Asus announced a pair of new Windows 8.1 PCs at IFA on Wednesday, and they’re as opposite as polar opposites can be: The aluminum-clad Zenbook UX305 (pictured above) is the latest version of the company’s signature Zenbook Ultrabook line, while the simply named Asus Eeebook X205 is the spiritual successor to—you guessed it—Asus’ old line of Eee PCs.
The theme of Asus event was premium elegance, an ethos long exemplified in the Zenbook series. The latest entry continues the trend, sporting a 13.3-inch 3200×1800 high-resolution display with 267 pixels-per-inch density, an ultra-slim 0.48-inch frame weighing in at 2.645 lbs., and black or white color options that Asus product manager Derek Yu claims were inspired by obsidian and ceramic, respectively.
Beneath the surface, the Zenbook UX305 packs one of Intel’s new, power-efficient Core M processors and 128GB or 256GB SSD options. Pricing and availability were not announced, alas.
The 11.6-inch EeeBook X205 meanwhile, is essentially a modern day netbook, powered by Windows 8.1 with Bing and a quad-core Intel Atom processor. That’s paired with 2GB of RAM and either 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, augmented by 500GB of free Asus WebStorage (read: cloud storage) and 100GB of free Microsoft OneDrive storage for two years. Connectivity-wise, there’s a pair of USB 2.0 ports, Micro-SD and Micro-HDMI, and of course, Wi-Fi.
Asus made a big to-do over the laptop’s better-than-netbook styling, including four different color options. The EeeBook X205 also has a large keyboard and trackpad of the size normally found in 14-inch laptops, according to Yu.
All in all, the Asus EeeBook appears poised to join the HP Steam 14 in Microsoft’s burgeoning “Chromebook killer” ranks—cheap, lightly spec’d devices designed to take the Windows battle straight to Google’s web-centric notebooks. As far as the world of Windows machines goes, the EeeBook’s internals should give it performance comparable to a mainstream Windows tablet, with scanty storage to match—not that limited hard drive space matters as much if you plan to use the laptop in Chromebook-like fashion.
Pricing for the EeeBook X205 was announced at 199 euros. I’d expect the machine to swap out the euro sign for a dollar sign when it hits stateside, whenever that happens to be.
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Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.