The ASUS N10 is a 10.2-inch widescreen notebook featuring an Nvidia 9300m GS graphics card. Based on the Intel Atom chipset, the N10 is technically a netbook, but ASUS claims the N10 is a notebook due to its large keyboard, track pad and power. Dropping the Eee PC tag was the first step but does this netbook deserve to be called an ultra-portable notebook?
Aimed at the business sector, the ASUS N10 comes in a sleek light gold color and can be bought through a retailer or reseller. Buying it from a retailer will limit your choices as upgrading memory and/or hard drives or any other component will void the warranty. Buying through an reseller may let your configure components such as the memory and hard drive. It is just as customizable as any other netbook.
For this review I will be reviewing the ASUS N10JC. It was purchased at Yodobashi Camera Akihabara (retail) in Japan for \64800 ($706). Prices will vary depending on retailers and reseller.
Build and Design
The N10 shouts class. Like a drop top Phantom it demands attention while providing tranquility and comfort. The champagne gold has sparkle and shine which is accented by a chrome-looking hinge area and touchpad buttons. The gold follows suit with the black bezel with a high-gloss design which is a magnet for dust and fingerprints. The blue status lights are a bit off during the day but when dark out they give the notebook a gaming edge.
The N10 feels solid like a small notebook should. It can be held by one hand though it is heavier, bigger and thicker than a traditional netbook. The chassis is composed completely of plastic.
Bottom to top: Vostro 1500, Asus N10,
Casio EX-word XD-SP6700, Sharp 922SH
15.4”, 10.2”, 4.9”, and 3.5” Screens
The screen when twisted does flex but is easily in the acceptable range and does beat out many notebooks. A downside is the N10 was designed without a latch to keep the lid closed. The hinges feel like they move a little too easily but at the end of the day unless shaken vigorously the screen holds the angle you set it at.
Like a business notebook the battery sticks out the back rather than underneath like other 10.2 inch notebooks. Nevertheless the major upset for me in the build quality was the battery. When I had opened the notebook from its packaging the battery had been chipped and taped up by the factory. I received a replacement and learned how it could have been chipped during shipping even while packed protectively. After receiving the replacement battery I had dented it with my hand. Yes, by grabbing the battery I had dented it. I am a strong guy but I should not be able to dent a notebook battery with my hand. I have honestly never seen such poor plastic on a PC component that is so essential to the notebook. I lack the words to describe how disappointed I am in the build of the battery.
The glossy 10.2” WSVGA LED backlit screen reflects like a mirror. Unlike many netbooks ASUS decided to go with a glossy screen. For outdoor use it is generally recommended to have an antiglare screen in order to view the screen. The backlighting on the screen can become ridiculously bright. I have no troubles using the notebook in direct sunlight without having to boost to maximum brightness. There is some reflection due to the gloss but if you do not get headaches from the reflections of glossy screens in general it should not be a major issue. For general use at home I recommend you turn the brightness down, otherwise the colors begin to wash out.
I personally found the screen to lack vividness. I feel the color is a bit dull and lacks liveliness. When ASUS decided to market the N10 as a notebook one would expect they would offer a higher resolution choice but the limiting WSVGA resolution may make some web pages hard to view and multi-tasking virtually impossible.
The N10 features a pair of Altec Lansing speakers. The sound was not exactly what I had expected: quiet maximum volume, lack of crispness, bass, and energy. They are not terrible by any means but display that this notebook is intended to be portable. In short if you care about quality, headphones are a must.
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