Asus's second-sexiest model, the S121, technically isn't a netbook. Nor is it a further refinement of the already-refined N10Jc, according to Asus. The less-than-an-inch-thick metallic frame with leather trim houses a machine that attempts to fill the void between netbook and notebook. While the S121 does have an Atom processor, nobody will mistake it for a budget box after a look at its 12.1-inch, LED, active-matrix TFT, 1280-by-800-pixel display (presented with edge-to-edge glass) and its roomy 128GB solid-state drive.
Gone are the days of the cheap, toylike netbooks that adult hands could barely use. Whereas the N10Jc impressed with its long battery life and solid performance among the netbook set, the S121, Asus claims, can survive upward of 10 hours on an internal and external battery working together. Now that's a smart idea; I'd like being able to swap out external batteries on the fly during writing marathons.
The S121 could be a great, lightweight (about 2.6 pounds), road-ready companion. But it will be facing a lot of stiff competition in the coming year, from, say, the surfacing of a new tweener class of portables using everything from nVidia's Ion platform to Via Nano processors and whatever else AMD has to show off. Just keep checking back this week for our complete coverage of CES 2009 to see what I'm talking about.
The other big laptop coming from Asus's stables is the only one clinging to the Eee name: the Eee PC T91 Tablet. Think of it as a touch-screen variant of the 8.9-inch, 901-series models that broke out on the scene in 2008. This hybrid netbook operates the same way as full-blown convertible laptops do, offering a screen capable of rotating 180 degrees. The T91 will offer built-in GPS functionality, a TV tuner, and an FM transmitter. It has the potential to be one well-rounded, affordable, portable entertainer.
Edited by Jayayess1190, 07 January 2009 - 12:40 AM.