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IFA 2012: Asus unveils slew of new ultrabooks

Asus used the occasion of the IFA show in Berlin to announce a new ultraportable laptop and officially unveil three additional innovative systems to round out the company's mobile line.

The new ultraportable is the Zenbook U500VZ, an Intel Core i7-powered 15in laptop the company intends for both entertainment and productivity purposes. In addition to its third-generation Core ("Ivy Bridge") processor, the Zenbook U500VZ can house up to 512GB of storage space on a super-fast solid state drive (although a combination utilizing a 128GB SSD and a 500GB hard drive is also available) and optional discrete Nvidia GeForce GT650M graphics for improved performance in games and other video applications.

In addition to the system's performance potential, Asus also touts the Zenbook U500VZ's style. The system's chassis is constructed of aluminium with a "unique 'spun' hairline finish," and measures only 19.7mm at its thickest point. The IPS display helps generate vivid colours and crisp visuals at almost any angle, with an anti-glare screen to minimise reflections even in brightly lit environments. The full-size keyboard includes a numeric keypad and a backlight that automatically adjusts its brightness level depending on the ambient lighting.

Asus further expands its family of ultrabooks with the Zenbook Prime UX21A Touch, the company's first with a multitouch display. It's loaded with an Ivy Bridge processor and a 256GB SSD, has a 1080p Super IPS+ plus screen with a wide 178-degree viewing angle, and benefits from additional technologies such as USB 3.0 and dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi.

We first reported on the computer maker's new Taichi system at Computex back in June, but the company is finally showing it off elsewhere. It's an ultraportable with an Ivy Bridge processor, SSD for storage, and dual-band Wi-Fi, but it's most distinguished by its double-sided display, which behaves like a standard ultrabook when the lid is open, but becomes a multitouch tablet when it's closed. Because both screens can operate independently and simultaneously, two people can use it at any given time.

Finally, Asus unveiled its Transformer Book, which the company claims is "the world's first convertible notebook." It's capable of switching from a laptop to a multitouch tablet in seconds—just detach the screen, then add it back when you want to use a more traditional system again. The Transformer Book uses an Ivy Bridge processor and can be outfitted with either an SSD or hard drive for storage.

Asus did not announce pricing and availability for any of these products, saying they will vary by country and specific configuration.