Asus' new S101 mini laptop is a similar size to its original Eee PC and the models launched since, but rather than being aimed at the budget buyer, it's intended for those who may prize its suave good looks and supreme portability.

In common with the other netbooks doing the rounds, the Asus S101 is based around a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM, and runs Windows XP Home. This processor promises low power consumption and, by extension, long battery life.

In our MobileMark battery test, we measured 235 minutes life - that's nearly four hours of productivity from the Asus S101. In WorldBench 6 performance testing, the S101 scored 34 points, about average for a netbook with N270 Atom processor.

The keyboard has a nice, responsive action and the good-sized keys mean you are able to type accurately on the standard qwerty layout. The slightly grippy Asus keypad isn't the best we've seen, but matches the S101's glittery brown chassis.

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Asus S101: adjusting the screen

You can adjust the monitor settings beyond the Asus S101 screen's native 1024x600 to 1024x768 - at which point the taskbar is hidden below the horizon until you move the mouse downwards. You can also get a closer view of anything that's small using an onscreen magnifier.

Another potentially invaluable feature of the Asus S101 is Eee Storage. You simply drag and drop your important documents to a desktop icon to have them automatically encrypted and sent to a secure online archive.

Asus has primed the Asus S101 with 802.11n Wi-Fi. Getting online takes only a minute or so. If you prefer, you can use an ethernet connection and join a wired network; Bluetooth is another wireless option.

There's also a webcam built into the Asus S101's lid, so you can video chat with friends or colleagues. An external microphone can be plugged in on the righthand side (next to the 3.5mm headphone jack) and a USB 2.0 port. Two more USB ports are located on the lefthand side.

The other slot of note is that for SD flash memory cards. The Asus S101 comes with 16GB of storage and there's a 16GB SD card tucked away beneath the laptop hinge at the back.

Asus S101: Specs

  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home SP3
  • 10.2in (1024x600) glossy LED-backlit screen
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 16GB SSD
  • Intel 945GSE chipset
  • 802.11n wireless
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • VGA video out
  • 100BaseT ethernet
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 0.3Mp webcam
  • multi-card reader
  • 4900mAh lithium polymer battery
  • suede-effect case
  • 264x181x25mm
  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home SP3
  • 10.2in (1024x600) glossy LED-backlit screen
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 16GB SSD
  • Intel 945GSE chipset
  • 802.11n wireless
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • VGA video out
  • 100BaseT ethernet
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 0.3Mp webcam
  • multi-card reader
  • 4900mAh lithium polymer battery
  • suede-effect case
  • 264x181x25mm

OUR VERDICT

This is a strong laptop with excellent portability, great looks and some perfectly decent specifications for the £449 asking price. The Asus S101 is a good contender as a compact business laptop.

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