Asus N10 laptop mixes Atom, discrete GeForce for $750-850

Netbooks have strayed far from their beginnings as affordable, sub-$500 laptops. In fact, Asus’ latest effort has little in common with cheaper Eee PCs aside from its 10.2" display and Atom CPU. Engadget says the new Asus N10 netbook has become available for pre-order at for a whopping $849.

What does the N10 deliver to warrant that kind of pricing? Aside from the lowly 1.6GHz Atom, the machine sounds a whole lot like a regular, full-sized notebook: 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, discrete Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS graphics with 256MB of dedicated memory, and a pre-installed copy of Windows Vista Business. The 10.2" display does have the same 1024×600 resolution as that of cheaper netbooks, however, and there’s no optical drive.

According to an earlier report by SlashGear, Asus also has a $749 flavor of the N10 in store. That cheaper variant will apparently be identical to its big brother except for a smaller, 160GB hard drive. SlashGear says both laptops feature HDMI outputs, Bluetooth, 6.5-hour battery lives, and "Hybrid Graphics" implementations that couple the Nvidia GPUs with Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics.

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