New Asus netbook includes optical drive

March 30, 2009 // 12:32 p.m.

Tags: #1004dn #asus #eee #eee-pc #eee-pc-1004dn #expresscard #netbook #notebook #ultraportable

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.

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