One of the more surprising products to come down the pike of late has been the Asus EEE PC. Here are the basic specs:
- Intel Celeron M ULV 900 MHz processor
- Storage: 4 GB of flash-based storage (solid state)
- RAM: 512 MB
- Screen: 7 inches, 800×480, with speakers on both sides
- Ports: 3 USB, 1 VGA out, headphone/mic, SD card reader, Ethernet
- Extras: 0.3 MP webcam, 802.11 b/g wireless
Thats’s almost a perfect distillation of the most-used hardware features. Note that there’s no hard drive, just a 4GB SSD disk. That cuts down on power and weight, at the obvious expense of storage capacity (but 4GB is plenty for basic office documents and such. You can’t expect to drop your Picasa or iTunes folders on here).
The software stack is also strong – Asus worked with Xandros for a customized distribution and window interface, that comes preloaded with a very well-thought out list of preloaded apps, grouped into tabbed categories: Internet, Work, Learn, and Play (and Settings). The apps include Skype, Firefox, a universal Messenger client, Open Office, a media player, and shortcuts to Wikipedia and Youtube. If this isn’t enough, Asus does plan to introduce a Windows version in 2008 (presumably at a higher price point).
The review at Notebook Review was gushing:
In the end, the Eee PC is the single most impressive notebook we’ve seen priced below $400. The technical specs might look sub par, but the usability and overall performance of the Eee PC rivals notebooks costing several thousand dollars more. Granted, you can’t install Photoshop on this little notebook and you can forget about playing Bioshock on this thing, but the Eee PC can do just about everything you â€œneedâ€ to do with a notebook while on the go.
As it stands now, the Eee PC is a truly impressive ultraportable with a value much higher than the sale price suggests. The Eee PC can’t replace a full-featured desktop or notebook, but it makes the perfect choice if you are in the market for an ultraportable notebook for school, work, or vacation.
Note however that with three USB ports (more than I have on my Thinkpad T42, note) you can basically extend the machine’s capability in true flex computing fashion. In fact it makes sense for the PC to be as”light” as possible in a flex computing environment; just add a external graphics card, disk drive, DVD player, and a few other bells and whistles and you’ve got a complete workstation.
The bottom line is that this little PC pretty much suffices for the vast majority of casual users who need a PC for travel, wireless internet access, basic office work, and managing media. And it’s tiny (2lbs) and cheap: $399 retail at Best Buy or online at New Egg.
4 thoughts on “Asus EEE PC”
The only thing that gives me pause about this is the 800×480 resolution. If there was a way to do this with a 1024 wide resolution, I think it’d be much better (even if it had to become a little bigger and heavier to accomodate that resolution). One of the primary things I’d use it for is the web, and while a lot of sites look fine at 800, many do not… But still, this thing is pretty neat.
I think that I’d prefer a 1024 width myself, but my daughter’s PC runs at 800 (mostly bec the kidie games are flash-based and always want to temp. set the res to 800 anyway) and to be honest i’ve never had a problem on any site. I think 800 is probably the default minimum width for most pages.
if yo go the flex computing route of course you can just plug in an external lcd and the issue is moot. i dunno what the max supported res is on the internal graphics.
I’ve been watching the Eee PC with interest. It’s the sort of machine I’m interested in at a price point I like. I recently bought a friend’s used HP laptop so Mission Control could play WoW on the road, but I think it’s too large, hot, and noisy; it also doesn’t last very long without an umbilical plugged into a current bush.
The 800×480 resolution doesn’t bug me; the screen is small enough that 1024×768 might be *too* small. Sure, 1024×768 would be nice for Tek4010 emulation, but I don’t do a *lot* of that.
I am a bit concerned about Linux. I’ve never been much of a Linux fan; when I’ve used it, I was always arguing with it and rarely winning. I’ll probably watch for a bit to see if folks get NetBSD running on it before I order one. I once used NetBSD 1.3 on an old 486 class laptop with a smaller hard drive and had a very pleasant experience. No X (it only had 8MB of RAM), but I usually just use X to host a bunch of xterm windows anyway…
i love the Asus Eee PC, it is very light, cheap and portable. I also bought another unit for my girlfriend and she really likes it.
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