When choosing a notebook computer some people put store on comparing how different machines look. Usually the choices here boil down to selecting between colour schemes, rounded versus non-rounded corners, how the status lights are implemented and what the keyboard looks like. There are plenty of twists and turns, but nothing that really makes one notebook look hugely different from the rest.
Well, that changes with Asus’s Bamboo notebook.
This notebook has a lid and wrist rest made from bamboo. And the look is startlingly different. The mid-brown colouring of the lid section causes it to camouflage on wooden desks, while the overall appearance is less of a computer and more of a piece of furniture. You will either love it or hate it, so taking a look at the real thing before making a buying decision might be advisable.
Asus claims the use of bamboo is part of its commitment to being environmentally friendly. The material is renewable/degradable whereas the plastics and metals used in notebook chassis parts are sometimes not, and Asus clearly believes the material is hardwearing. We certainly didn’t feel that it was likely to break, spilt or otherwise fall apart, but only extended use will really tell whether the bamboo is up to taking the knocks of everyday life.
Under the bonnet this is a fairly standard notebook. It comes with two battery options; a 3-cell and a 6-cell version. The larger battery protrudes slightly from the back of the casing but delivers longer life. The notebook weighs 1.57kg with the smaller battery in place, a little more with the larger one fitted. It has a 12.1-inch, 1280 x 800 resolution screen and overall it measures 300 x 220 x 31mm.
The keyboard exhibits a little flex which heavy-handed typists might find annoying. It is large enough for fast typing, though. A fingerprint scanner located on the wrist rest provides for security and there is a 0.3-megapixel webcam sitting above the screen for video-conferencing.
The Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 processor and 4GB of RAM are plenty to keep the Bamboo running smoothly, and it has a 320GB hard drive. Wi-Fi stretches to Draft-N and there is Gigabit Ethernet.
There is an optical drive and a card reader that can cope with both SD and MemoryStick compatible formats. There are three USB 2.0 connectors, plus an eSATA port and an HDMI port. An ExpressCard slot sits on the left edge. There is also an external monitor connector and a modem connector.
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