Top of the picks at Computex 2016

AMD Radeon RX 480
AMD Radeon RX 480

Here are the major product announcements from the Computex trade show in Taiwan last week.

Acer Switch V10 

Acer is bringing 2-in-1 hybrids to entry-level price points with the Switch V10. This 10-inch device snaps magnetically to a keyboard accessory, to switch from tablet to laptop mode.

It comes bundled with a slim keyboard cover, but Acer also sells a thicker keyboard with a 500GB hard drive to supplement the V10's limited onboard storage (up to 64GB).

The V10 uses a USB Type-C port for both charging and data transfer. A fingerprint reader at the back lets users sign in securely and conveniently to Windows 10.

Consumers in this region will likely be able to buy the V10 from September. Pricing for Singapore has not been revealed, though the V10 will cost US$249 (S$338) in North America.

AMD Radeon RX 480

AMD wants to make virtual reality (VR) PCs more affordable with the Radeon RX 480, a graphics card with enough grunt to drive VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

More importantly, the RX 480 costs only US$199 compared with existing VR-capable graphics cards that typically cost around US$300.

The RX 480 is also AMD's first graphics card to use a new chip design that consumes less power than previous-generation chips, while offering better performance. Available end-June.

Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe

Smartphones with metallic bodies usually have a thin strip of plastic at the back, because metal can interfere with the radio waves from the antenna.

This is not the case with Asus' new flagship Zenfone 3 Deluxe, which, according to the Taiwanese firm, is the world's first full-metal smartphone. Available in blue, rose gold or black, this 5.7-inch Android handset is just 4.2mm thick and curved to fit the hand.

It runs on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and has 6GB of RAM. The screen is a Super Amoled display with excellent contrast and wide colour gamut. The rear camera uses a 23-megapixel Sony sensor and supports optical image stabilisation and 4K video recording.

Pricing starts at US$499, but Asus did not announce the availability dates.

Asus ZenBook 3

The Taiwanese PC maker is taking on the Apple MacBook with its own ultra-slim laptop.

The ZenBook 3 is slightly thinner and lighter than the 12-inch MacBook despite having a 12.5-inch screen.

Unlike the MacBook's slower Core m3 chip, the ZenBook is powered by the latest Intel Core i7 processor.

Users can configure the ZenBook with a 1TB solid-state drive (SSD) and 16GB of RAM.

Asus says that the ZenBook has a 40 watt-hour battery that can last up to nine hours. It is priced at US$1,999 and is likely to be available in Q3 this year.

Asus Transformer 3

Asus' new Transformer 3 is targeted at users looking for 2-in-1 hybrid devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro.

It is also one of the first computers to be equipped with Intel's seventh-generation processors, also known as Kaby Lake. Other hardware specifications include an SSD (up to 512GB), up to 8GB of RAM and a Thunderbolt 3 port for fast data and display transfer.

This 6.9mm-thick, 12.6-inch Windows 10 slate becomes a laptop when attached to its slim keyboard accessory. The display has a 2,880 x 1,920 pixel screen resolution while audio is provided by four Harmon Kardon speakers.

A fingerprint sensor lets users log in quickly via the Windows Hello feature. Asus has not revealed when the Transformer 3 will ship to consumers, but it is priced at US$799 for a model with a 256GB SSD.

Asus ROG G31 Edition 10

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand, Asus introduced the ROG G31 Edition 10 desktop PC.

It has the same compact design as the current ROG G20, but upgraded with up to two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards. In addition, the G31 has a sixth-generation Intel Core processor and up to 64GB RAM. As a result, the G31 runs faster in games than computers over twice its size. To be fair, Asus did cheat somewhat by moving the G31's power supply into an external case in order to stay svelte.

Dell Inspiron 17 5000 Series

With its large 17-inch display, the Dell Inspiron 17 5000 Series is for those looking for a desktop replacement computer with a modest footprint.

For one thing, it has an optical drive (Blu-ray option available), a rarely available feature in laptops these days. An optional infra-red camera lets users log in to Windows 10 via facial recognition.

Expect this laptop to sport the latest Intel processor when it becomes available in September. Prices have not been announced.

Gigabyte Aero 14

The Gigabyte Aero 14 was officially launched at Computex in the same week as its debut at the PC Show here. In fact, this slim gaming laptop was available for pre-order at the PC Show for $2,699, down from its usual price of $2,999. However, the retail units will arrive only at the end of the month.

Its main attraction is its portability. Despite weighing around 1.9kg, the Aero 14 has a capable Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M graphics chip that should run most games smoothly.

Gigabyte says that the laptop will last an entire day if you use it for office productivity applications and Web browsing, thanks to its large 94 watt-hour battery.

Vincent Chang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2016, with the headline 'Top of the picks at Computex 2016'. Print Edition | Subscribe