ASUS Netbook N10J with Vista 

This uses the same processor as other Netbooks, it does have decent graphics a good sized hard disc and 2GB or RAM however I am not convinced that it has enough punch to run the memory hungry Vista especially with the Norton software supplied.

It is 27.5x21x3cm mainly black with the keyboard surround in grey and silver. It looks smart. Of course the original idea of a Netbook was to give basic email, web access and word processing ability at a cheap price.

The right side has PC Express slot, Headphone and Microphone sockets, a USB port, VGA outlet, Ethernet port and A/C input point. The rear has nothing apart from the battery that protrudes around 1.5cm from it along the whole length apart from the last 3cm each end. The left side has two more USB ports, an HDMI out socket and a switch to turn wireless on/off. The front has four pin hole LED’s.

Open the lid to reveal the 84 key keyboard, 34 keys have an extra function using the ‘FN’ key. The alpha and numeric keys are full size. The 7cm area in front of the keyboard has the 7x5.5cm trackpad mounted just left of centre. Behind the keyboard there are three silvered buttons and three LED’s.

First switch on was around 90seconds but then it opened the supplied trial copy of Norton Suite that cannot be closed it has to be installed, not even a ‘three finger salute’ will close it. I have no doubt after the forty minutes of updates it could be uninstalled but as it forced I endured it. Subsequent boots took 213seconds. The shutdown is around 30 seconds. I have no doubt that this system would fly with Windows XP especially if the Norton Suite were uninstalled. Of course you would need to install the security/anti virus etc of your choice.

The other ‘free’ software supplied is a 90 day version of Microsoft Office. The copy of Vista supplied is Vista Business and certain essentials such as various games are there but not installed by default.

The Atom processor is fine for a standard Netbook under Linux or XP but here it drags down the ‘Experience’ to a modest 3.0 The full figures are Processor 3.0, RAM 4.5, Graphics 5.9, Gaming Graphics 4.7 and Hard disc 5.4 A faster processor would make this a very powerful tiny notebook.

The 22.4x13cm screen is 10.2 inches diagonally and the display is 1024x600. Battery life can be up to around four hours should you not use the Internet and lessen the Brightness/Contrast. However for those wanting to watch a DVD or three connect the supplied USB DVD rewriter and you should be able to watch a DVD on battery power.

One of the items I reviewed while I had this was the Veho Record Deck (reviewed this week) and I spent a good deal of time in the Audacity software that comes with it. I tried a powerful photo manipulation package for which the 1.6GHz process is less than entry level and 2GB is minimum it ran but it was working very hard and no doubt if you working on a complex piece of work you would not be satisfied. However the Atom processor was never designed for such tasks.

For Word Processing or Spreadsheet work it is fine as it is for email or for Internet use but of course the lack of depth of the screen means a lot more scrolling. At 1600grams it is substansially heavier than other such devices but it is a lot more solidly built.

If this was mine the first thing I would do is take Norton off. Anyone out and about does not want to wait over three minutes before they can do anything. Second I would try to get it with XP as I think the overhead of Vista is too much for the 1.6GHz Atom processor. Apart from that I think it looks great has good graphics, reasonable battery life and works well with both Ethernet and Wireless. Good DVD rewriter unit is supplied.

Now and only now do I look for adverts and availability firstly to see if I have missed any features and secondly to find the best price. The £484.85 for the Asus Netbook N10J from the first link below seems one of the only links currently available, certainly not cheap and I do not know if it is available with XP.

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