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ASUS U2E 11" Ultra-mobile Notebook Review - In a class of its own

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Asus
Tagged:

Exterior Design and Features

Last week I posted up a quick unboxing article of the ASUS U2E and the response was actually pretty surprising - it turns out there are a LOT of readers interested in this particular machine.  After using it for several days I can pretty much assure you that the sexiness

The ASUS U2E will come with a nice case like the one above, but made with black suede rather than the brown color our early sample.

The U2E is definitely a looker and pretty much anyone that has seen shots like this of the notebook are impressed by how it looks.  The back of the LCD that you are seeing here is black leather with an embossed ASUS logo on it.  The hinge is a brushed aluminum.

The bottom of the U2E is not very accessible - the incredibly compact design of the hardware inside the system makes getting to it easily pretty difficult.  In fact, the optical drive on it takes up nearly half of the area where the motherboard would normally sit. 

Lifting up the LCD panel reveals the entirety of the ASUS U2E in all its leather-y glory.  Just as we saw recently with the U6S review last week, the bezel around the LCD monitor is a bit wider than we expected in such a small notebook and I can't help but wonder why they wouldn't have used that space to install a bit larger LCD screen. 

Turning the machine to the side shows off the slender LCD panel courtesy of the LED back-lighting that also gives it an excellent image quality.

Looking at the right hand side of the U2E we see the AC power connection near the rear hinge and then, moving forward, a standard VGA output, WiFi on/off switch, two USB ports, an HDMI connection, mic and headphone jack and a mini Express card slot.

The right hand side sports the optical drive - you can see how much space it takes up in the design.  After that there is another USB port, a Gigabit networking connection and a modem connection (!!). 

Also like the ASUS U6S, the U2E doesn't have room for much behind it once the battery width is taken into consideration.

Up front, on the left hand side, is a memory card reader that supports SD, MMC and MS Pro cards.  The right side has the slots for the single mono speaker.

The keyboard is actually pretty impressive considering its small size; the keyboard is very tactile and doesn't flex under normal typing as I have seen on so many ultra-mobile machines.  Because of the small width, the keys are a bit smaller than those on the ASUS U6S and there aren't any dedicated Page Up/Down keys that I personally prefer; just another sacrifice of the small size.

The touch pad on the U2E is very similar to other ASUS notebooks in that it is finished with a brushed metal look and feel.  I definitely like the buttons on this touch pad when compared to the U6S as they "click" in all areas like the most other notebook buttons.  The one downside I found on them is that they are a magnet for finger prints with their mirrored-type paint finish. 
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