A funny thing has happened in the mini-laptop space over the past few years. With the success of low cost ultraportable netbooks, it seems like virtually every notebook you see with a 10 inch or smaller display is a low cost, low power machine, typically with an Intel Atom processor. But that doesn’t mean the era of the high end mini-laptop is completely over. Panasonic’s new Let’s Note R9 series mini-laptop, for instance sports a 10.4 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel display. But unlike a typical netbook, it ships with an Intel Core i7 processor.

The laptop is available with a 1.06GHz Core i7-620UM vPro CPU or a 1.2GHz Core i7-650UM vPro processor. Even the slower chip can be overclocked to run at up to 2.13GHz using Inte’s Turbo boost technology.

The notebook weighs less than 2.1 pounds and packs a 3100mAh battery which Panasonic says is good for up to 7.5 hours of run time. It has 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFI, an SDHC card slot, VGA output, and 2 USB ports, and a PC Card slot. The computer ships with Windows 7 Professional. The notebook measures 9″ x 7.4″ x 1.7″ (at the rear).

The Let’s Note R9 will only be available in Japan at launch, and it won’t come cheap. The starting price is about 180,000 yen or just under $2000 US.  The Let’s Note series will also include several 12.1 inch and 14.1 inch models.

via Redmond Pie and Netbook Choice

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13 replies on “Panasonic Let’s Note shows high-end 10 inch notebooks are alive and well”

  1. I’ve got one of the previous generation, a CF-R6 black edition from about 2 years ago, and it blows all netbooks away for small size, low weight (900g), high performance and amazing build quality. My Core2Duo @1.06GHz beats any Atom too so the Core i7 will eat them for lunch.

    Screen bezel? 8mm. Chassis is all magnesium alloy. 10.4-inch and 1024×768 is an ideal compromise between machine size, total area, dot pitch and vertical resolution. Wonderful keyboard provided you’ve not got large fingers. I can work on this machine for 2 weeks when I’m away on business.

    They’re very durable: lid will support 100kg and you can apparently drop it from 75cm when it’s turned on. Spill-proof keyboard and as I’ve got a 128GB SSD in mine there is NO moving parts and it’s 100% silent.

    Sure they’re expensive, but you get what you pay for and for me personally they’re the best laptop around.

    It’s a shame they’re only available in Japan.

    Regarding the 3100mAh battery rating – you need to compare watt-hours to compare capacity. This Panasonic uses the best Japanese LiIon cells available (3100mAh for each 18650 cell) so is probably 44.6Wh whereas the Dell Mini 9 probably has a 24.4Wh or 32Wh battery.

  2. I think this is quite comical in a way. I always seem to come back to netbook vs. laptop and what definitions are. So I’m quite interested to see what the so called experts call a 10″ computer that doesn’t have Atom. It will open the debate about an 11 or 12″ computer with Atom as a result. Can’t we just all agree that netbook = Atom and really has nothing to do with 10″ or size for that matter? It’s becoming way to obvious imo.

    I have always said that there is a market for a super powered 10-12″ computer. People will pay more so long as it has the guts to back up the price tag. It’s no longer a matter of geez I could spent an extra $200 and get a 5lb robust laptop instead of this 10″ netbook. Portability has value added especially if it’s got more under the hood. Having said that, this line will likely fail. Atom + ION is formidable in terms of price point. That is the competition and will likely keep this size of computer in the netbooks favor.

    1. So the HP Mini 2133, Gdium Liberty, NorhTec Gecko Edubook, VIA Netnote
      reference design, and other 9-10 inch mini-laptops with VIA, Xcore86, or
      Loongson processors aren’t netbooks?

      I’ve been consistent since day one: To me, a netbook is a small, light, and
      cheap laptop that runs a full desktop OS. That’s what made the original Eee
      PC different from every mini-laptop that had come before.

      If someone decided to sell a $500 10 inch, 3 pound laptop with a Core i5 CPU
      then I’d happily call it a netbook. But 12 inch models are pushing it. 4
      pound models are pushing it. And $600+ models are pushing it.

      Of course, that hasn’t prevented some PC makers from referring to their 11
      and 12 inch models with Atom processors as netbooks. But I’ve seen some
      people refer to tablets without keyboards as netbooks too. Everyone tries to
      associate their product with the hot term of the day.

      1. Let’s not forget about smartbooks. If those are 10″ why are they smartbooks and not netbooks? Processor. Sure some different aspects, but the reason you can call it a smartbook and not a netbook is because of the processor used in it.

