Asus Bamboo-zles IT Users With Green Notebook

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Asus plans to cut down on plastic, using versatile bamboo in its latest laptop range

PC maker Asus is hoping to cash-in on the trend for sustainable products with a new notebook which makes use of bamboo to cut down on the amount of plastic used in the device.

Asus announced the UK launch of the U33/U53 Bamboo notebook series this week. The company claims that the use of bamboo in some parts of the device’s casing and packaging means that up to 15 percent less plastic is needed. Asus is following Dell, which launched a bamboo notebook in 2009. The casing also includes aluminium, foll0wing the use of the metal in Apple’s latest MacBook range.

“The notebook exterior is encased in a natural smoky bamboo material – reducing traditional plastic use by around 15 percent and exuding organic appeal through both appearance and touch. Even the outer packaging is stylishly green; the wrapped gift box made from 100 percent recyclable bamboo materials provides a thoughtful finishing touch,” the company said in a statement.

Sustainable Pricing?

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But although the use of bamboo could be deemed as sustainable, consumers may not take the same view on the pricing with the devices pitched at users who are happy to pay more to be green. The notebooks start at £849 and range up to £899 and are available from retailers including Amazon.co.uk and PCWorld.co.uk.

Asus is not the PC maker to experiment with bamboo. Last year, Dell announced that some of its netbooks were being shipped in inner packaging made from sustainable bamboo, with plans to expand use of the fast-growing plant in its products.

 Figures from the World Wildlife Fund say an acre of bamboo is able to store 6.88 metric tons of carbon per year which works out to more than 70 percent than traditional hardwood.

Aside from the largely cosmetic use of bamboo, Asus is also keen to point out the energy efficiency tools available in its latest range. “Whilst bamboo materials keep the U33/U53 notebook green on the outside, a host of innovative features inside keep the technology
energy efficient whilst maintaining a high level of performance when
users need it most,” the company said.

Power Management

The devices include the Asus Super Hybrid Engine technology which the company says automatically manages power levels “to ensure that users have high performance when they need it most (such as when watching videos or playing games) yet don’t waste
cmuch-needed battery life when enjoying less power-hungry applications
such as email or word-processing”

Asus says the Super Hybrid Engine technology boosts performance by up to 11 percent and allows up to 10 hours of use between charges.

The device comes pre-loaded with Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 7. A version loaded with Linux may have gone down well with green tech fans some of who regard the open source approach as more sustainable as it is not tied to proprietary software upgrade plans.

Asus supported Linux with its initial netbook range but has backed away from open source. Last year, much to open source users’ disgust, it emerged that the Linux version of its Eee netbook could only be bought from Toys R US.

As well as featuring an Intel® Core™ i5-430M processor, the machine also features NVIDIA Optimus technology which Asus says monitors which applications are being used – video or word processing for example – and adjusts the graphic performance accordingly. “Traditionally users would need to do this manually, rebooting applications before the change took effect – but with the U33/U53 bamboo notebook, NVIDIA Optimus takes the hassle and complication out and makes this intelligent concept available to even novice computer users,” said Asus.

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