Gadget sites are buzzing with news of a new Asus ultraportable. This post on the Notebook Review forums seems to be the original source of details on the U24E, an 11.6" system reportedly due for release in Japan this week. According to the post, the U24E weighs in at 3.3 lbs and measures up to an inch thick, taking it out of the running for ultrabook classification.
Of course, the U24E should be quite a bit cheaper than the average ultrabook. The forum post quotes a ¥59,800 price tag, which translates to around $770 with a straight currency conversion. Notebooks seem to be a little pricier in Japan than they are stateside, though. The recently released Zenbook UX31, for example, costs $1,100 in the US and ¥109,801 in Japan, which translates to over $1,400. If we use the Zenbook as a guide, the U24E could run closer to $600 if it washed up on North American shores.
While it's unclear whether the new ultraportable will be available outside of Japan, the specifications sure look intriguing. The 11.6" screen's 1366x768 display resolution is nothing special, but there's a Core i5-2430M lurking under the hood backed by 4GB of RAM and a 750GB mechanical hard drive. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a webcam are naturally included, and there are three USB ports: two USB 3.0 and one 2.0.
The U24E looks like it has a brushed aluminum exterior, although there's surely more plastic involved than on the ultra-slim Zenbook. I suspect many folks would be willing to trade in the skinny profile of ultrabooks for something with a faster CPU and a lower asking price. With nearly a seven-hour run-time rating, the U24E should offer better battery life than the 11.6" Zenbook, too.
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