Now Released: ASUS VivoBook S500 Ultrabook

The laptop has a screen of 15.6 inches, an Ivy Bridge CPU and hybrid storage

Citizens of North America can be glad to hear that a new ultrabook is now up for sale in the region, one that actually doesn't cost all that much, not in its most basic form at least.

Indeed, the VivoBook S500, as the company calls it, has a starting price of $699, which will likely become 699 Euro on the Old Continent.

In other words, ultrabooks have finally reached that “sweet spot” that they've been dragging themselves towards for the past two years.

The newcomer has a 15.6-inch LCD with a native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels (HD).

The heart of the system is an Intel third-generation Core-series CPU (central processing unit), namely the 1.7 GHz Core i5-3317U.

Up to 6 GB of RAM can be installed, along with two storage units: a 500 GB hard disk drive and a 24 GB SSD, for both speed and capacity.

ASUS says that an NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M discrete graphics adapter can be added to the mix for the right extra cost, but the configurations available from American retailers don't offer it, so customers will have to settle for the Intel HD 4000 (included in the CPU).

All the hardware is crammed in a very thin frame, otherwise ASUS VivoBook S500 would not be called an ultrabook.

As for input, a multi-point touch panel is part of the screen, but there is a larger than usual touch pad as well. ASUS Smart Gesture technology is incorporated.

Finally, the company tossed in True 2-second instant on resume from sleep mode, which instantly wakes Windows 8. The energy-conserving properties of the idle mode allow the laptop to run in standby for two weeks.

TigerDirect, Adorama, B&H, Amazon, and NCIX are among the American retailers who have the newcomer up for sale.

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