By Sahil Bhalla
Simplicity. Affordable. Portable. Plug and play. These are the words that kept popping in my head while unboxing and subsequently using the Asus M3402 all-in-one PC over the last two weeks. Even if it isn’t the best in the business, this desktop PC deserves a special mention.
With a fresh minimalist design, thin bezels (barring the chin), black colour scheme, and AMD internals, the Asus M3402 AIO (as I’ll refer henceforth) can be your constant companion inside your home. For a starting price of ₹49,990, this AIO is a great deal.
Think MacBook levels of simplicity but from a Windows all-in-one PC. Let me tell you why.
Plug and play
Upon unboxing the M3402 AIO, you realise that there is a dearth of cables inside the box. It even lacks a desktop chassis (or computer case). It’s literally a monitor, a keyboard and mouse bundle and one singular cable that plugs into the wall. That’s it. You put the monitor on your desk, plug the cable into the back of it, take out the Bluetooth plug for the mouse and keyboard (I swapped them out for something much better), and you’re all set.
The regular Windows setup ensues. Twenty minutes after going through all the set-up instructions, you’re ready to conquer. The desktop seamlessly connects to the internet, lets you browse the web, watch YouTube videos, watch OTT content, play casual games, do your daily work, and much more.
Why do I liken this M3402 AIO to a MacBook, you ask? Well, both are simplistic products with clean designs and are easy to set up, minus the fluff. You just turn them on and you’re ready to go on with your daily routine.
A smooth operator
The M3402 AIO glides along with each and every task. It’s got an AMD Ryzen 5 7520U mobile processor (there’s also an AMD Ryzen 3 7320U variant) coupled with 8GB LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB PCIe Gen 3 SSD. That’s plenty of processing power for a day full of work.
With desktop PCs, you needn’t worry about battery life (as it is a product that needs to be plugged in at all times) or the product getting too hot to touch because except for plugging devices into AIO, you’re literally only using the keyboard and mouse.
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Lots of I/O ports
The M3402 AIO is full of I/O ports – something I was very happy about. On the side, there is a Kensington lock, a USB 2.0 Type-A port and a 3.5mm combo audio jack (thank god!). At the back, there are 3 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, a USB 2.0 Type-A port, a HDMI in 1.4 and HDMI out 1.4 ports, a DC-in port (where you plug in the power cable) and a Gigabit Ethernet port (which is very useful inside homes). That’s a pretty robust selection, in my opinion.
Let's talk about that wireless keyboard, optical mouse bundle
After just five minutes of using the M3402 AIO, I realised that both the included keyboard and optical mouse weren’t up to the mark. It’s not that I couldn’t get work done on them, but they were more of a hindrance, than letting your fingers glide.
Luckily, I had Asus’ own Marshmallow keyboard (KW100) and optical mouse (MD100) in for review. I promptly put those to the task and I wasn’t disappointed.
The mouse is completely silent, something that I was surprised about. It’s an ambidextrous mouse with a long battery life. There’s a neat DPI button that lets you change the DPI (dots per inch) setting. Basically, it lets you set how sensitive the mouse is.
The cover of the mouse is sturdy, but also, easily replaceable. In fact, Asus bundles in an extra colour in the box. The mouse can be kept in your pocket (yes, its footprint is that small), or hung around with the included lanyard.
The keyboard, on the other hand, was also silent and had great key travel. I was impressed by the long battery life, lightweightness, multi-device support, and two colours to choose from.
Basically, once you get the M3402 AIO for your room, be sure to also get a separate mouse and keyboard bundle of your choice.
No gaming, please
With integrated AMD Radeon graphics, I suggest you don’t even think about gaming with the M3402 AIO, unless you’re playing casual games like Limbo or TrackMania Nations Forever. But anything heavier and your gaming experience will be compromised.
For that matter, even trying to do heavy-duty video editing isn’t recommended on such a machine. This M3402 AIO is meant more for daily office work, attending online classes, or just watching movies. Yes, the viewing angles are great, and multiple people can gather together to watch. The 23.8" NanoEdge Full HD IPS wide view panel is great for watching your favourite OTT shows. It’s got only 250 nits of brightness, but then again, when will you ever be using this outdoors? One wishes there was a faster refresh rate than the 75Hz, but it’s still fine for daily consumption.
Buy external speakers?
If you’re going to solely be using the M3402 AIO to watch content, then I’d suggest you also invest in an external speaker setup, of which there are plenty of options out there. But if you’re only occasionally watching videos, or maybe putting on some sports in the background, then the internal stereo speakers will suffice. They do get loud, but again, they get distorted at higher volumes. Especially if you’re a group of 4-5 people, then an external speaker will greatly enhance the experience.
Webcam can be better
The one thing that disappointed me was the lack of a 1080p webcam. Asus has fitted a 720p HD webcam (along with a privacy shutter button) on this AIO, which is just about average. In 2023, a lot of us attend video calls on a regular basis. 1080p webcams is something that should be standard but sadly isn’t. Nonetheless, the microphones work as intended and my voice came across as loud and clear.
Verdict: Your next home computer?
If you’re looking for something that is stable, always on your desk, and works as intended, then the Asus M3402 AIO is the one for you. It’s a steal at just ₹49,990.
If you’re a gamer or a professional content creator, then as I said above, there are plenty of alternatives available for not much more money. But if you just need to do daily office work, let your kids attend online classes, or just need a substitute for a laptop, then this is a sensible option.
Sahil Bhalla is a Delhi-based journalist. He posts @IMSahilBhalla.
- FIRST PUBLISHED28.09.2023 | 02:00 PM IST