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Asus refreshes ultraportable line-up

The Taiwanese company has shown off new models in its range of slimline UX Series laptops, alongside an updated Eee PC device and audio-centric N5 Series laptops
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By Ben Woods, Senior reporter on
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Asus UX Series front

Asus has shown off updated versions of its ultraportable Eee PC series netbooks and N series laptops, as well as introducing a new line of ultra-thin devices under the UX Series banner.

The company introduced the new and updated models at Computex 2011 in Taiwan on Monday.

The new range of UX Series laptops — the first of which will be the UX21 (pictured above) — have an aluminium alloy shell that Asus said provides a strong but light exterior surface. The UX Series also features an oversized keyboard, "smartphone-like" touchpad and reinforced hinges for extra longevity, the company said.

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Asus UX Series Side

The UX Series will feature a second generation — Sandy Bridge — Intel processor that can be configured up to a Core i7. It also has USB 3.0, Sata 6Gb/s solid state drive (SSD) and Asus's 'Instant-On' feature, which quickly resumes a previous session. Two models will be available: an 11.6-inch UX21 and a 13.3-inch UX31.

Devices in the range, such as the UX21 pictured above, will be no more than 17mm thick, Asus said. No pricing or release details have been given but the device will be one of the first 'ultrabooks' to hit the market. Intel — which named the ultrabook category — said they will be sub-$1,000 (£605) machines.

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Asus Eee PC X101 front

Asus also announced a new addition to the Eee PC range: the Eee PC X101, which runs the Linux-based MeeGo operating system as standard but will have Windows 7 as an option.

"The MeeGo OS is designed for the user that's always on the go, yet wants to stay connected. It has specific applications for accessing social-media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Flickr, much like a smartphone would run," Asus said.

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Asus Eee PC X101 side

Asus arguably launched the netbook category in 2007 with the Eee PC 701 but the majority of subsequent devices have been based around Microsoft operating systems, rather than Linux. On 25 May Asus posted a teaser image on its official Facebook fan page along with the question: "Is Windows still a firm requirement for your everyday needs?"

The Eee PC X101 can still be configured to ship with the Windows 7 Starter operating system, the company added. Would-be purchasers can also specify whether they would prefer a 250GB mechanical hard drive or 8GB SSD. Other key specs include Bluetooth 3.0, a webcam, two USB ports, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity and a built in SD-card reader.

Pricing and release details for the X101 were not available at the time of writing.

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Asus N5 Series

The Taipei-based company also introduced a new designer range of devices known as the N5 Series. The N5 Series focuses on providing "the best possible audio experience from a mobile product", according to the company.

It has been designed by David Lewis, designer of the NX90, and features SonicMaster technology and a separate subwoofer to achieve the best possible sound quality, Asus said.

Under the designer bonnet, the series will pack an Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia 500 series graphics, Blu-ray drive and HD-resolution In-Plane Switching (IPS) display.

Like the new UX Series device and the Eee PC X101, Asus had not issued pricing or release details for the NX5 Series at the time of writing.


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