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Asus Announces N-Series Notebooks

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When is a netbook not a netbook? When it's the Asus N10 of course! Yes, the smallest model of the new N-series notebooks (comprising the N10, N20, N50 and N80) is a 10.2in affair with an Atom CPU, but a quick look at the feature set shows that it's cut from a different cloth than other such systems.

So while, yes, at its core the N10 still sports a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, and a 10.2in, 1,024 x 600 screen, it also has an ExpressCard slot (as also featured by the Fujitsu Amilo Ui 3520) and a proper GPU, specifically an nVidia GeForce 9300M (unlike any rival netbook). The use of a real graphics chip will probably impact battery life, but the fact that the N10 actually has a GPU capable of rendering more than the Windows desktop is likely enough to compensate for that shortcoming - the 9300 is hardly a power-intensive chip anyway. Adding to that capability, the N10 also packs 2GB of RAM and up to a 320GB hard drive. Oh yes, there're Vista options, too.

The N20, N50 and N80 pack 12.1in, 1,280 x 800, 15.4in, 1,280 x 800 and 14.1, 1,280 x 800 screens respectively, with the N50 having LED-backit panel and the N80 the option of one. All three systems offer Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs, up to 4GB of RAM and Blu-ray options as well as Asus' ExpressGate quick-booting mini OS. The N20 also sports an HSDPA adaptor which is nice.

Really, the only stand-out system in the range is the N10, which stand proud as the crème de la crème of netbooks. Given Asus pretty much defined the category with the Eee PC, that's hardly surprising.

UK Pricing and release dates? Still a mystery I'm afraid.

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