Introduction

Just over a year ago, ASUS made some big waves in the mobile computing world with the launch of the Eee PC. The idea was to make an ultra small laptop that could provide "enough" computing power for a very low price -- something like an oversized PDA but with a full OS and a standard user interface. The concept seems simple and obvious in retrospect, and the Eee PC has created an entirely new category of laptop: the netbook. Competition in this market that ASUS spawned has become fierce, with Dell, HP, Acer, and others now shipping netbook PCs ranging in size from the same 7" chassis as the original Eee PC up to 10" models.

One of the interesting corollaries to this whole story is the ultraportable market, typically consisting of 10" to 12" laptops designed for corporate users that want mobility and a lightweight form factor above all else. We've reviewed a few of these laptops over the years, and we always end up with the impression that, sure, these things are light and offer good battery life, but performance is often terrible and frankly the cost is often a major deterrent. It's not unusual to see prices upwards of $2000 for such a laptop, so mostly they end up in the hands of corporate employees.


So we now have the $300 to $500 netbook and the $1500+ ultraportable markets, but there's a gaping hole for those that would like a small, inexpensive PC like a netbook, but with better quality, features, and performance. Enter the ASUS N10JC, which ASUS is billing as a "corporate netbook". What makes this more of a corporate netbook than something like the Eee PC 1000? Only a few minor differences, really: an exterior that looks a little nicer, a larger battery, a fingerprint scanner, and a two-year global ASUS warranty. Those are all nice things to have, certainly, and alone they might be enough to convince people to shell out the extra money.

There's a bit more to sweeten the pot, however, like the inclusion of an NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS 256MB. The LCD panel may also be a bit better -- certainly the N10JC has a good panel, but we haven't personally used the Eee PC 1000 so we're not sure if it's the same panel or not. The entire package is still very reasonably priced too, at just $650. The interesting question is going to be how well this netbook performs in comparison to some of the ultraportables we've reviewed, like ASUS' own U2E and U6V -- both laptops that cost over twice as much.

Specifications and Features
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  • DILLIGAFF - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    Thanks for listening :)


    i checked the download page and the utility is called power4gears hybrid under utilities for n10jc. in the utility you go to performance and in lower left there is a turbo dropdown. change it and save. i used cpuz to verify clocks

    supposedly there is a way to wire it to the power profile button but i gave the laptop to my girl before i could get it all done
    Reply
  • DILLIGAFF - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    looks like vista only...my bad...ouch Reply
  • pattycake0147 - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    The text of the article on page makes mention of a Western Digital drive while the specs and picture show a Seagate drive. You might want to change the WD to Seagate. Reply
  • Khato - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    Just wondering why the article is stating that the 945GME chipset is used, contrary to Asus' spec page which has it using the 945GSE? Sure it's not all that much of a difference, just 1 watt on the TDP and a smaller package.

    Still find it annoying how many manufacturers are unwilling to touch the US15W. I'm guessing the combination of it only supporting 1GB of memory (really don't understand why that design decision was made) along with it costing more is the reason...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    Fixed... I'm guessing the 1GB limitation is exactly why companies stay away from the US15W. Like you, I'm a little surprised that Intel didn't support 2GB with the chipset; I mean, how much of a change would that be? Still, the next generation Moorestown platform should hopefully correct the power requirements of the chipset. Reply
  • Khato - Thursday, December 25, 2008 - link

    Well, the reason for limiting the configuration to 1GB was almost certainly to save a pin. Support for 2GB would require one more addressing pin, which in a low cost product is significant. It also may well have been somewhat a marketing decision - it's a constraint that can keep the platform from growing upwards too far performance wise.

    Hopefully Moorestown allows for 2GB of memory, but it may very well stay at 1GB. After all, that's still more than enough for the intended market, and I believe you'll be stuck with whatever Intel provides for the chipset.
    Reply
  • iFX - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    ... but smaller companies might.

    Large corporate IT departments have their own "procurement" sub-groups which handle IT equipment purchasing. These groups generally buy in bulk, say 100-200 notebooks at a time from companies they have service contracts with like HP and Dell. They buy for considerably less than what consumers pay in the retail channel. For $700 they can buy a considerably better equipped notebook. These groups generally make purchases with a "one size fits all" attitude, therefor, netbooks are out as a software developer won't want to be doing all his work on a tiny netbook - the same goes for an accountant or an attorney.

    Small companies like AnandTech for instance might buy these new netbooks because they don't have sophisticated infrastructures, large numbers of employees, huge service contracts and IT purchasing can be done on a more personal level - many times with the actual employee making the purchase. Equipment, models, brands, etc are not uniform in small companies.
    Reply
  • iFX - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    And on top of all that... keep in mind that 99% of large companies operate in a Microsoft Windows domain environment and XP Home is not able to attach to a domain natively. Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    Ergo my first comment on this article.

    There's a 800 dollar business version though not perfect because too low res for business and lack of 3G modem option, with VB, 2GB of RAM and a 320GB drive that I would have rather saw reviewed instead of the consumer version.

    So not even the N10J-A2 fit the bill as a ultra-portable business notebook. But I would have rather seen it's week spots instead of the consumer version. As said not perfect for business but it at least is better then this and has a chance of being useful.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    All of what I had to say about the N10JC-A1 applies to the N10J-A2, but with a change in RAM, HDD, and OS. As for large corporations, I don't think they get as much of a break on hardware as you assume. I worked for Target Corp. and they used Dell hardware, but I'm pretty sure they were spending *more* on the laptops/PCs because they wanted a 4-year onsite, next day service warranty. Of course, you're overlooking the fact that big corporations also just wipe the HDDs and install their volume license copy and standard build of Windows XP Pro -- I did that for three years at Target, at least. Reply

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