Asus seeks revolution in laptop sound

Asus showed off its improved presentation skills here in Hangover, as boss Jonney Shih ran through the latest tech the firm has been working on on the consumer front.

It seems Shih was coached in presentation matter by Intel's Sean Maloney since we last saw him in person - on an Intel stage in Taiwan outing the original Eee PC. Shih wishes Maloney well, we're assured.

Having told the audience here how 'green' Asus is, and how, if it sold enough of them, Asus' EPA-enabled motherboards would save 17.2 million trees, Shih moved swiftly through its bamboo-coated notebook to "the most powerful hardware for hardcore gamers" that can be squished into a notebook.

He neglected to state how many trees go into the manufacture of each of the "stealth-fighter inspired" G73s. Shih then showed off an Eee PC, the 1018P which apparently is a gaming netbook. Not for the latest 3D games we suspect.

Old habits die hard, however, and each new computer was carried into the hall by a hip-swinging model in clunky high heels. Aesthetics are important for Asus as it aggressively positions itself as a top-quality brand.

The NX90 was first shown at CES and got another airing here. Its USP is the quality of the sound it produces. Any laptop owner will tell you that the sonic output from most on-board tiddly speakers is essentially, crap.

Asus addressed this with the help of a Denmark-based designer, David Lewis and the polished aluminium box is certainly different. Tall, slender speakers each side of the wide screen bulge out towards the bottom in a manner, it could be said, reminiscent of the high-heeled model. The added girth gives the speakers some solidity, reducing tininess at low levels and distortion at higher volumes, Shih said. He may be right.

The high-spec "flagship" product sports all the latest tech including a Core i7 processor no less and more RAM and storage than you could shake a stick at. It also sports two mouse pads - one each side of the keyboard.

"No-one has ever thought to revisit this," said Shih of the convention of having the mouse pad below the keyboard in virtually laptop you could mention. Placing the mouse pad to the side of the keyboard puts it, "closer to the position your mouse in on your desktop" which makes sense to us.

Why two? Well, obviously some people are left handed - a third of users according to Shih although more conventional estimates put the figure at around 10 per cent.

The NX90 will be available by the summer bearing a price tag of around two grand.