HP and Lenovo announce AMD Fusion notebooks

Lands somewhere between a netbook and an ultra-portable

AMDS FUSION HAS finally landed and despite some suggestions that AMD wouldn’t score any design wins with the big boys, it turns out that both HP and Lenovo are the first ones to announce products based on the new platform. We’re expecting many others to follow suit this week, least not Acer and Toshiba, as Brazos based products have already leaked from both companies.

The three machines announced so far are as different from each other as possible, considering they’re all featuring 11.6-inch screens with 1366×768 resolution. This and the fact that all three are using the AMD E-350 APU is pretty much the only thing they all have in common, ok, a few ports as well, but the designs are very different and as such target different audiences. This wasn’t entirely unexpected, but even without having tested the new hardware one thing is certain, no-one’s ever going to want a netbook again.

Let’s start with Lenovo’s consumer model, the IdeaPad S205. It supports up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, up to 750GB of hard drive space and comes with 802.11b/g/b Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, D-sub, three USB 2.0 ports, a pair of audio jacks, a memory card reader, wired Ethernet, a webcam and even optional 3G. No word on battery life as yet, but at 1.35kg (3lb) we wouldn’t expect it to ship with a super powerful battery pack. It should arrive sometime in March with Windows 7 Home Premium and is said to have a starting price of $499.99.

Next up we have the ThinkPad X120e with the same base spec as the IdeaPad S205, although Lenovo has yet to supply full specifications. The X120e differs in some ways; it adds the ThinkPad “nipple” in addition to having a touch pad and it has an anti-glare screen which is a welcome addition. The X120e is somewhat heavier at 1.4kg (3.1lb), but that includes a 6-cell battery good for 6.6h of usage according to Lenovo. In terms of connectivity the X120e also features 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G options and it has two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, D-sub, an Ethernet port, a memory card reader and a built in webcam. It will be available in black although Lenovo will also offer it in red and white on special order to enterprise and public sector customers. Oddly enough it’s expected to start at under $400 when it arrives sometime next month and appears to be a better deal than the IdeaPad S205.

HP’s Pavilion dm1 again has the same base spec, but comes with 3GB of RAM as standard and a 320GB hard drive. It also sports three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, D-sub, Gigabit Ethernet, a memory card reader, a webcam, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The 55Wh 6-cell battery should be good for up to 9.5h according to HP which seems a little bit too good to be true. The dm1 weighs in at 1.6kg (3.52lb) which is quite chunky compared to the Lenovo’s, but if the battery life holds true to HP’s claims, then the extra weight should be well worth it. The dm1 should land on the 9th of January with an MSRP of $449.99.

Overall we have to say that we’re impressed by the first lot of Brazos machines, despite the somewhat high price tags compared to what AMD said earlier on. On the upside you do get a bit more than what the average netbook offers and AMD seems to fall into a category somewhere between netbooks and ultra-portable/ultra-low power notebooks from Intel. We’d expect to see cheaper models appear as well, especially with the Ontario APU which should be priced lower than the Zacate APU.S|A


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