With a black piano finish and a leather wrist rest, the Asus U3 joins the Apple MacBook and the Sony VAIO SZ in the ranks of sleek-looking 13.3-inch laptops. Like the others, the U3's 13.3-inch display size definitely hits a sweet spot between portability and usability; its 3.9-pound weight (granted, that's with the tiny three-cell battery) straddles the line between ultraportable and thin-and-light. The screen is large enough for watching movies or to comfortably make it through a workday without squinting.
The Asus U3 incorporates a boatload of professional-level upgrades, including Intel Turbo Memory, 3G wireless, and integrated GPS options, plus a fingerprint scanner and Trusted Platform Module for security. It all runs on Intel's latest Core 2 Duo processors and the Intel GM965 chipset, plus a 128MB Nvidia GeForce 8400M graphics card and a single memory slot for up to 2560MB of RAM. There's even an HDMI-out port.
What it doesn't have: an integrated optical drive. To read and burn discs you'll have to use the (included) external drive. It also doesn't have an official price or availability date, though Laptoping.com, where we spotted this news, cites unofficial reports of a $2,000 price tag and a September ship date.