ASUS is very popular in the mobile space after making history with its well-known and highly appreciated Transformer tablets and Zen line of UltraBooks. What we were missing in the Zen UltraBook ASUS brings in the new S UltraBook Series.
The new mobile computers from the well-known mainboard manufacturer are quite a bit thicker than the popular Zen and Transformer devices, but they bring the much needed extra performance, functionality and screen size.
We would all like to see 17” notebooks as thin as ASUS’ Zen, but we believe we’ll have to wait for another decade for something like that.
The new S series is just 21 mm thick (0.827 inches) and currently only has two members, the S46 and the S56.
Both models have the same thickness and we have to commend ASUS for that.
Probably the most important aspect related to functionality is the fact that these UltraBooks, despite being quite thin and light, both come with an optical disc drive (ODD).
This is one issue where we will never agree with Intel about UltraBooks. Maybe in tablets or netbooks the ODD can be left out of the configuration, but a notebook is a versatile productivity device and there’s not much versatility if you can’t listen to your CD or watch a DVD.
Productivity is also lacking, for example, if you need to make some CDs for your business meeting so that everybody attending can work with the same material. If the ODD is missing how could you achieve that?
It’s not practical to hand out ten or more USB thumb drives and it’s quite unprofessional not to be able to backup your data on the go without having to carry around a 2 kg external HDD or upload sensitive data through unsecured networks onto online virtual drives.
A notebook without an ODD is not a notebook in our opinion and, to ASUS’ credit, the S series are true notebooks.
The processor is, of course, Intel’s Ivy Bridge and the GPU is Nvidia’s GeForce 600M.
The screen has a mediocre 1366 by 768 pixel resolution and the whole thing is made of plastic.
The reader should not take this as a negative aspect, as the S series are quite sturdy devices and the looks are appealing.
The palm rest is made of aluminum, and we’re hoping that underneath it there is no more plastic so that the aluminum could help with the heat dissipation.
ASUS says that the storage system is a “fast-response hybrid SSD/hard drive storage system,” but it doesn’t give any more details in the official press release.
There is no official information on pricing yet.