Bit-Tech: The Bamboo Collection notebook PC series from ASUS wants to excite the green in us. Bamboo is lighter than metals such as aluminum and is warmer to the touch. Even after a lot of use the bamboo should look just as new. With bamboo panels that are thicker than previous versions the U-series notebooks just might be the green notebook we’ve been waiting for. Unfortunately underneath the bamboo panels are run-of-the-mill plastics protecting energy-hungry Core i5 CPUs, NVIDIA’s GeForce 310M with 1GB and NVIDIA’s Optimus technology that automatically switches GPU power. Battery life is estimated at 11 hours. The Bamboo Collection will go for NT$40,000 (about US$1,300) in Taiwan. The U-series will come in three sizes: 13- (U33Jc), 14- (U43Jc), and 15.6-inch (U53Jc).
I am fairly certain that an entire notebook PC chassis can be made of bamboo composites that offer enough reliability and durability comparable to regular plastics. I can imagine the keys on the keyboard made of bamboo composites too. With a name like Bamboo Collection do you really need all that power of an i5-450M? May I suggest something a bit greener with an i3 or a Celeron. ASUS claims 100% recyclability, but I don’t think it is, thanks to the plastics, the LCD, the battery, etc. The LCD is probably LED backlit but I would have recommended Pixel Qi’s 3qi display technology (read Pixel Qi 3qi Display: Full Color and ePaper in One) to maximize power savings/minimize power consumption. The 500GB hard drive is also disappointing as a SSD would have been a greener alternative.
There is a big difference between furniture made of solid wood and of wood veneer: one is desired, the other is purchased for the low price. The Bamboo Collection from ASUS is bamboo only in name, except for the little portion of the notebook, and is far from green as non-recyclable plastics can be. And it isn’t even low-priced. I am certain there is a place for greener notebooks using not only greener technology but actual green materials like bamboo but the Bamboo Collection by ASUS is far from green in so many ways.