While the world waits for thinner, higher-resolution notebooks from Apple, ASUS delivered part of that with its new S-Series Ultrabooks revealed at Computex this year. Priced below $899 (basically covering the $699 - $849 range), the S-Series features an aluminum unibody construction, 21mm thickness, Ivy Bridge Core i3/5/7, and optional GeForce GT 630M. ASUS retains the integrated optical drive. The S-series will be available in both 14 and 15-inch versions, but limited to a display resolution of 1366 x 768. If you want a higher resolution, you'll have to look toward the more expensive Zenbook Prime. 

At these price points solid state storage isn't exactly possible, but ASUS has outfitted these systems with a 24GB SSD cache in addition to the standard mechanical drive. Dimensions, additional specs and more shots can be found in the gallery below.

It is nice to see the Ultrabook trend having a positive impact on notebooks across many price points, although we do still need to see a serious revolution in PCs priced at or below $500.

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  • B3an - Thursday, June 07, 2012 - link

    "While the world waits for thinner, higher-resolution notebooks from Apple"

    I'm not waiting for one. Fuck Apple. Why does this site always have to mention them?

    I'd bet far more people are waiting for superior Win 8 tablet hybrids with their superior IPS displays, that also have the advantage of touch, better mobility, and longer battery life due to their keyboard docks that contain another battery.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, June 07, 2012 - link

    Chill, man. People mention Apple because they're a market leader in mobile devices. Yes, I'm sick of them being used as the "standard" by which others must be measured when they have so many shortcomings themselves, but that's not worth getting quite so worked up about.

    Case in point - IPS displays in mobile devices is something that Apple forced into play with the iPad, like it or not. Prior to that they only showed up in $3k+ workstation laptops. This is A Good Thing and personally I'm glad for the boot it gave to the PC sector, that being the one I care about.
    Reply
  • trane - Thursday, June 07, 2012 - link

    I don't think so, TN displays are avoided for touchscreens even before Apple, as they simply cause too much trail when touched. No doubt, however, that Apple popularized touchscreen form factors like the smartphone and the tablet.

    But coming back to the computing world, Apple's Macbooks have fairly low resolution 6-bit TN panels! (albeit about as good as TN gets) Yes, I know the rumors say they will have "retina displays" but that's just a rumor.
    Reply
  • tuxRoller - Thursday, June 07, 2012 - link

    Regarding ips, I think there were a few oems that used them in laptops (hp,lenovo,dell) that were in the 1-2k range, however, Apple has, to my knowledge, never used ips in their laptops. So, this would seem to be the case where the pc oems are dragging apple, hopefully, towards ips in their laptops. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, June 07, 2012 - link

    Many of us ARE waiting for those next gen Win8 machines, However, it's hard to believe that such machines would exist in their current rumored form without Apple's market presence.

    Surely you see the value in competition, right?
    Reply
  • ptmmac - Thursday, June 07, 2012 - link

    One obvious reason is the use of a unibody aluminum case. Not sure why being rude is so acceptable. The web is a big place. Find some place more to your liking, unless you enjoy trolling. Reply
  • michael2k - Thursday, June 07, 2012 - link

    It's induction. Note you said Win 8 tablets with
    1) superior IPS displays first popularized with the iPad
    2) touch first popularized with the iPad
    3) better mobility first popularized with the iPad
    4) longer battery life first popularized with the iPad
    5) keyboard docks that contain another battery first popularized with the Transformer

    Note that 4 out of 5 thins were introduced by Apple in 2010?

    So much the same with "thinner, higher resolution notebooks". Did you ever notice the trend of 1366x768 13", 14", 15" everyone seems to be hewing to except Apple? The only model Apple offers at that low a resolution is either the 11" MacBook Air or 10" iPad; Their 13" MacBook Pro is 1280x800, their 13" MacBook Air is 1400x900

    There is the expectation that within a month they will start offering super high resolution displays as standard, and the hope is that soon everyone else will start pushing much higher resolution screens than 1366x768 at the 13", 14", and 15" because Apple does.
    Reply
  • Pandamonium - Thursday, June 07, 2012 - link

    This is being compared to the Apple MBP line because:
    1) aluminum unibody construction. AFAIK, this is the first non-apple machine to feature this design. I think other manufacturers have had unibody skeletons/frames, but still kept the external casing in pieces. This allowed for more body flex, which like it or not, has a pretty big impact on subjective build quality

    2) The hinge mechanism on this machine is also the first I've seen that resembles Apple's hinge. I'll admit that I don't follow every laptop's release, but for me, this is the first time I've seen a centered single hinge.

    3) Between the color scheme, black chiclet keyboard, black bezel, and trackpad (which from these pictures, doesn't have separate left/right click buttons), this machine looks remarkably similar to a Macbook Pro. Sure, the hardware is different and it's a full keyboard, but the overall "look and feel" is reminiscent of a Macbook Pro.

    The fact of the matter is that most PC laptops have been traditionally non-unibody plastic. Circa 2000-2006 was dominated by matte plastic, 2006-present has been more glossy. Grey and black dominated the color schemes. Some manufacturers had swappable body panels for color customization. After the Macbook Pro release, I'm pretty sure most laptops still had lid latches vs Apple's magnets. You could argue that this Asus has some incremental changes that are minor relative to its immediate predecessor, but the overall design is eerily Apple-esque.
    Reply
  • iflippy - Saturday, December 01, 2012 - link

    Point no. 2 is incorrect. I just bought this and it's not center hinged. The chunk you see spanning much of the length of the laptop is the battery itself. When you remove the battery, you'd clearly see that there are hinges on the far ends.

    But I do give credit for Apple in regards to the aluminum encasement and the style of the keyboard. Personally, I think this style is much better considering it leaves less room for grime to get inside so it stays looking much cleaner for much longer. I'm also glad that companies are doing away with the glossy finish. It's just a fingerprint disaster and we don't need that on our keyboards.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    I was about to say the exact same thing! I actually hope that Asus holds up a middle finger to Anandtech and refuses to offer ANY exclusives ever.

    Then again I do have a feeling that this site could do with a few exclusives as it's not exactly buzzing with the latest tech news
    Reply

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