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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  • ATWindsor - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    Please continue to test the displays of laptops. This is very good information, and often not tested by other sites. Reply
  • Clauzii - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    I'd like to see the ASUS with the Mac battery. That should bring a whole day of interrupted usage to the table. Besdides that, I think I'd prefer a dual core Atom and no discrete GPU, since the dualcore Atoms CAN decode movies well.

    Oh, and a Merry Christmas from Denmark :)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    Glaedelige jul til dig ogsaa! I don't think dual-core Atom would do all that well with H.264 1080P, but it might manage. I suppose the real question is whether it would be more power efficient than the 9300M or not. No one seems to be doing Atom dual-core laptops yet (though I'm sure they're out there -- just no one has offered to send one for review). As for the Mac batteries, they're actually *smaller* than the ASUS battery in terms of capacity; OS X just seems to do better at optimizing for power as far as I can tell. Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    But would you be kind enough to maybe test a couple old games like Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike Source, Halo, WoW, UT2004? Merry Christmas, AT! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    Given the performance in UT3 and CoH, I'd expect pretty reasonable frame rates in the games you mention - maybe not at high detail, but medium shouldn't be a problem. Let me see if I can dig out HL2 and give it a run for old time's sake.... Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    Fair enough. Thanks for considering it! ;-) Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    A XP Home laptop is not a business version, why not test the Vista Business version? Would be more interesting to see how the VB N10J-A2 fair.

    A VB laptop with XP Pro downgrade rights is the only thing fitting into the corporate world. What your reviewing is still a consumer laptop. With just 1GB of ram to add on top of that. Certainly the 800 dollars N10J-A2 would be more difficult to justify. And only then you can talk corporate.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    I thought the XP Home thing was mandated by Microsoft for netbooks. As in Microsoft will only continue selling XP in it's Home form for netbooks which only have 1GB of RAM. ASUS can't put XP Pro in since it's no longer directly available and I would guess using Vista Business by default would increase the price and of course reduce performance. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    As of September, our campus computer store was still selling licenses for XP Pro to use with our Volume License media.I haven't needed one since then, but businesses with volume licenses can probably upgrade if needed. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    That's kind of different. XP is still available for smaller OEMs, but I'm pretty sure that XP isn't available for big name companies like ASUS anymore unless they stick with the netbook restrictions. Reply

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