Thin, cheap laptop steps up to MacBook Air

For budget machines, the Frontier line is incredibly well-specced

Laptop fans who aren't mad keen on shelling out the best part of £1,200 for a MacBook Air might want to get themselves over to Japan for a slice of tasty subnote pie that's every bit as sweet and just half the price.

Kouziro's Frontier line of laptops has just been augmented by the 1.24kg FRLN series of ultra-lights and - for budget machines - they're incredibly well specced.

Ports aplenty

For just ¥130,000 (£628), the entry model comes with an 800MHz Intel A110 processor, 1GB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive and a 12.1-inch LED-backlit screen. The OS is Windows XP Home and battery life is 4 hours, extendable to 8.5 with an optional battery pack.

Although good for the price, there's nothing in that lot to write home about. That, however, comes in the shape of a 12.5mm body (at the thinnest point) that still manages to include a healthy hand of ports (check out the photo gallery here).

Waterproof keyboard

These include a PC card slot, a D-sub monitor connection, a 56K modem, a LAN port, a multi-card reader and three USB ports. Not only that, but the FRLN also has a fingerprint reader, a smartcard slot, a waterproof keyboard and can survive a fall from 1m onto concrete.

Looks like those Japanese claims about being able to build a better subnote than Apple weren't just idle boasts. We'll take two please.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.