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The fashionable tendency to miniaturization often leads to sacrifices in terms of performance, functionality or ergonomics. So, notebooks, being much alike to desktop PCs but smaller, can’t compete with them in performance yet. However, the developers are driving for an even higher level of miniaturization.

Does this mean we’re up to more sacrificing? I hope this review will help to answer this question. Portable computers S200N and S300N from ASUS that I will be talking about belong to the class of sub-notebooks, super-light systems with a small screen and small keys and a highest battery run-down time.

Design and Ergonomics

So, sub-notebook means small, slim and such and the two reviewed devices fit into this definition well: the dimensions of the S200N are 228x152x28mm, of the S300N – 235x177x32mm. The case of the S200N is light-gray with a black bottom; the S300N is all silvery-blue with black insertions. These two computers look like some small books. This simile is emphasized by the S300N’s having angular rather than rounded corners. The design is overall elegant and exquisite.

To open the lids of the sub-notebooks, you lift the latch on their front panels up. The latch is rather unhandy, especially for women – you can accidentally spoil your manicure or even break your nails.

The notebooks are different inside:


ASUS S200N

       
ASUS S300N

The ASUS S200N has a rectangular power-on button near the screen hinges, above the black keyboard. The keyboard is smaller than usual, but still quite easy to use. Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys are combined with the arrow keys and, like the functional keys, are available when you press them with the [Fn] button. There’re numerical buttons as well as two Windows keys available.

The ASUS S200N offers you a TrackPoint instead of the ordinary mouse. It is realized as a small joystick, located between the second and third rows of keys, and three buttons (two replace the mouse’s buttons and scrolling wheel). It’s not as easy to work with the TrackPoint as with a touch pad, but one can get used to anything with practice :).

There are two stereo speakers at the sides of the cursor keys – it is not the best position as you cover them with your hands when typing text on the keyboard, but it’s really difficult to find a proper place for the speakers on the surface of so small a computer.

 
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