New laptop models from Asus in our hands-on test
Not everything that shines is gold…
but what if it is? The design, or to be more precise, the surface of the laptops with the high gloss finish, is the same for all the new notebooks from Asus. We had the chance to take a closer look at the new models from Asus, like, for example, the Eee T91, the S101, the Lamborghini VX5 and the new W90 gaming machine and here is what we found.
The netbooks are currently a very important branch in the notebook division at Asus. The introduction of the Eee PC was the beginning of this branch, and it is probably also the reason behind the impressive sales figures. So it really is not surprising that Asus is aggressively expanding the Eee family by releasing a whole new series of netbooks
Eee was once an abbreviation for „Easy to Learn, Play and Work”. Now it has been extended to "Excellent and Exciting", which seems rather bragging at first. However, "Excellent" is not meant as self-praise, instead it stands for "Excellent mobile internet", which is directed at the integrated UMTS broadband internet.
Asus Eee PC 1002 HA
First the classics. The new Eee 1002HA is the successor to the successful Eee PC 1000H. The case of the laptop is decorated by a fine stainless steel finish which gives the laptop a rather conservative look.
The laptop uses the reliable Atom N270 from Intel to deliver a balanced ratio between the performance and the energy used. Asus however uses one of it's own chips, the EPU (Energy Processing Unit), to minimise the energy used by completely switching off hardware that is not being used.
The 10 GB online storage, made available by Asus for buyers of this laptop, is meant to increase the mobility of the Eee 1002HA even further.
Asus Eee PC S101 / S101H
Asus went even further with the Eee models S101 and S101H. Both models come in a variety of colors, ranging from brown, champagne, and graphite to glossy and metal. This is supposed to make the product especially interesting for people who are fashion concious, as the laptop is not only colorful, it's also very thin: about 1.8 centimeters. Many different designer handbags applied at Asus to be designers for this notebook...
To read a detailed review of the Eee PC S101 click here.
The new Eee keybord is not related to the topic of netbooks or notebooks. However, it is an interesting gadget. The Eee keybord is a mini-pc with the form of a computer keyboard, which has an extra 5 inch integrated touchscreen on it. A normal LCD television with a HDMI port is supposed to act as the monitor for this mini-pc. The Eee keybord also has a new technology in it which enables wireless transfer of HDMI data. Kick back and enjoy!
The new video telephone from Asus is based on the internet telephone software Skype, and can, even without a PC, create a direct WLAN connection so as to initiate chats in Skype and in a fixed network. An integrated 0.3 megapixel webcam and the integrated 7 inch display (800x400 pixel) together ensure video transmission.
The Eee Videophone is not as mobile as mobile phones. The device weighs a big 1.6 kgs. In fact, it is actually heavier than most netbooks. Even the predicted talking time of only 20 minutes depends on very conservative mobile use of the Videophone.
Eee Box/Eee Top
The Eee Box or the Eee Top can be useful in two cases: You have a display and you need a desktop pc for a cheap price? Voila, here is the Eee Box, which is essentially an Eee PC without a display.
Option 2: You need a Touchscreen with multiple functions for mobile use, or simple surfing? Here the Eee Top can be of use. This tablet PC can be connected to external input devices, if you wish so, thus, increasing the options the user has available.
Asus Eee PC T91 / T101H Netbook Hands-On
Now let's go to the probably most interesting new members of the Eee family: the Asus Eee T91 (8.9 inch wide display) and Eee T101H (10 inches) convertible netbooks. Asus has already influenced the future development of netbooks heavily with the invention of the multitouch touchpad. Now they are showing us a tiny part of the future of netbooks and notebooks alike by integrating the multitouch touchpad into most of their netbooks and notebooks, including the two mentioned above. Asus has gone further than just the touchpad though. They have turned the whole display into an iput device, and turned the Eee PC into a tablet PC.
The turn and lock mechanism enables the use of the T91, and the T101H, as a netbook and a tablet PC. The user can use the pen delivered with the notebook, or his/her finger, for inputting data.
In the first test with pre-sample from Asus, the cabling of the touchscreen display seemed to be slightly wrong as the position of the cursor was off by up to 5 mm from the tip of the felt-tipped pen. Even when we used our finger as input, the output was still very inaccurate.
The glossy, mirroring display in our Pre-Sample was a little annoying. The screen gets dirty very quickly by all the touching and it is clearly visible. Additionally, outdoor use of the laptop is annoying due to the reflections that keep appearing. Even indoors the reflections can be distracting if the screen is in a rather flat position.
