all.