Space. It’s not only the final frontier, it’s at a huge premium for those who have to work within the confines of office desks. Really, who has room for a full tower, mobile phones, a tablet, and a monitor anymore? Asus knows your plight, brave desk jockey, and they have an answer. Behold. The Asus VivoPC VM 60.
Externally, the VivoPC is little more than a box. Slightly larger than a wireless router, with a little more heft that its size belies, the device has Asus’ trademark concentric circles on the top face, just to let you know it’s part of the Asus family of devices. The front is completely plain, save for the Asus VivoPC logo, and there’s hardly anything else going on most of the other sides, save for a few vents. I love the simplicity of the design, and it will go effortlessly with any device that may currently be occupying your desk, and just sort of vanish in place. It’s a pretty-looking box, that doesn’t compromise on hardware.
It’s also solidly-built, and the case feels nice and rigid. More than once, I mistakenly put my hefty office mug on it and failed to notice until quite a few minutes later. It should have no problem standing up to daily use.
Being mostly an office workhorse, it has no need for killer hardware. Don’t get us wrong though. It’s no slouch. It runs an Intel i3-4030u processor with a clock speed of 1.9GHz. Our particular review unit also came with 4GB of RAM. There was also a 160GB HDD, which I promptly replaced with an SSD. The power source, if that thing is important to you, is actually a laptop brick, and a little on the large side, as it is meant to plug straight into a wall outlet. You might have to make a little room for it.
The device has HDMI and display ports, a LAN port, and all the USB ports you would find on a regular desktop PC. If you need more than the six USB ports provided (two of which are USB 3.0), you might have a problem managing your peripherals. Adding a little extra flexibility is an SD card slot and optical, as well as standard analog audio inputs and outputs. If you need a hardware upgrade, the top of the device pops right off, giving you access to the RAM slots, the HDD and anything else you might want to tinker with. Graphics duties are handled by Intel’s on-board HD Graphics 4000 processor. For those who plan to keep it wireless, it comes with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, as well as Bluetooth for those with bigger plans than just a desktop machine.
User Experience: 4/5
The Asus VivoPC performs great as a desktop rig. It’s small enough to tuck behind, or even mount on, your monitor making it the perfect rig to use where space is a little limited. There isn’t a lot to say about its use as an office box, though that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t do great at work. I just had more interesting plans for it.
The moment it arrived, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the tiny Asus box. I took it straight home and plugged it into the TV. Forget smart TVs with their difficult to navigate interfaces and wonky remotes. Plugged into a large TV, this will run circles around any smart TV out there. It has plenty of RAM, Wi-Fi, a swappable HDD and Windows 8.1. This is a complete no-brainer.
My evil schemes were rewarded in spades once I got home and set it up. File compatibility, web browsing, subtitle files, heck, even office work were all within the realm of possibility from the comfort of the La-z boy. It might not be the first use people may have when looking at a device like this, but trust me when I say that this might be what the VivoPC is truly meant to do.
Because it’s so small, it tucked away and vanished behind the screen. Because it’s meant to work as a desktop, it can multitask, has broad compatibility, and more than enough power to handle entertainment needs. Because it has so many USB ports and a full OS, attaching drives and copying files is fast and easy. There are so many reasons it does well as an entertainment device! All you really need to make it perfect is a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse. I hadn’t watched as many films and shows as I did while the VivoPC was at home.
The VivoPC goes for about PHP 20,000. While that might be a lot on paper, it gives you so much value. Consider how much a smart TV is, and then factor in how much more you can do with a full desktop. Then consider this will also work just fine as a regular desktop machine, and the value proposition goes down a lot easier. You just can’t go wrong.
Small, quiet, user-configurable
More than enough horsepower for common tasks
Not the most convenient power brick
I am genuinely sad it is no longer with me.
CPU: Intel® Core™ i3, 1.9GHz
Chipset: Intel® HM76
RAM: Up to 16 GB
Storage: Up to 1TB SATA 6Gb/s Hard Drive, or Up to 256GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD
Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth V4.0
2 x USB 3.0
4 x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI
1 x VGA (D-Sub)-Out
1 x RJ45 LAN
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
3 x Audio Jack(s) (Line in/Mic in/Speaker out)
Dimensions: 190 x 190 x 56.2 mm, 1.2 kg