The skinny on slim laptops

June 28th, 2010 in .Laptops & Netbooks .Products
Bobby O’Reilly
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We’ve seen a fair few laptops over the last year or so that can happily claim to be ‘ultrathin’, but up until now none that refuse to compromise on processing power in order to be incredibly portable. With ASUS’ new U35 and U45 notebooks, though, you can have a wafer thin computer that performs like a high powered PC.

Superslim and sexy. ASUS' new U35 and U45 notebooks.

In order to achieve their diminutive dimensions, thin and light laptops of the past have relied on using ultra efficient, low power processors which save on battery life but run at slower clockspeeds than the ones you’ll find in a ‘normal’ laptop. The UL30A, for example, is just 2.46mm at its widest point and weighs less than 1.5kgs, but its narrow waist is only possible because its driven by a 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 CPU. A full speed processor would have required more cooling than could be fitted inside the pared down chassis.

That particular engineering challenge has now been overcome, thanks to the exceptionally low power requirements of Intel’s latest generation of laptop CPUs, the 32nm Core i3 and Core i5 series, and some clever work by ASUS’ design team. The U35 is the same depth as the UL30A, but it pack a whole lot more processing punch.

Intel's Core i3 and i5 chips come with a basic graphics processor integrated.

The Core i5 450M, one of the options for the U35, runs at a healthy 2.4GHz by default – but that’s not all. ASUS’ Super Hybrid engine intelligently increases the clockspeed in demanding applications to provide more processing power on demand. As a result, the U35 and U45 are not only much thinner than other laptops with similar components, they’ve been benchmarked as over 10% faster, too.

As if that wasn’t enough, both models also feature NVIDIA’s Optimus technology, which adds a discrete graphics processor for gaming and HD video.

As well as being light and powerful, the U35 and U45 also look great in their brushed aluminium coats and boast battery lives well into double digits – ASUS reckons you’ll get 11.5 hours on a single charge.

If we’ve whetted your appetite for thinnest, lightest and most powerful laptops the world has ever seen, the bad news is you’ll have to be a little bit patient. Tech in Style will bring you pricing and availability as soon as we find out.

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