Laptops

Review: ASUS N10 ultraportable notebook

The ASUS N10J ultraportable notebook may be the size of a netbook but it has the horsepower of a desktop replacement. For the business-class road warrior, this small package can handle just about any productivity task you care to throw at it.

The ASUS N10J ultraportable notebook may be the size of a netbook but it has the horsepower of a desktop replacement. For the business-class road warrior, this small package can handle just about any productivity task you care to throw at it.

Specifications

  • Processor: Intel Atom Processor N270, 1.6GHz
  • Operating System: Genuine Windows Vista Business
  • Chipset: Intel 945GSE
  • Main Memory: 2GB
  • Display: 10.2" WSVGA Color-Shine (Glare-type)
  • Video Graphics & Memory: NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS with 256MB VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 2.5" 9.5mm SATA160GB, 5400rpm
  • Card Reader: 8-in-1 card reader
  • Video Camera: 1.3 Mega Pixel Web camera
  • LAN/WLAN: Integrated 802.11a/b/g/n or 802.11b/g, built-in Bluetooth V2.0+EDR
  • Interface: Express card, microphone-in, headphone-out, VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor, three USB 2.0 ports, RJ45 LAN, HDMI out
  • Audio: Built-in Altec Lansing sound
  • Battery: Six cell battery pack for up to eight hours of use
  • Dimensions: 27.6 (W) x 19.5 (D) x 3.71 (H) cm, weight less than 2kg
  • Retail price: $669 delivered from PC Connection
  • Additional information
  • Check out the ASUS N10J TechRepublic Photo Gallery

Who is it for?

The ASUS N10J is designed for the user that needs a powerful desktop replacement notebook notebook with power similar to a desktop, but cannot afford to lug around a heavy personal notebook computer. (Editor's note: this is what I should have written) The N10J is the same size as the netbooks we have reviewed before, but it has many more features and much better overall performance. This ultraportable notebook balances the need for performance with the need for portability.

What problem does it solve?

The main problem the ASUS N10J solves is weight. At less than two pounds for the 6-cell battery version, the notebook can easily be carried from client-to-client and airplane-to-airplane. However, performance is not sacrificed for the sake of weight, making the N10J one the best choices for businesses and users looking for ultraportable notebook solutions.

Features

  • Microsoft Windows Vista: The N10J is powerful enough and ships with enough RAM to actually work with Vista. With Windows 7 on the way, the performance of this notebook should only increase.
  • Intel Atom Processor N270: The Atom line of CPUs, coupled with the Intel 945GSE chipset, make the N10J very power efficient, but without sacrificing overall performance.
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS with 256MB VRAM: Many notebooks in the netbook form factor sacrifice graphics processing to reduce weight and power consumption. The N10J allows users to engage the much more powerful GeForce 9300M GS when GPU power is needed.
  • Six-cell battery: The larger battery pack gives the N10J about six hours of useable of productive on time.
  • Bio security: The N10J is equipped with bio-security in the form of a fingerprint scanner. This gives the notebook an added layer of security in cases of theft or loss.

What's wrong

  • Screen size: While the N10J has more power than the typical netbook, it still has the same screen size and resolution restrictions. The native screen resolution is 1024 X 600, which is that odd size that can cause problems with certain applications and Web pages. However, one advantage for the N10J, with its GeForce 9300m GS GPU, is that it has HDMI out.
  • Keyboard: The keyboard is smaller than a conventional keyboard, but it is still useable. The right shift key is too small for my liking, but with some practice I could train myself to stop hitting the Enter key by mistake. A new user of the N10J is going to have a small learning curve before the small keyboard size and tight layout of the keys is not a problem.
  • No optical drive: One way this notebook holds down the size and weight is by not including a built-in optical drive. With the four USB ports, an external drive is a viable option, but that requires the user to carry yet another piece of peripheral equipment.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

For businesses with users who need a lightweight yet powerful notebook, there may be no better solution than the ASUS N10J. This ultraportable notebook is built for the on-the-go road-warrior and has all the features any user could possibly want. With a more than adequate graphics system, 2GB of RAM, a power efficient Atom CPU, and integrated WiFi and Bluetooth, the ASUS N10J hits that elusive sweet spot that balances power with portability.

