CES 2008 -- Part 3

CES 2008 -- Part 3

David's been sending us news from CES on advances on the biometric security front, and all the fun of gaming in a laptop sized, er, laptop.

We were lucky enough to get a tour of the Asus stand from Emmanuel Silanesu, the company’s Notebook Product Manager, and Asus’ Managing Director, Ted Chen. Both were very excited to finally make it to CES, and make proper contact with their very large US market. Ted and Emmanuel took us through all the new and upcoming products on display. Here’s what caught our fancy.

First car away, as it were, was the new Asus-Lamborghini VX3 Notebook. This luxurious bull yellow laptop stands as a defiant answer to Acer's Ferrari laptop, and a mighty answer it is, too. The Lamborghini VX3 is a leather and gold accented ultraportable laptop, powered by a Santa Rosa refresh Core 2 Duo. We can see this gracing many handbags and briefcases of the ultrarich.

The VX2Sn is the next model up in the Lamborghini range, a full sized machine with souped up graphics to match: a 15.1” 1080p screen powered by a Geforce 9500 chip.

Two laptops from the Stylebook range were on show, the U6S and the U6E. Both sport all the usual bells and whistles you’d expect in an ultralight model, with added security in the form of Asus’ SmartLogon technology. This allows the laptop’s webcam to accurately pick up and recognise the face of its user; and when matched with a fingerprint reader, passwords become a thing of the past. The technology works wonderfully, and was able to pick faces out of a crowd of a half-dozen viewers with ease.

What’s more, if someone without authorisation attempts to access the machine, the webcam automatically takes a picture of them.

click to view full size image
3D Mark and facial recognition security together at last.

But it’s not all about portability and security – Asus has some other aces up its sleeve too.

The G2Sg notebook is the latest iteration of Asus’ gaming range. It features a Geforce 8700M GT in an SLI setup, extra RAM sockets to boost the machine up to 4GB instead of 2GB, four speakers and a subwoofer – powered by Dolby Digital Live – and comes with a matching backpack. It’s a sleek unit, surprisingly light for its power, and one that any serious gamer would be happy play with.

Serious entertainers, or at least those looking for serious entertainment, would be happier to play with the M50 multimedia notebook. Complete with TV tuner, Geforce 8600M GT, 15.1” screen and AV controls embedded in the touchpad, this is a machine that takes movies and music seriously. It’s also Dolby Home Theatre certified.

It wasn’t all laptops and leather trim, though. Asus also had a couple of new monitors on show. The 22in PG221U is a gamer’s dream, boasting a 2ms response time and built in speakers and subwoofer. The 20in LS2210 is a slimmer model, and features 9H protective glass to keep the screen safe from errant hands (and flying Wii-motes, as noted by one onlooker). It’s strong enough that the Managing Director insisted on giving us a metal pen and telling us to go to work on it. Try as we might, we couldn’t scratch it. Impressive.

A number of GPS units were on offer, and we were particularly impressed with the R600. It sports a 4.3in display and combines the features a personal navigation device, video player, MP3 player and photo viewer, while being able to dial out and answer your phone via Bluetooth 2.0. And it’s slim enough to easily fit in a pocket.

Finally, we really fell in love with the Asus Air, an award winning internet radio. Complete with retro wood grain styling, the Air (Asus Internet Radio, in case you don’t get it) can tune into 10,000 preset internet radio stations via 802.11b/g wireless connection. You can scan stations by country or genre, and after buffering for a few seconds, the radio plays seamlessly.

<1920's announcer>The wireless set is going from strength to strength, with the help of new-fangled tubes.</1920's>
<1920's announcer>The wireless set is going from strength to strength, with the help of new-fangled internet tubes.

All of these products and more are in the pipeline for immediate release, or release within the quarter. Also announced, but not on display, was the highly anticipated revision of the eeePC, with a bigger 8.9” screen. Wimax is also expected to be standard on the next version. No dates as yet, however. But we can say that the current eeePC is still great, and even better in its newest range of colours.

See more about:  ces  |  2008  |  consumer  |  electronics  |  show

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