We had our first encounter with Asus' UX series ultraportables last week, and we were impressed. Despite being only 0.67" thick and tipping the scales at 2.4 lbs, the machine we saw packed a Sandy Bridge processor, USB 3.0 connectivity, and a seven-hour battery.
Asus didn't reveal pricing at the time, but DigiTimes has now filled in that blank (at least if the site's "sources from the upstream notebook supply chain" have their facts straight). The 11.6" Asus UX21 will reportedly be priced $100 lower than the equivalent MacBook Air. Since the cheapest, 11.6" Air sells for $999 right now... well, we all went to elementary school. Word is that we can look forward to the UX21 in September.
$900 is by no means cheap for an ultraportable, but systems like the UX21 and the MacBook Air are more than just mere ultraportables. They're thinner, lighter, more elegant... and in the cases of the UX21, faster, since it has a Sandy Bridge processor and will reportedly ship with solid-state storage. (Apple also offers SSDs by default throughout the MacBook Air lineup.)
Speaking of the Air, DigiTimes goes on to say Apple will release new 11.6" and 13.3" MacBook Air laptops with an "updated platform" either this month or the next. I'm pretty sure that means Apple will ditch the aging Core 2 Duo processors it's using now and start offering Sandy Bridge chips. So, the UX21 could end up with very similar hardware to Apple's 11.6" champion by the time it shows up—the Asus machine might just have a lower asking price and Windows running on it.
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