We've been hearing about Asus's U2E, the successor to the U1F, for several months now but no firm launch date was forthcoming. Fortuitously, for those interested in seeing a potential rival to Sony's Vaio TZ, that is no longer the case as Asus has finally gone ahead and unleashed the system.
As with its predecessor the U2E sports an 11.1in LED-backlit screen, with a 1,366 x 768 resolution and a 1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo processor. Two variations are available, the black U2E-1P014E and the mocha (read: brown) U2E-1P018E, each with slightly different specifications.
The former sports 2GB of RAM and a 120GB hard drive as standard, while the latter boasts 4GB of RAM and a 32GB solid-state drive. And, unlike the U1F, the U2E doesn't come bundled with a external DVD drive, but rather manages to fit one into its chassis - a far more elegant solution.
A further curious feature is what Asus dubs SmartLogon, which uses the U2E's built-in webcam coupled with face recognition technology to ensure only the rightful owner of the system can use it - a technology Toshiba is also using in its upcoming notebooks. Why you'd want to use this rather than the supplied fingerprint reader is beyond us, but it's just another feature for the press release. Last, but not least, as with the U1F, both a 6-cell and a 3-cell battery will be included with the notebook - an addition we were, and still are, rather fond of.
The U2E should be priced at £1,199 and £1,499 for the Black and Mocha version respectively. Retailers look to be undercutting that slightly, though none actually have any stock at the present moment.