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Thursday, 13 November 2008 11:59

ASUS brings Bamboo casings to life in notebook

Previewed a while ago at trade shows, the largely (but not entirely) bamboo clad Asus notebook doesn’t come cheap, but shows off your environmental cred and ability to afford it. As a Core 2 Duo notebook, it’s no mere netbook, and is guaranteed to get attention.

Bamboo – parts of which are the favourite food of panda bears and red pandas – has been previewed several times as an environmentally friendly casing for portable and desktop computers, and has finally arrived in Australia thanks to Asus.

Given that bamboo grows like a weed and is incredibly abundant, you might think that using bamboo would result in a cheaper computer, but given the AUD $3499 price of the Asus Bamoo U6V-2P048G notebook, this doesn’t appear to be the case – or at least, not yet.

After all, no other notebook available in Australia at least (that I’m aware of) comes with bamboo or looks as striking, and given that fashion and technology have been bedfellows especially in the 21st century thus far, those who want to look unique (until more bamboo clad models from competitors appear or they come across someone else with the same model) now have the opportunity before them.

Alternatively, Asus describes it as being “style conscious with a conscience, cleverly blending ecology and technology that is fashion friendly”.

They also say that you can “embrace the earth in pure digital harmony” with a matchless marvel that offers “uncompromised elegance”, “superior performance” and “enhances environmental awareness”.

Which goes to show just how important it is to have someone in marketing to match any technological and environmental prowess!

More cuddly panda-like marketing explains that the “distinctive Moso bamboo panelling evokes a charming warmth and a cybernetic closeness to nature”.

We’re told that the Bamboo is recyclable bamboo that is “light, durable and renewable”, and that “from foundation to finish, the Bamboo notebook blends customary and contemporary components.”

The almost Palin-esque cutesiness continues with the description that each Bamboo Series notebook is “a cutting edge creation that incorporates innate, ornate aesthetics” and is “organically unique, radiating a divine spirituality – providing powerhouse computing in a polished package, moving environline.”

And in a touch that would make Al Gore proud, Asus reminds us that “with the threat of climate change at the world’s doorstep, ASUS is turning the focus, cleverly blending ecology and technology that is fashion friendly – playing an important part as an active participant in the worldwide effort to protect the environment.”

Asus Bamboo Notebook
Asus Bamboo Notebook - first of four photos

So, now that we know how spiritually satisfying, environmentally friendly and cosmically cool the Bamboo casing is and you will feel when buying one, what exactly is under the Bamboo’s fibrous hood?

All is revealed on page 2 where our divinely digital journey continues, and more Bamboo notebook photos await...

Importantly, the Bamboo’s looks come with some solid power and storage behind it, ensuring this Asus is no mere netbook, but a powerful Core 2 Duo notebook that should blast through most computing needs with ease.

Asus advise that the Bamboo comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 processor running at 2.53GHz, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive and Vista Ultimate.

Also included is Asus’ own “Super Hybrid Engine” battery power saving software which “preserves power internally by intelligently monitoring component power requirements and automatically adjusting to meet current consumption needs – thus optimising system performance and energy efficiency.”

The 12.1-inch LED-backlit WXGA widescreen LCD provides the view into the bamboo clad digital nirvana, NVIDIA graphics power that view, while 802.11 a/g/n wireless and gigabit Ethernet yanks your conscious back to the physical plane where you can interact with the modern world.

Only an 0.3 megapixel camera is included – a 1.3 or even 2 megapixel camera would have been better at the price, while other features include “fingerprint authentication and TPM security.”

Two batteries are included – a 3 cell and a 6 cell, something that’s interesting – I can’t remember a notebook ever coming with a second battery as a standard feature, and this could well become a standard feature at least for high end notebooks as one extra point of difference between brands.

The exact specifications are as follows:

- Intel Core 2 Duo (T9400 2.53Ghz, 1066MHz FSB, 6MB L2 Cache)

- Windows Vista Ultimate

- 4GB RAM (2 x DDR2 800 modules)

- 12.1-inch WXGA LED-lit LCD screen

- Intel PM45 chipset

- NVIDIA G9300M GS graphics card with 256MB RAM

- Bluetooth and 802.11 a/g/n

- 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet

- DVD/RW S-Multi drive

- 320GB 5400 SATA hard drive

- 3xUSB 2.0, 1xe-SATA, Express Card, VGA Port, Headphone/SPIDIF Out, Mic in, LAN, Modem,
WLAN swtich, HDMI Port

- Two batteries – a 3 and 6 cell battery (3cell Li-Ion 2400mAh, 6cell Li-Ion 4800mAh)

- Notebook Bag and Mouse

- DM / Weight    300 x 220 x 25.3~31.6mm, 1.57kg with 3-cell battery

Available in December 2008, the recommended retail price is AUD $3,499.

Asus Bamboo Notebook
Asus Bamboo Notebook - second of four photos

Asus Bamboo Notebook
Asus Bamboo Notebook - third of four photos

Asus Bamboo Notebook
Asus Bamboo Notebook - last photo



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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.




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