The turn and lock mechanism still has to be improved a bit, as it was slightly hard to use and had no fixed position while the laptop was being used as a tablet PC.
The new user concept could give the development of the netbook a new impulse, and thus secure Asus' postition as leader in the netbook market. However, the user friendliness of the device has to be improved, so that the touchscreen actually makes it easier for the user to get the output he wants, instead of making matters more complicated.
Asus W90 Notebook Hands-On
Asus is also delivering new material for the gaming society, or better put, those gamers who actually use laptops primarily for games. The W90 has a huge 18.4 inch Full-HD display with a maximum resolution of 1920x1080 pixels.
Of course, the display has a mirroring, glossy surface which is hardly a surpirse. Additionally, the display was lathered with a very shiny layer like many Apple computers. However, the hinges of the pre-sample had a hard time keeping the screen in place. More than once the display whipped back noticeably. The screen displays pictures with breathtaking high definition and clarity.
An Intel Core 2 Duo CPU is used with the X38 desktop based socket in this notebook. Even Extreme and Quad Core chips can be used in the laptop if the user so wishes.
To satisfy hungry gamers, the laptop is equipped with two Radeon 4870 graphics cards, each having 512MB GDDR3 graphics memory, in a crossfire connection. Time to play!
This huge and heavy notebook has the same stylish features as the other Asus laptops. It is adorned by glossy surfaces and various stylishly designed vents. Thus, it is optically very similar to the others.
There are also various touch-sensitive areas, placed right next to the keyboard, which can be used to start many different multimedia programs, but they can also be used to decrease or increase the sound.
Asus Lamborghini VX5 Notebook Hands-On
The latest version of the luxury notebook of the Lamborghini series was also included in the list of new laptops from Asus. Of coures, the designers did not just rely on the sports car brand name for appeal. Instead, they made sure that their extensive and exquisite work on the case would speak for itself.
No matter from which angle one looks at the laptop, it constantly reminds the pbserver of the Lamborghini racing car. Even the ventilation openings on the notebook seem to be like the ones on the wheel case of the Lamborghini racing car. The same goes for the input devices, like, for example, the touchpad, which reminds the user of the middle console on the sports car.
However, the design itself was not enough. The designers had to be really innovative when it came to the materials used for the laptop. For example, an extremely hard synthetic diamond was used to cover the webcam. Of course the only absolute necessity was to cover the hand rest areas with real leather, which was sown with "original Lamborghini thread".
Although no exact specifications have been announced just yet, Asus says that the laptop is equipped with absolutely high end components like a Quad-Core CPU, two graphics cards, and two hard disks with up to a terabyte of storage. Of course, the price for such a great laptop has not been announced just yet.
The use of leather in the hand rest region was especially nice. The great quality of worksmanship and nice appeal are hard to surpass.
We were not so happy, however, about the excessive use of lacquered, glossy surfaces. Even the touchpad of the VX5 fell a victim to this trend. Thus, it is usually difficult to use the touchpad and this was also evident in the pre-sample.
Asus S121 Notebook Hands-On
To be able to compete with the Asus Lamborghini in luxury, this notebook would have to have outstanding features. Diamonds, maybe? Bingo. The Asus S121 is designed to be an ultra-mobile subnotebook with a 12 inch display, and it is intended especially for the female customers and those people who enjoy good designs.
„Diamonds are a girl's best friend”. Asus seems to agree as the case of the S121 is adorned by diamonds from Swarovski as well as high quality leather. We were happy to note that the worksmanship was decent and that the notebook was optically suitable for everyday use.
The technical specifications are similar to those of a netbook, as even the S121 uses the Atom CPU from Intel. Nothing says luxurious like cutting-edge storage on a laptop: a 512 Gigabyte Solid State Disk storage is definitely nothing less than magnificent.
Even the pre-sample, which is nearly identical to the actual S121 models, had great workmanship and appearance. The keyboard was very comfortable to use, and was exceptional due to the relatively tiny resistance to pressure and the small stroke distance. The S121 even uses a multitouch touchpad.
However, the pre-sample was equipped with a display which had a mirroring, glare type surface. The unavoidable reflections from the screen were very distracting. The display is definitely not the best choice for mobile use with the 12" notebook. The only thing anyone can do now is wait and see if Asus gives the buyer the choice to equip the S121 with a display suitable for outdoor use.