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Asus N10 notebook-not-netbook

Best of both worlds - or the worst?

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But it's a nice-looking, bright screen nonetheless, and one that, while glossy, isn't overly reflective. And it's no slouch - no mere integrated graphics for the N10 but a full GPU: Nvidia's GeForce 9300M GS with 256MB of video memory. There's 2GB of regular DDR 2 memory on board too.

Asus N10

The N10 sports a bright, clear display

The keyboard's nice too, with decent-sized keys and a solidity absent from Asus' smaller Eee PC netbooks. But it's the trackpad that's the stand-out feature: as smooth as the proverbial baby's behind, fingertips positively glide across it, making it the first trackpad ever that would persuade us to leave our mouse at home.

It's a Synaptics pad and so has plenty of personalisation options, including virtual scrolling. The only thing it lacks is multi-touch, which is surprising since that's a feature of the Eee PC 901 and 1000.

Like those Eee PCs, the N10 offers a set of performance modes, here named Entertainment, Quiet Office, Battery Saving and High Performance. The first two allow the CPU to adjust its maximum frequency dynamically, between 1GHz and 1.6GHz, and 800-1GHz, respectively. Battery Saving underclocks it to 800MHz. High Performance mode sets it at 1.6GHz.

Asus N10

Plenty of ports - plus ExpressCard

The N10 incorporates a 160GB hard drive for storage, and that plus the GPU give the Atom the lift it needs to run Vista. The operating system itself rates the N10 with an Vista Experience score of 3.0, with scores of 3.0, 4.5, 5.9, 4.6 and 5.5 for the CPU, memory, desktop graphics, gaming graphics and HDD, respectively.

Apart from the processor scores, those are largely better numbers than Dell's Core 2 Duo and DDR 3-based Latitude E6400 notebook produced: 5.2, 5.9, 4.1, 3.8 and 5.2, for an overall rating of 3.8. The N10 doesn't fare as badly as we might have thought.

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