The Hype – it’s been building

The ASUS U2E has been waiting in the wings since Computex of last year to jump onto the ultra-mobile market and strut its stuff. Well, we don’t have to wait any longer as PC Perspective gets its hands on a shipping system. Come see why this 11″ notebook is going to be a giant in the market.

The ASUS U2E was first spotted back in June of last year during Computex in Taiwan but was largely overshadowed by the Eee PC that was also on display for the first time.  But where the Eee PC lacks the performance and features that seasoned road-warriors require, the ASUS U2E promises all of them and more. 

A fervor has been gathering about the ASUS U2E on sites like engadget, Gizmodo and others that take in every breath of the tech world.  Stories of laptops that are both powerful and practical usually do get a lot of attention but this particular ASUS model was competing with the rumors of the Apple MacBook Air and the Lenovo X300; can it stand up to such strong competitors though?

Specifications (from ASUS.COM)

Processor & Cache Memory
Intel® Core™ Duo Processor U7500 : 1.06 GHz FSB: 533MHz, 2MB L2 Cache;

Operating System
Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate,
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic,
Genuine Windows Vista® Business,
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium,
Mobile Intel® GM965 Express Chipset + ICH8M
Main Memory
DDR2 667 MHz SDRAM, 2 x SODIMM socket for expansion up to 4GB SDRAM
11.1″ WXGA
LED backlight ColorShine,Color-Shine (Glare-type),Asus Splendid Video Intelligent Technology
Video Graphics & Memory
Embedded Intel® GMA X3100
Hard Drive
32GB SSD + 160GB External HDD
120GB 1.8″ IDE HDD
Optical Drive
5.25″ , 9.5 mm
DVD Super Multi Double Layer:
Card Reader
8 in 1 card reader: SD,MMC,MS,MS-Pro,mini SD w/ adapter,MS-Duo,MS-Pro Duo via adapter
Video Camera
0.3 Mega Pixel web camera
Integrated Intel® High Definition Audio chip ( Azalia) compliant MDC fax/modem and 10/100/1000 Base T
Built-in Bluetooth™ V2.0+EDR(optional feature)
Intel® Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN or Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection(optional)
LED Status Indicator
Battery Charging/full/low
Storage device access
Capital / Scroll / Number Lock
Wireless/Bluetooth on status indicator (optional)
Bluetooth on status (optional feature)
1 x Microphone-in jack
1 x Headphone-out jack (S/PDIF)
1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor
3 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x RJ11 Modem jack for phone line
1 x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert
1 x micro-DVI port
Hot Keys
Instant launch Keys,2 buttons:
Power4Gear eXtreme,Wireless/Bluetooth Switch

Function Keys:
Fn+F2 WLAN/Bluetooth switch
Fn+F3 Access to the E-mail
Fn+F4 Access to the Internet
Fn+F5 Brightness down
Fn+F6 Brightness up
Fn+F7 LCD on/off
Fn+F8 LCD/CRT switch display
Fn+F9 TouchPad Lock
Fn+F10 Volume on/mute
Fn+F11 Volume down
Fn+F12 Volume up
Fn+Ins Numeric Key Pad on/off
Fn+Del Scroll Lock on/off
Fn+Space Power 4Gear eXtreme
Fn+C Splendid
Fn+T Power4Phone
Fn+V Camera capture
Fn+↑: Stop
Fn+↓: Play/Pause
Fn+ ←:Skip to Previous Track
Fn+ →:Skip to Next Track
Built-in Azalia compliant audio chip, with 3D effect & full duplex
Built-in speaker and microphone
17.5mm full size 83 Key with MS Windows function keys
Battery Pack & Life
3/6/9 cells: 2400/4800/7800 mAh, 26.6/53/80 Whrs
AC Adapter
Output: 19 V DC, 3.42 A, 65W
Input 100 – 240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal
Dimension & Weight
27.7 x 19.4 x 2.49 ~ 2.9 cm (W x D x H)
1.25 kg, with 3 cell battery, SSD
BIOS Booting / HDD User Password Protection and security lock
Kensington lock hole
TPM(Trusted Platform Module) V1.2
Supplied Accessories
Bluetooth Mouse
Protection bag
Multimedia Software
ASUSDVD V7.0 ( *For Basic & Business only)
Power Director V5.0 (*For Basic & Business only)
Medi@Show V3.0 (*For Basic & Business only)
* Premium & Ultimate are with MCE support from Windows Vista
Virus & Tool Software
Norton™ Internet Security 2007
Adobe Acrobat Reader 8.0
NERO 7 Essentials
ASUS Utility
Asus Win flash for BIOS and Driver live Update
Asus Power4Gear eXtreme
Asus Life Frame II
Asus Live Update
Asus Multi-Frame
Asus NB Probe +
ASUS Wireless Console
ASUS Security Protect Manager(ASPM)
Virtual Camera
Warranty & e-support
2-year limited global hardware warranty
1-year battery pack warranty
On-line problem resolution through web interface (BIOS, Driver update)
OS (Microsoft Windows Vista) install/uninstall consultation
Bundled software install/uninstall consultation
ASUS software supporting

Hardware Overview Evaluation

The hardware the goes into the ASUS U2E is pretty impressive when taken in context of its rather slender profile.  The processor is a dual-core Core Duo ULV U7500 that runs at a meager 1.06 GHz on a 533 MHz front-side bus and 2MB of L2 cache.  It does use a newer Intel 965 chipset with integrated graphics that helps with battery life but won’t win you any performance crowns.  The system will ship with 3GB of DDR2-667 memory; a great benefit to the slower processor giving it faster access to the data it needs. 

The LCD screen is an 11″ widescreen monitor with a decent 1366×768 resolution that seems to fit the screen size just right.  It is also LED back-lit for a slimmer design and lower power consumption and coupled with ASUS’ ColorShine screen type (shiny, not matte) creates a pretty impressive look to this ultra-mobile machine.  Readers that felt the 7″ screen on the ASUS Eee PC was just too small for them should attempt to see one of these in action. 

Storage is provided by either a solid-state drive of 32GB or a standard 120GB 4800 RPM hard drive; the SSD will obviously improve performance but limit your storage potential while the 120GB model will run considerably slower.  On the bright side, ASUS did indicate that buyers of the 32GB SSD model will get an external 160GB drive included at no cost.  The U2E also includes a slim optical drive that supports DVD-RW drive that many other systems of this size and weight shun; the MacBook Air and Lenovo X300 come to mind. 

ASUS claims the U2E is only 2.5cm think at this narrowest point and only 2.9cm at this widest; we are talk about some seriously small hardware.

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