We review ASUS’ entry-level desktop!
While we’re no stranger to high-end gaming here at Unbox, not everybody has the coin to buy a full-fledged PC right away. One route that first-time PC owners can take is to assemble their own machine, but not everybody has the technical skill or the know-how to do so. Enter the K31 desktop – it’s a full-fledged PC desktop that has most of the essentials that first-time buyers are looking for that users can eventually upgrade once they acquire more cash and technical know-how to do so.
Compared to the bad-ass looking G20, the K31 looks absolutely pedestrian. In fact, it looks like your typical boxy desktop, though upon closer inspection you’ll see a couple of things that make it stand out from other cases and brands.
There’s a SD card reader on the front, as well as audio jacks for microphone and headphones and DVD drive for optical media. As far as connectivity goes, you have five USB ports at your disposal (three in the back, two in the front) with one of them being a USB 3.0. There’s a regular VGA out, as well as an HDMI connector on the back, though you’ll probably notice the absence of a power supply – instead, the K31 is supplied by power via an adapter.
Internally the K31 is powered by a 4th generation Intel Core J2900 Celeron Processor, paired with 2GB of RAM and 500GB of storage. The bad news is that the board, processor, and memory are all soldered together, which means you’ll have to gut the internals of the K31 to be able to upgrade it to something better. That’s a big deal, especially for people who want are tinkerers at heart, though the good news is that the case can accept pretty much everything that’s on the market today. It’s a good thing then, that the K31 isn’t being marketed to those people – it’s an affordable desktop meant for daily computing and not gaming.
Speaking of which, the K31 is completely capable of handling everyday tasks with ease. Powered by Windows 8.1, it’s eligible to receive a Windows 10 update if you so choose. Normal productivity apps like MS Office obviously work without a hitch, though more intensive tasks like video and photo editing are out of the question. PC gaming is also a sketchy proposition for this particular desktop, as the K31 as configured only has built-in graphics, indie games (like Hotline Miami) would probably play okay, but newer games are definitely out of the question. It can play 1080p videos though, which makes it a prime candidate to be converted to a home server for your movies or connected to a TV via HDMI.
At the end of the day the ASUS K31 is an entry level machine that’s aimed at people looking for a desktop that covers the basics. By the way, the K31 comes with a couple of freebies like a keyboard and mouse and is probably the cheapest, branded desktop you can buy today, priced at a mere 14,995. You can also but the K31 and turn it into a media server if setting up and purchasing a NAS isn’t in the cards.
People who have the expertise and the know how to build a better desktop – this one isn’t for you. And while the technically inclined can probably build their own desktop that has better specs, remember that the K31 is covered by ASUS’ warranty. You’re also getting Windows 8.1 as another freebie (don’t pirate software, kids), which bumps up the value of the machine even more.