Notebooks powered by Intel's second-generation Core processors are slowly but surely making their way to market, and during a local event that took place recently, we got to play with one of Asus most interesting Sandy Bridge creations, the 13.3-inch U30S.The notebook is a direct descendant of the current U30Jc model and it uses the same brushed aluminum chassis that is slightly larger than most other 13-inchers out there, as the machine comes pre-equipped with a DVD drive.
However, the U30S appears to be pretty well built and its keyboard is one of the nicest available on budget notebooks, although I would most certainly liked to see Asus use a slightly larger left Shift key as well as a non-unified touchpad button bar.
Moving to the inside of the U30S, the notebook features some pretty powerful specs for a 13.3-inch model as it pairs together an Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5-2410M processor, which features dual processing cores and works at 2.3GHz, with 8GB of DDR3 memory and a Nvidia built GeForce GT 520 dedicated graphics card with Optimus support.
The rest of the system specs include a 500GB 7200RPM hard-drive, Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth 3.0 and Gigabit LAN connectivity, VGA and HDMI video outputs as well as an 8-cell 5600 mAh 84Wh battery. Asus estimates that the U30S can run up to six hours without requiring a recharge.
Sadly, eSATA and USB 3.0 are missing from the features list, so users have to rely on the three USB 2.0 slots available for connecting their external storage drives to the U30S.
Price wise, Asus' notebook is expected to come under the €1000 mark, including tax, fully kitted out with the same 8GB of RAM and 500GB 7,200RPM hard drive as the unit pictured above. The model should become available in the next few weeks.