Asus launches S101 MacBook Air killer

Asus' latest Eee PC, the S101, being touted as a cheaper alternative to Apple's MacBook Air
Asus' latest Eee PC, the S101, is being touted as a cheaper alternative to Apple's MacBook Air

Fancy a super-slim and light laptop for well over half of the price of Apple's celebrated MacBook Air? If so, Asus' new Eee PC, the S101, may well be the computer you've been waiting all year for.

Asus claims that the machine – which weighs in at just under a kilo and (arguably) is better specced than the MacBook Air – is "a successful melding of fashion and functionality."

Major claims

And that's not a claim that laptop fashionistas who cannot get enough of Apple's MacBook Air can ignore (especially as, if it's true, it means they can get to show it off to their friends and in-laws).

Specs wise, the S101 will feature the now-standard Intel Atom processor and Intel 945 Express (GMA 950) graphics, three USB ports, a built-in 4-in-1 card reader, a good ol' RJ-45 Ethernet socket, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an easily-changeable battery that should run for around five hours.

Multitouch trackpad

Size wise, the S101 is a slither of a machine at 18-25mm thick, with a 10.2-inch screen (with a highest resolution of 1,024 x 768) and a multitouch trackpad.

The S101 will be made available in both Windows XP Home versions (with a basic - and upgradeable - 16GB SSD), with two Linux versions on the way packing in 32GB or 64GB of SSD.

The only downside is that the new Asus will still feature the rather underwhelming 0.3-megapixel webcam.

Quality keyboard

Initial reports claim that the S101's keyboard is notably better than the current batch of netbooks on the market – which could well prove to be a sales tipping point for many.

And finally, for the fashion-conscious amongst you, the S101 will come in a variety of colours. Including brown, graphite and champagne (?!).

It will be available to buy in early November at a cost of £449. Pricey, for a netbook, but from what we have seen so far, this could well prove to be the ultimate laptop for working (showing off) on the train home.

Adam Hartley