        I’ve had similar debates with Sasha regarding this and it always, for some reason, comes down to size. I think if you have an Atom processor, the computer will be cheap. It will be light and it will be thin. Isn’t 12″ about the max that an Atom can actually power? The $1000 Sony netbook is a netbook, but it’s just a really expensive one. Atom. Price isn’t a determining factor in netbooks. If it’s got a gold plated lid but is powered with an Atom, it may be expensive, but it’s a netbook. Atom will provide that long battery life regardless if it’s 10, 11 or 12 inches. Battery life isn’t a factor because that’s just a side affect of using an Atom.

        The reality is with these Panasonics in the 10″ space and not having Atoms will cause more lingo issues. Technically these are ultrathin laptops. They deserve that title if in fact you can feel the power and speed differences from a netbook of the same size.

        Having said all this, I do agree that the hot term of the day is what many companies live for. Although, I can guarantee you that Panasonic will not use netbook with this line. Why? Because they are charging a premium price and they do not use…Atom.

        1. Smartbooks are defined by their mobile broadband connectivity and processors
          — largely because Qualcomm decided that’s the term it wanted to use for
          ARM-based systems.

          If the term takes off, Qualcomm won’t really be able to control it. But I’d
          argue that any so-called Smartbook that runs a full desktop operating system
          is also a netbook, just as a netbook is also a notebook. The terms aren’t
          always mutually exclusive. But I do think that there’s one feature that
          absolutely defines smartbooks: always-connected internet access.

          I’ve consistently declined to call the Sony Vaio P a netbook, and so has
          Sony. It doesn’t meet all the criteria. It’s small, light, but not cheap.

          Just because you’re in love with the idea that Atom=netbook doesn’t make it
          so. No matter how many times you try to make the case in the comments on
          this and other sites.

          1. At the end of the day, I guess we can all wait and see. I’m not quite as black and white about Atom = netbook but based on other criteria that I’ve seen, it makes the most sense. Debates are healthy. The people with the most online presence have the most responsibility or influence on what happens. If those people are stuck in their definitions, then that’s detrimental. Amazon seems like a #1 retailer and perhaps their criteria should also be evaluated. If they call a 12″ Atom computer a netbook, that makes sense to me. If the expert what to say no no no that’s wrong, then who is right? I’m more open to what is or isn’t than some people who have websites about the subject. I really haven’t heard a counter argument that makes sense, now that we are in 2010 and not early 2009 when there were 7-10″ netbooks on the market. Think about it, the experts out there can’t even get this straight by now? That’s my whole issue.

            Trust me, Panasonic will not associate this line of computers as “netbooks”. That is really my point. The reason they won’t is because of what’s under the hood, which dictates that they can’t price these cheaply.

          2. I also never said the Panasonic notebook was a netbook. The whole point of
            this article was that the netbook hasn’t entirely replaced the high end

            In 2006 your only option for a 10 inch or smaller notebook was a $1000+
            laptop. In late 2007 that all changed, and netbooks have been flying off the
            shelves ever since. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still demand for
            higher end machines with more powerful specs but the same level of

          3. The Vaio P isn’t a netbook and I got into a silly argument over at eeeuser with people because of that. It’s a weird hybrid between a typical UMPC like the Vaio UX, and a premium ultraportable like the Vaio TZ.

    2. Netbook != atom, as Brad stated. Adding to Brad’s netbook examples with Via and Xcore CPUs, I would argue that Viliv s5 and UMID M1 and BZ are not netbooks even though both uses atom CPUs. They are more like UMPCs of the past years.
      Hence, a computer with atom CPU is not a netbook and a netbook does not necessarily have an atom CPU.

      “I always seem to come back to netbook vs. laptop and what definitions are.”
      I think it’s better to just not strictly define netbook and accept it as the consumer-oriented replacement of the $2000+ ultraportables before 2007. Technology evolves so fast (especially the small computer segment) that it’s hard to put a definitive label on the different categories of computers.

  3. The last 2 years we saw a large number of inexpensive netbooks.
    Now it looks likes revenge,Now there are making way overpriced netbooks.
    I like the atom cpu, but how much are you willing to pay for a little more performance. It seems to me most of these high priced netbooks don’t have the high end graphics to go with them.
    I could buy at least 5 decent netooks for the price of this one.
    A 3100mAh battery? my $199. mini 9 has a 3200mAH battery.
    What gives?

    1. It’s already difficult to cram even a ULV processor into something as small as the R9. Trying to put discrete graphics into it is going to result in your laptop converting into a puddle of molten aluminum, silicon and plastic.

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