Like most ASUS’ products, the new ET2300INTI is a pretty handsome-looking device. And in terms of overall design, we can’t help but feel that it draws lots of inspiration from Lenovo’s A720 IdeaCentre AIO. One of the key features of the Lenovo A720 is its ability to let its display fold completely flat for group activities that can take advantage of its multitouch screen. Likewise, ASUS has engineered a completely new stand for the ET2300INTI such that its AIO can do the same. Additionally, this new stand also adjusts for both height and tilt.
With this new design, the I/O ports has now all been moved to the base of the stand, and this is one area which the ET2300INTI shines. Compared to the competition and even the older ET2411INTI, all of the ET2300INTI’s four USB ports are USB 3.0 compatible. Also, what we really like about the ET2300INTI is that it has two Thunderbolt ports, which can be used with the latest external storage devices and also external displays. This means that the ET2300INTI can drive up to three displays simultaneously - either by Thunderbolt only or a mix of Thunderbolt and HDMI ports.
Another thing about the ET2300INTI that we like is the inclusion of HDMI input and output ports. With it, the ET2300INTI can also double up as an external display for your set-top devices or gaming consoles. Lastly, we also found the multitouch display to be very responsive and fluid to use, much more so than the old ET2411INTI's optical tracking system.
SonicMaster Premium is a suite of audio technologies developed by ASUS’ Golden Ear team with the aim of improving the audio performance of products that traditionally have poor audio performance characteristics, such as notebooks and AIOs.
This suite of technologies have been implemented on various ASUS products since 2010, and one of our earliest experiences with this was with the ASUS NX90Jq notebook. SonicMaster Premium was also implemented on the older ASUS ET2411INTI. However, we did not find the audio performance of the aforementioned two products to be outstanding. In fact, they sounded pretty average.
Fortunately, this has changed with the ET2300INTI because this AIO sounded impressive. According to ASUS, the ET2300INTI has specially engineered for sound. To begin, in the base of the unit is a built-in subwoofer and four "internal spatial array" speakers. Like the older ET2411INTI, the ET2300INTI also comes bundled with an additional external subwoofer, and we are happy to say that in the case of the ET2300INTI, the external subwoofer does play a crucial role in the system’s overall sound.
These speakers utilize three special technologies which ASUS calls, Beam-forming, Crosstalk Cancellation and Head-Related Transfer Function (HRTF). Beam-forming enables the reproduction of a wide soundstage, while Crosstalk Cancellation technology prevents these sound waves from overlapping each other. Finally, HRTF helps create the perception that sound is coming from around you rather than directly from the AIO. There’s also a special MAXXAUDIO application that lets user choose from five preset EQs (Music, Movies, Gaming, Speech and Recording) and more advanced users can even tweak the equalizer themselves to achieve their ideal sound.
While the ET2411INTI sounded flat and laborious, the ET2300INTI sounded much more powerful and authoritative. There’s real substance and presence to the sound, and while it may not be the last word in precision and clarity, we can say that ET2300INTI handles audio perfectly well on its own. For users who are not too fussy about sound, the inbuilt speakers in the ET2300INTI will be more than enough.