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New Asus netbook includes optical drive

New Asus netbook includes optical drive

The new Eee PC 1004DN is the first attempt by Asus to merge the ultraportable notebook and netbook markets.

Asus might be the first name that comes to mind when you think about netbooks, but it seems to be doing its best to kill off its Eee PC range with increasingly non-netbookish devices: enter the 1004DN, the first netbook to come with integral optical drive.

As reported over on PC Launches, the Eee PC 1004DN is a fairly standard netbook in most respects: a N280 1.66GHz processor give it a little more poke than most while avoiding the rumoured shortages and price hikes of the more popular N270, while the familiar 10” 1024x600 display gets driving by an Intel GMA 4500M graphics chip. The company has opted for a mechanical drive in this model – a svelte 1.8” 120GB PATA unit, to save space and battery life over a more common 2.5” – and has even thought to include an ExpressCard expansion slot more commonly found on full-size notebooks.

The ExpressCard slot isn't the only thing the new Eee PC has in common with its larger brethren: for reasons best known to itself, Asus has seen fit to include a “Super-Multi optical disc drive.” While an optical drive is often a necessity on a full-size laptop, it seems a trifle superfluous on a netbook designed from a perspective of leaving out as much as possible to create a still useful but primarily portable unit.

The rest of the specs – screen resolution notwithstanding – point more towards the ultraportable notebook end of the market, rather than the traditional netbook market the Eee PC range has always aimed at: 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth are both integrated, giving users a choice of wireless standards. The keyboard has been redesigned to make it more ergonomic than existing Eee PCs, and an alleged 5.9 hour battery life.

While Asus has been kind enough to reveal full specs for the 1004DN, pricing has not yet been made available: it's more than likely that this particular Eee PC will début at the top end of the range, however.

Tempted by the thought of a netbook with internal optical drive, or has Asus missed the entire point of the netbook design aesthetic it helped create with this model? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

14 Comments

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proxess 30th March 2009, 13:19 Quote
Its dead ugly.
Cupboard 30th March 2009, 13:38 Quote
I think it looks quite nice, and the optical drive would certainly be useful in some situations.
null_x86 30th March 2009, 13:57 Quote
its not bad looking... I hope they make it... How big is it? Looks a tiny bit bigger than the standard eee pc...
Any other specs aside from the Optical drive?
nicae 30th March 2009, 14:58 Quote
I keep getting surprised how they're so small.. This one is basically the size of the optical drive!
Kind of like most mp3 players that are basically the size of their batteries.. (:
pendragon 30th March 2009, 15:57 Quote
i think Asus and companies making stuff like this are forgetting what the 'netbook' market is for.. I'm sure this is going to be such a pricey device you'd probbaly be better served just buying a true 'ultraportable' laptop.
Mr T 30th March 2009, 16:20 Quote
Is that a fingerprint reader too or just a sticker? I wish someone would make a 12" netbook :(
eek 30th March 2009, 16:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr T
Is that a fingerprint reader too or just a sticker? I wish someone would make a 12" netbook :(
Some like Dell? :)
HourBeforeDawn 30th March 2009, 16:35 Quote
hmm do I go for this or the 10" touch screen when it comes.... oh the choices...
pimlicosound 30th March 2009, 16:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pendragon
i think Asus and companies making stuff like this are forgetting what the 'netbook' market is for.. I'm sure this is going to be such a pricey device you'd probbaly be better served just buying a true 'ultraportable' laptop.

I doubt this would be anywhere near as expensive as "true ultraportables", which generally sell for at least £1,000. I expect this will cost around £500, because apart from the optical drive and the new chipset, it's pretty much just the same old Eee. And there is definitely room in the market for something this size, for that price, with an optical drive and the ability to play back video smoothly.
cyrilthefish 30th March 2009, 18:42 Quote
definitely creeping into regular notebook territory there.

Bar the CPU, it's not that different to my current notebook

Guessing the main issue is going to be the price on this
nicae 30th March 2009, 19:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr T
Is that a fingerprint reader too or just a sticker? I wish someone would make a 12" netbook :(

Blame the Intel+Microsoft bullying. Once NVIDIA and VIA come out with some nice Nano+Ion2 products, based on Linux, we could see 30" netbooks with 16GBs of memory and a handful of juggling tricks to entertain your kids!

Intel and Microsoft impose limits on OEMs (such as Dell, Asus, etc.) regarding screensize, memory, graphics capabilities and so forth so they don't lose money from the pricier Core 2's, i7s and Vista machines. Something like "if you want a better machine, pay for our more expensive laptops".

That's why I'm hoping for Nano+Ion2+Linux products!
HourBeforeDawn 30th March 2009, 22:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr T
Is that a fingerprint reader too or just a sticker? I wish someone would make a 12" netbook :(

then its not a netbook, its a laptop ;)
Timmy_the_tortoise 31st March 2009, 02:29 Quote
Isn't the whole point of a netbook to perform basic functions, like web-browsing, word processing etc? Adding all these new features just seems to be steering away from the whole idea of what a netbook is. Not to mention the fact that it'll add to the potential cost of the machine, something which is supposed to be low in the netbook market.
5las5man 5th April 2009, 21:44 Quote
Anyone got any idea when this is likely to be available?
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