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Asus debuting family of thin, light laptops

Taiwanese company to release new line of thin, light laptops. New UL, or UnLimited, family includes four notebooks, each less than one inch thick.

Asus is the latest PC maker to hit the market with its own line of thin, light laptops.

The Taiwanese company revealed its new family of notebooks at a news conference in Taipei on Monday. The ASUS UnLimited, or UL, laptops measure less than 24.5 millimeters (one inch) thick and weigh anywhere from 3.3 to 4.6 pounds, depending on the model.

Asus boasts that the laptops can deliver up to 12 hours of life on a single battery charge. Users can switch video mode from the dedicated NVIDIA graphics card to the integrated graphics to save battery life. The Power4Gear feature also lets people choose different power profiles and even turn off certain devices to conserve energy.

To further boost battery life, some of the models can hold an eight-cell battery versus the smaller six-cell. But the more robust battery also adds weight to the laptop.

"We hope to make this the new standard in notebook computers, thin and light with long battery life," said Asus CEO Jerry Shen at the news conference.

Asus' Web page promoting the UL family shows seven different models, from the 12.1-inch UL20A to the 15.6-inch UL50VG. As a contrast, the UL20A comes without an optical drive and can hold up to 4GB of memory, while the UL50Vg includes a DVD Super Multi drive for reading and writing to CDs and DVDs and can handle up to 8GB of RAM.

Retail prices for the Taiwanese market announced at the news conference ranged from $980 for the UL20A and $1,043 for the 13.3-inch UL30A to $1,074 for the 14.1-inch UL80VT, and $1,105 for the UL50Vg. Actual prices will depend on the configuration, as users can choose the Windows version, processor speed, hard disk size, and amount of memory.

Asustek's new line of thin, light laptops
Asus' new line of thin, light laptops Asus

Asus said the new UnLimited lineup will hit the stores on September 22.

Asus is just the latest PC maker to follow in the footsteps of Apple's MacBook Air by offering consumers thin, light notebooks with long-lasting batteries.

Last week Samsung announced its new ultrathin X3 notebook with claims of a nine-hour battery.

Around the same time, Dell tantalized users with a glimpse of its upcoming Adamo laptop, only 9.99 millimeters (0.4 inches) thick, while Sony announced a new Vaio X series, also less than half an inch thick and weighing 1.5 pounds.