Have you deployed or used an ASUS N10J? If so, what do you think? Rate the unit and compare the results with other TechRepublic members. Give your own personal review of the ASUS N10J in the TechRepublic Community Forum or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

12 comments
thisaintmyemail
thisaintmyemail

Just put on Win7 and a SSD and you're good to go. :)

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

Methinks the author needs to revisit his basic science courses. 2 Kg = 4.4 pounds. This is a heavyweight for a netbook.

Brendan P
Brendan P

When are hardware reviewer going to recognize the fact that Netbooks are not laptops? Their reason for being is (1) portablity,any time anywhere, and (2) durability / relative affordability so that you can bring them anywhere without being paranoid of knocking them around and having to keep a vigil over them for fear of breaking the bank if they get stolen. The real question is how well do they serve that function. So,no kidding, the keyboard is small, is it well configured? Hard-disk drive are out: they are a libility. Are there a wide range of options for SSD drive and external memory cards? Ask those questions and the review will be better.

itpro_z
itpro_z

The article goes on and on about how this machine is more powerful than a netbook, yet the only difference that I can see is that it has 2 GB RAM. I would not classify the Atom processor as "desktop replacement" by any means. This is a high end netbook, nothing more.

itpro_z
itpro_z

I disagree. In my experience, the most fragile part of the system is the screen, not the hard drive. The units we have purchased for field use have 160 GB drives, necessary to carry the GIS data that we require. SSDs are tiny and/or very expensive, neither of which fits our needs.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

This is a powerful ultraportable notebook, not a desktop replacement. Edited to correct myself and eat crow.

dlarowe
dlarowe

I love the idea of these netbooks in my school. Everything is perfect... speed, size, etc. for little hands... especially the price!! I could equip a mobile laptop cart for our students for a fraction of the cost of a standard laptop. The problem - as with all of these netbooks - is getting them to run Windows XP Professional so the students can logon to our domain and have access to their necessary applications. I don't understand why none of these have XP Pro as an option, at least.

mattie289404
mattie289404

I have two ASUS EEE 910, they have everything this has minus 1GB of memory...where does he get his info?

bitdoctor
bitdoctor

itpro_z, For the "here and now," you are mostly correct; but, as things progress, SSD's will come down in price and, as they have no moving parts, they are much more rugged than standard non-SSD hard drives. 64GB SSD's are now pretty common and, yes, are still expensive but, as I said, they will come down in price. As for 'screen vs. hd' - I have 25 years in IT, and I have actually seen, and dealt with, more HD issues than screen issues. I've seen (and had) slightly-damaged screens that still function; with HD's, there is no "slightly damaged;" they are either "crunchy and/or dead" or they are functioning. Ultimately, SSD mass-production, upcoming larger capacities and eventual lower prices will change that part of the equation. Granted, initial LCD's were much more fragile than the current generation of LCD's - but you correct that LCD's are a definite point of concern, as far as being fragile and prone to damage; and, in your own experience, you may well have seen more screen issues than HD issues.

itpro_z
itpro_z

At the last school where I taught (in between IT positions) we had some mobile computer labs based on Dell Latitude notebooks, which were expensive overkill for their intended purpose. Populate those same carts with netbooks and we could have at least doubled the number of machines available to the students. Mostly, they were used for internet access and Word, a task suitable for netbooks. Regarding XP Pro, the article states that these units come with Vista Business, which can handle your domain connections. With 2 GB RAM, these machines should run Vista well. I speak from experience in stating that Vista is more stable, more secure, and better performing than XP on modern hardware. In a year or so, Win7 will give us another option, but for now Vista is mature and stable and in most cases a far better choice than XP. That is perhaps the biggest drawback that I see with current netbooks, that you must choose between either outdated and very limited XP Home or stripped down versions of Linux. As the hardware matures, as we see happening now, we will have more choices available.

harryolden
harryolden

I also have a eee pc best computer I have bought I also instaled a mobile gps for use in the car when I need it But i dont have 2 gigs of ram or run vista that I dont want. Cheers Harry

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

This has a separate nvidia video card that the EEE 910 does not for one thing.