Monday, May 30, 2016

ASUS made a better copy of Apple and Microsoft products

Copy cats

Taiwanese PC maker ASUS made a big statement during their Computex 2016 press conference in Taipei yesterday. They introduced a whole slew of computing products in all forms and sizes and honestly, I don't quite remember a company cramming in so much of new products during a launch event. Combining their Zenvolution and ROG event, the company unleashed more than a dozen new products.

While the smartphone trend has definitely affected trade shows like Computex which has previously been heavy on computer hardware, ASUS did manage to show off a number of PCs alongside their new ZenFone 3 series which is definitely the focus of the press conference as they spent the bulk of the time to explain the new features gracing their new smartphone lineup.

The overall trend with ASUS's biggest unveiling of the year seems to be catching up with the competition but they did also show off some cool innovations like Zenbo and their pure metal technology that makes metal smartphones look better by removing the weird looking antenna lines. And that brings me to the point of this article. Why hasn't Apple done the same thing.

I know it's a little premature to criticise Apple on this as the iPhone 7 is still not official yet but as leaks have shown, it looks like Apple still plans to keep the antenna lines on the next generation iPhone and as history has shown, Apple will recycle their new iPhone designs every other year. So, we might need to wait another two years before seeing an iPhone without antenna lines.

photo credit: ANANDTECH
But that is just one thing that I have to argue / defend in ASUS's case. Copying a product is not an uncommon thing to see in the tech world. Xiaomi brilliantly copied Apple's software and hardware design in the past and you could say that the keyboard case for the iPad Pro was inspired by Microsoft Type Cover for their Surface line. Companies copying one another is not necessarily bad but why can't they make it better?
What Apple experts say about the 12.9-inch iPad Pro" The problem with the iPad is that you only need one iPad because you can get the same app experience on both the mini and the Air, the only difference is the screen size. But that might very well change with the iPad Pro, it is still indefinitely just a bigger iPad " Continue reading.
Not many companies have succeeded in making better copies of the original product but I think ASUS managed to pull it off. The product that amazes me the most is their new ZenBook 3 ultrathin laptop. The ZenBook 3 will be the first 'true' competitor of Apple's 12-inch MacBook and I can't believe it took this long for someone to make a better copy of it.

Apple fans might be bashing ASUS for copying the MacBook but ASUS copied the MacBook with pride. Sure the ZenBook 3 comes with the same single USB Type-C port like on the 12-inch MacBook but ASUS supercharged Apple's design by including Thunderbolt 3 support that is bound to arrive in a future revision of the MacBook. The new I/O works in tandem with the Intel Core i series processors that ASUS managed to engineer into a body that is just 11.9mm thick.

ASUS's ZenBook 3 is so identical that I even photoshopped the Apple website with a press image from ASUS which conveniently looks like Apple's own stock image for the MacBook. Don't mistake that for Apple's MacBook.

Another case of ASUS's contagious copying is with their new Transformer 3 Pro 2-in-1 computer that looks strikingly similar to Microsoft's Surface Pro 4. This is not the first time that a company is using Microsoft's design but this is by far the most identical copy ever made.
Microsoft got ripped off
But I can't help but notice that ASUS built the Transformer 3 Pro with features that I wished were present on the Surface Pro 4. Like I noted in my lengthy Surface Pro 4 review from last week, Microsoft's decision not to include a USB Type C port is a big step backwards for me.
Seemingly enough, ASUS not only answered my prayers by putting a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt capabilities on their Surface Pro 4 clone but they also made it just $999. That price includes the whole package; the active pen with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and the keyboard cover too. Heck yeah, there's even Windows Hello facial recognition with the IR camera.

At least now we can be sure that Surface Pro 5 will definitely come with a USB Type-C port and Microsoft might finally include the Type Cover with it.

There's also the story of the new ROG XG Station 2 which seems to be a copy of the Razer Core GPU dock but given the nature of the product, it is more of a alternative solution than a direct copy.

Here's all list of the new product that ASUS unveiled during Computex 2016:
  1. ROG Rampage V Edition 10 — A new X99 motherboard that features RGB lighthing and a lot of bells and whistles. Click here to learn more.
  2. ROG G31 Edition 10 — A small desktop computer that features dual GTX 1080's in SLI. Click here to learn more
  3. ROG Avalon — A prototype chassis that brings forward ASUS's vision of a modular PC design. Click here to learn more.
  4. ROG GX800 — The sequel to ASUS's first water-cooled laptop now comes with dual graphics. Click here to learn more.
  5. ROG XG Station 2 — A Thunderbolt 3 graphics card dock that has a 680W power supply. Click here to learn more.
  6. ASUS Zenbo — Jonney Shih's vision of a smart home assistant. Click here to learn more.
  7. ASUS ZenFone 3 — A 5.5-inch android smartphone that features a glass design. Click here to learn more.
  8. ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe — ASUS's flagship smartphone for 2016 with the Snapdragon 820 SoC paired with up to 6GB of RAM. Click here to learn more.
  9. ASUS Zenfone 3 Ultra — ASUS's biggest smartphone yet, comes with a 6.8-inch display and up to 256GB of internal storage. here to learn more.
  10. ASUS Transformer 3 Pro — ASUS's flagship 2-in-1 Windows 10 computer with USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3. Click here to learn more.
  11. ASUS Transformer 3 — A 12.6-inch tablet that features a fingerprint reader capable of Windows Hello. Click here to learn more.
  12. ASUS Transformer 3 Mini — A 10.6-inch tablet that comes with a keyboard cover and fingerprint scanner. Click here to learn more.
  13. ASUS ZenBook 3 — ASUS's new ultrathin laptop measures in at just 11.9mm and can be configured with a Core i7 CPU. Click here to learn more.

Insider Talk

Gosh, it has been a long long time since I actually talked about ASUS in this site. I think the last time I actually talked about it is when I first started covering Computex in 2012. I thought I was not going to watch this ASUS press conference but I felt the need to watch it and it was totally worth it because it is on of the best I have seen in a long time. Expect to see a couple of reviews coming up in June and the aforementioned WWDC is happening in the next two weeks so I'll have some commentary on that.