The ASUS NFC Express is something we have been utilizing in the lab for the past few weeks. It comes standard bundled with the ASUS Z87 Deluxe/Dual motherboard that we will be reviewing shortly. Recently, ASUS has made the NFC Express available for sale as an add on device for existing ASUS Z87 motherboards. For those unfamiliar with the device it serves two purposes. First, as the name implies, it can interact with NFC devices. Second, it is a USB 3.0 hub.
As a quick primer on some of the things one can do with NFC on the PC and the bundled ASUS application suite. Actions such as remote desktop access, Windows login and etc are all easy things to automate given ASUS’ solution. Here is the quick ASUS video on some of the software features:
As a NFC device, ASUS provides one NFC key. This is a great feature as it allows one to log into Windows 8 without a password. Likewise, it can communicate with the included NFC tag to give quick access to a machine.
For those users looking to add a few more USB 3.0 ports near their desk, this small box is meant to be located on one’s desktop. Adding two USB 3.0 ports that are easy to access is a major help to get easy desktop access to USB 3.0 ports. As one can see, the two USB 3.0 ports are spaced fairly far apart to accommodate large USB keys, TV tuners, network adapters and other USB 3.0 devices.
Here are the specs for the ASUS NFC Express:
[tabgroup][tab title=”ASUS NFC Express Specs”]
|Weight||87 g (main unit only)|
|NFC One-touch Features||PC control via Wi-Fi GO! & NFC Remote (Android app):
– Photo Express, Remote Desktop, Quick Launch and Windows 8 Login
PC control via ASUS NFC Tag (bundled):
– Quick Launch and Windows 8 Login
|System Requirements||Compatible with Android smartphone and tablet. Requires Android OS 4.0 or later.
Download “Wi-Fi GO! & NFC Remote” from Google Play for ASUS exclusive NFC features support.
|Operating System||Windows 8 32/64-bit|
|I/O Ports||- 1 x USB 3.0 type A port for USB power in
– 2 x USB 3.0 type A ports compatible with USB 3.0/2.0/1.1 devices
|Maximum Power Output||5V, 900mA
|Accessories||ASUS NFC tag, 1 x external USB3.0 cable (120cm), Manual, DVD for drivers and utilities|
One important note is that this device only works with ASUS 8-series (Haswell) motherboards. That is a constraint that many will not like. Here is a list of ASUS NFC Express compatible motherboards:
On the positive side it is priced in a reasonable range (sub $39.99) and is something that I found myself using more than I originally thought I would. The PC industry needs to adopt these standards to stay relevant in the connected home and office environments. This is also a clear trend where ASUS is branching out and creating an ecosystem that links to its mobile device expansion.
We will have a bit more on the ASUS NFC Express in the upcoming ASUS Z87 Deluxe/ Dual review that will be live shortly.