When it comes to laptops for students, portability and affordability are high on the list of requirements.

Education specialist RM hopes to get top marks for both with the launch of its £169 MiniBook.

RM (formerly known as Research Machines) has teamed up with Asus to create this low-cost laptop which is roughly the size of an A5 notepad. At a product showcase this morning the companies explained that the RM Asus MiniBook is aimed at students who need a laptop for communications purposes such as instant messaging and emailing as well as web-browsing and word processing. The MiniBook is also able to play videos and MP3s.

Full story on the RM Asus miniBook here

Booting up in just 15 seconds – fast enough to prevent even the most impatient child getting fed up and giving it a thump of encouragement – the RM Asus MiniBook has a 7in TFT screen and has a simple interface designed to be easy for children (and their less-than-PC-savvy parents) to find their way around.

We had a chance to have a quick play with the only model in the country at the Handheld Learning Conference today and were taken with its admirably lightweight of less than 1kg. It’s easily portable and perfect for fitting into school bags.

The miniBook includes an Intel Celeron-M ULV 900MHz processor, internal wireless 802.11g and three USB ports. The MiniBook comes in two versions: the £169 model has 256MB of RAM and a 2GB solid state hard drive, while the £199 inc VAT version comes with 512MB of RAM and a 4GB hard disk.

While the storage capacity is limited, it makes sense to include an SSD (solid state hard disk) as these flash memory-based drives have no moving parts and are therefore more suitable to the rough and tumble kids are likely to subject them to.

For the moment the miniBook will run on Linux, while Asus is looking at putting together a Windows-based model that is likely to cost around £100 more.

Both the 2GB and 4GB RM Asus MiniBooks will go onsale in the UK from the end of October.

RM Asus MiniBook

RM Asus MiniBook

RM Asus miniBook laptop

RM Asus miniBook laptop