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Asus Debuts MacBook Air-esque U Series Notebooks

Taiwanese manufacturer Asus has released details of its forthcoming range of laptops aimed at the new class of upmarket laptops that are basically netbooks for grown up (cash rich) customers.

The U-series currently contains three members that are characterised by the wedged/tapered profile that was made popular by the Apple Mac Book Air. The U20A, the UX30 and the UX 50V all come with the same underlying technology.

They will all sport Intel Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) processors randing from the Celeron M running at 1.2GHz to the 1.6Ghz Core 2 Duo model that powers the more expensive models.

All three U-series laptops are at most 30mm thick at their thickest point, where the battery is. The U20A is equipped with a 12.1-inch screen while the UX30 and the UX50V have 14 and 15.6-nich screens respectively.

Asus has chosen either integrated Intel GMA4500 graphics modules or Nvidia's Geforce G105M or ATI's Mobility Radeon HD4570 to power the laptops.

All of them will come with 80211n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, Altec Lansing speakers, up to 4GB memory and 320GB hard disk space; some will have optical drives as well as backlit keyboards (great when typing in the dark) and "interactive" touchpads.

Users will also be happy to learn that although the main operating systems on the laptops will be Vista (and potentially Windows 7), Asus has also thrown in its own version of Linux, Express Gate which acts like a quicker OS.

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Our Comments

Asus is churning out laptops quicker than any other major manufacturers it seems. This might have some rather weird and unexpected consequences as consumers become baffled and confused. Should they go for an upmarket Netbook or one of these U Series notebooks at twice the price? Asus needs to be careful in order not to flood the market with models that are too similar.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.