I was able to get my hands on two very similar and current models of Asus that has the latest Intel Core i3 series processors. The Asus K42Jk-VX027R and K52Jk-SX055 have replaced the previous K40I series that put Asus back into the value-level market in laptops during the 2nd half of 2009.
Just to start off, let's list down the specs that are packed inside these models. Both of these units have identical specifications and differ only on the size and keyboard layout.
- Intel Core i3 - 350M Processor, 2.26 GHz
- Intel Mobile HM55 Chipset
- ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5145, 1G DDR3 VRAM
- 4 GB DDR3 RAM
- 500 GB HDD, 5400 rpm
- Maximum Screen Resolution of 1366 x 768, LED Backlit Screen
- Wi-Fi b/g/n. Bluetooth, LAN
- 6-cell battery
- DVD-burner, 3-in-1 Card reader, multi-touch pad
- the other usual stuff in a laptop
From my first hands-on experience, it feels solid and more robust compared to the plastic-hollow feel from its predecessor. With the rough carbon-lookalike chassis on the palm rest and solid-chiclet keyboard similar on what Sony Vaio has, it really isn't bad.
These models support Linux-distros and Windows 7 (as it only has drivers for this OS) from my experience, so don't bother trying to install an XP in this machine as I think it will be a waste on this. The latest Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid and Mint 9 Isadora works out of the box, but of course with very minor bugs. Some of which that I've encountered is the proprietary ATI drivers not working well (in fact, the default modules work better and boots faster with it), and the suspend session when the lid is closed hangs-up. Overall though, it is still good and with some reading from forum sites, you'll find some fixes and workarounds.
I do think Asus has once again created another laptop that is again reasonably priced and I think was bit ahead against other manufacturer brands. The 14" K42Jk is priced at around PHP 42,000 that already includes a Windows 7 Basic 64-bit installed, while the 15" K52Jk is at PHP 39,000 doesn't have any OS included but has numpad keys. The 15" variant I believe will have another version that comes with a Nvidia graphics chipset, which might be a good news for those who are more comfortable and loyalist on Nvidia.
If you're looking for decent laptops at this point in time, I would recommend these... but of course, other manufacturers will definitely show up with something of similar calibers as these two.