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The bottom panel of the case has quite an ascetic appearance: you can only see the removable cover of the additional battery compartment here. There are also two sliders, one of them spring-loaded, that hold the battery in place. You can take out the optical drive after undoing two screws with a characteristic marking. I think a removable optical drive is a right solution for any notebook because a mechanical device is always less reliable than an electronic one. So, if the drive fails, you can replace it with a new one that will fit into the chassis.

The holes in the bottom of the case are intended for passive cooling, so it won’t be a big problem if they are accidentally blocked (by your legs, for example, when you are holding the notebook on your laps). The rubber feet in the corners of the panel and on the battery protect the notebook’s bottom from scratches when it stands on a solid surface and also suppress vibration from the moving parts (fan, hard and optical drives).

Typically of ASUS products, there are no connectors on the front panel. You can only find the lid latch and the playback control buttons here, and that’s fine. You don’t need any cables under your hands at work, whereas listening to music with the notebook’s lid closed is quite a useful option.

The left panel carries the most interface connectors:

  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • RJ-45 LAN connector
  • RJ-11 connector of the integrated V.92 modem
  • Analog audio mini-jack connectors for headphones and microphone
  • SD card reader
  • Output for an external monitor, under a cover
  • Reset button
  • Volume control
  • Wireless network on/off switch
  • Exhaust slit of the air-cooling system

The density of the I/O ports is very high, but they are easy to work with due to their vertical placement. It’s next to impossible to block a neighboring port with an attached connector.

 
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