Computex: Asus Unveils Stylish Eee PC Laptops, Desktops, and Some Surprises

New thin-and-light laptops, touchscreen all-in-one PCs, and superslim displays are among the hot gear Asus showed off at Computex this week. We take a closer look.

11.6-inch 'Seashell' Eee PC Netbook

Asus continues to throw the Eee spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks--and for the most part, that's not a bad thing.

First up in our coverage: an upate to the company's Seashell-inspired Eee PC series. The 10.1-inch Eee PC 1008HA and Eee PC 1005HA Seashell models are quite recent, and now the company has unveiled a new model equipped with an 11.6-inch screen. Asus says that the 1101HA's Z520 or Z530 Menlow processor helps it achieve about 11 hours of battery life, but the new system is unlikely to keep pace with Seashell models that use Atom N270/N280 chips. Other specs include 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard disk, and possibly the option of either a 9.5-hour or an 11-hour six-cell battery. No word yet on pricing or availability in the United States.

Asus also unveiled the 1101HGO and 1005HGO, essentially the same models as above but with integrated WiMax or 3G networking. One of the tech staffers at the booth suggested that Asus might be working with AT&T on certification for the latter. --Danny Allen

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Next: New Eee Top Touchscreen All-in-One PCs

New Eee Top Touchscreen All-in-One PCs

All-in-one PCs are hot right now, a bandwagon that Asus has already jumped aboard with its 15.6-inch EeeTop PC 1602 ($500 to $600). Here in Taipei, the company has followed up with two new touchscreen all-in-ones: The 21.5-inch Eee Top PC ET2203T and the 20-inch Eee Top PC ET2002T.

The multimedia-themed ET2203T has a 1080p display, optional Blu-ray Disc drive, HDMI input, ATI Radeon HD4570 graphics, and integrated speakers. It's powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T6500 processor and 4GB of memory, and it includes a 320GB hard drive.

The ET2002T uses nVidia's Ion platform--which means an Atom CPU (the 330 in this case) paired with nVidia 9400M graphics. The 20-inch display will run at a resolution of 1600 by 900, and inside it'll have 2GB of memory and a 250GB hard disk. As you'd expect, 802.11n Wi-Fi and a Webcam are standard features.

Asus said that both machines could be available in the United States as soon as July. But we wonder whether the company will just wait for the October 22 launch of Windows 7 and thereby avoid Windows Vista. Prices are expected to start at roughly $799 for the ET2002 and $1000 for the ET2203T. --Danny Allen

Next: Lightweight Intel CULV-Based Laptops

Lightweight Intel CULV-Based Laptops

Intel's CULV (consumer ultra-low-voltage) processors are designed for a new class of ultrathin laptops that are as light as a netbook, but pack bigger screens and more computing power. Asus showed two laptops configured with the latest 1.3GHz CULV chip: the 15.6-inch UX50V (which we previewed last month) and the 13.3-inch UX30.

Specced to last on a charge for more than 4 hours, the X30 is just 0.27 inch thick at its thinnest point, weighs 3.5 pounds, and is expected to be released around October.

Intel is tracking work by other companies on over 50 CULV laptops, most of which are likely to launch this year. --Owen Fletcher

Next: Multitouch Eee Tablet Coming?

Multitouch Eee PC T91 Coming?

The Eee PC T91 is a hybrid netbook with an 8.9-inch screen that rotates 180 degrees and can be folded flat to form a tablet. It also has GPS functionality, a TV tuner, and an FM transmitter. We got our first glimpse of it back in January at CES, but it has now officially joined the Eee PC stable. The T91 carries Intel's Atom Z520 CPU and 1GB of memory; for storage it couples a 16GB solid-state hard disk with a 16GB SD card.

Here in Taipei, Asus also demonstrated a prototype T91 (pictured) that ran Windows 7 and used a multitouch screen. The single-touch T91 should be available within the next few months. --Danny Allen

Next: Asus Essentio Desktops in Best Buy?

Asus Essentio Desktops in Best Buy?

Asus has sold small, bare-bones, and all-in-one PCs in the United States before, but it hasn't pushed midsize-tower or full-size desktops. That could soon change. The company reps I spoke to at the show suggested that the slick-looking, Core i7-ready Essentio CG5290 (pictured) and the more compact CM5570 could be available at Best Buys and Fry's Electronics stores by August. --Danny Allen

Next: Ultraslim MS Series LCD Monitors

Ultraslim MS Series LCD Monitors

Asus is calling its new MS Series flat-panel monitors a "visual art piece." Though I wouldn't go that far, the ultraslim design (just 19mm) and ring-shaped stand are definitely attractive. The 21.5-, 23-, and 23.6-inch models are 1080p-capable and have a 2-millisecond response time. The 20-inch MS202H supports resolutions of up to 1600 by 900 and has a 5ms response time.

All models have HDMI and DVI connections, a stated brightness of 250 cd/m2, and use Asus Smart Contrast Ratio technology to boost their contrast ratio to 50000:1. --Danny Allen

Next: Updated Eee Box With Radeon Graphics, HDMI-Out

Updated Eee Box With Radeon Graphics, HDMI-Out

As had been widely rumored, Asus was indeed working on an update to its $350 Eee Box PC. The new EB1006 has the same 1.6GHz Atom 270 CPU, but it adds a larger 160GB hard disk and dedicated ATI Radeon 4530 graphics with HDMI output.

Options will include either 1GB or 2GB of memory, and a choice of Windows XP or Windows Vista. Some reports suggest that an nVidia Ion-based model may also be in the offing. --Danny Allen

Next: G51 Gaming Laptop: Core 2 Quad CPU, nVidia GTX-260M Graphics

G51 Gaming Laptop: Core 2 Quad CPU, nVidia GTX-260M Graphics

Asus's new G51 gaming laptop offers several features specific to gamers, such as an illuminated Chiclet-style keyboard, a touchpad lock, and a 15.6-inch high-definition LED-backlit 3D widescreen display powered by 1GB nVidia GTX-260M graphics. The G51 also comes with software to overclock its Core 2 Quad or Core 2 Duo processor.

The G51 will support up to 4GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, and is equipped with a Creative EAX-CMSS sound card and Altec Lansing speakers for 3D surround-sound audio. It will be available at major U.S. retailers such as Best Buy in July for between $1300 (U.S. dollars) and $1500. --Danny Allen

Next: Eee PC Collection Gets a NAS Device

Eee PC Collection Gets a NAS Device

Going on sale next month for under $1000, the EeeNAS PC D200 joins Asus's ever-expanding line of Atom-powered Eee PC products. It features an Atom N270 processor, 2GB of memory, and 802.11n wireless networking.

The device is designed to provide storage and backup for homes or small businesses. Its 5-liter case contains two 7200-rpm SATA hard-disk drives that offer a total of 1TB of storage. A 3.5-inch touchscreen on the front of the unit allows users to access data and perform other functions, such as burning DVDs on its slot-loading multi-drive. You can find full details here. --Dan Nystedt

Next: OPlay HD Media Player

OPlay HD Media Player

Asus also launched its first media streamer, the HDP-R1. Connect it to your TV (via HDMI or composite video), and play back movies, music, or photos from portable storage devices connected to its USB 2.0 and eSATA ports. An ethernet connection lets you stream content from your PC or NAS device. Strangely, there's no 802.11n Wi-Fi.

On the upside, the OPlay has excellent video format support. It will play high-definition MPEG1/2/4, H.264, VC-1, and RM/RMVB video in a range of containers (files with .mp4, .mov, .divx, .mkv, and .avi extensions), to name just a few. --Danny Allen

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