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It’s not the first time ASUS has lumbered up its notebooks with bamboo, although by most accounts previous efforts were a little rough. Physically speaking and aesthetically; that first attempt a few years ago was particularly raw to touch, which is great on a beach house but not on your everyday electronics.

This time around though, ASUS has refined the build process as the bamboo is smoother and features a much more attractive dark-brown stain. In truth, it looks more “wood”  than bamboo specifically, but the benefit to using bamboo in particular is that it’s lighter and stronger when used in thin strips. The other advantages over plastic are more obvious: it’s completely unique, and also it’s recyclable, or at least a biodegradable and a renewable resource. In fact, ASUS has designed its U33 (and U43, U53) models to be 100 per cent recyclable. That’s undeniably impressive.

Asus U33 with Bamboo

Asus U33 with bamboo and aluminium = extremely gorgeous

While unable to cast like metals, bamboo is also better because it is light, it isn’t uncomfortably cold to touch, plus it resists ugly finger and palm-prints. That’s not to discount the beautiful aluminum shell that surrounds the keyboard in the U33 though; both have their specific uses which ASUS has understood and taken advantage of.

Using the bamboo doesn’t mean the notebooks are any bulkier either, in fact, it means less plastic is used and it makes them more rigid. 1.5mm bamboo covers are manufactured first, then just 0.5mm of plastic is injection moulded around it. This technique users 75 per cent less plastic than other notebooks.

Old ASUS bamboo versus the new underneath.Old ASUS bamboo versus the new underneath. Things clearly have got a lot more refined.

ASUS bundles the U33 with an 8-cell battery while still manages to keep the weight at just 1.8kg, however the U43 and U53 use (physically larger) 6-cells and are a meatier 2.1-2.76kg respectively. All the U-3 models offer an all-day 11 hour battery life too.

Mr. Shih and Mr. Shen present the latest NX90 and U33 laptops

Mr. Shih and Mr. Shen present the latest NX90 and U33 laptops

The entire laptop series include the latest Intel Core i5-450M CPU with Nvidia GeForce 310M 1GB graphics and Optimus Technology, 2GB of DDR3, USB 3 ports and a 500GB hard drive. ASUS has also injected its own engineering into it, with its Super Hybrid Engine that adds an additional 11 per cent to the performance through automatic overclocking, effectively upgrading your Core i5-450M to an i5-540M for free! The extra performance doesn’t affect battery life though, because the speed tuning is state sensitive, so only when you really need the power the SHE will it kick in, whereas at other idling times ASUS dials the performance right back to preserve power to give the best of both worlds.

ASUS' latest U33 notebook

ASUS' latest U33 notebook

The downside is that ASUS’ bamboo bad-boys cost a little more than their U35 counterparts, but that’s to be expected. For the price of a unique talking point you cannot buy elsewhere and tech  that will last well beyond your next upgrade, the U33 and its bigger U43 and U53 brothers are an investment worth paying for.

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