In the last four weeks after I got hold of an Asus Eee PC, it has become my tag along personal computing device. It has served me well and here are some of the nitty gritty details I’d like to share about it.
I’ll break them down to 10 things you need to know about the Eee PC:
1.) The Size. It’s so small and lightweight you won’t think you’re lugging a full-featured laptop. At 920 grams, it’s like carrying a 200-page hardbound pocketbook. For people who always need to have a laptop everywhere they go, the Eee PC will fit the bill 9 out of 10 times.
2.) The Choices. For a fairly new ultraportable device, you’d be surprised Asus offers a fair selection of models — the 2GB, 4Gb and 8GB models. Upgradeable RAM from 512MB to 1GB. Color options — white, black, pink, blue and green.
3.) The Design. Simple, clean, no-fancy design adds more points in the cutesy department. The matte texture of the chassis helps avoid grime and smudges. The black version is exceptionally elegant that others would think it’s a 100k sub-notebook.
4.) The Storage. The regular 4GB solid-state drive may be too lacking to many but that’s a limitation of the SSD technology and the cost and not the laptop itself. I’m sure once the 16GB and 32GB flash drives become more available and cheaper, Asus will follow suit. Besides, that doesn’t stop users from offloading large media files into external USB drives; the Eee PC has 3 ports for them.
5.) The OS. Though most of the models come loaded with the Xandros OS, newer ones are available in Windows XP. If not, you can always reformat and install XP or any other operating system you fancy. The 4/8GB models can be upgraded up to 2GB RAM but Xandros only supports 1GB. From my count, the system boots at 28 secs., restarts at 40 Secs., and shuts down in less than 7 secs.
6.) The Features. The 4GB model sports a 900 MHz Intel Celeron-M processor. Couple that with a 1GB DDR2 RAM and the rig runs quite fast. Three USB 2.0 ports, WiFi, a 0.3MP webcam, LAN port, built-in MMC/SD card reader, mic/headphone jack and external VGA port completes the range of features.
7.) The Display. The 7-inch (17.8cm, diagonal) TFT LCD display supports a native 800×480 pixel screen resolution which is a little odd since it often creates horizontal scroll-bars when browsing the net most of the time. The VGA port can be used to hook up to an external monitor and can effectively expand the screen to 1600Ã—1280 pixels. Since the LED is backlit, display quality is fairly good and does not strain the user’s eye on prolonged use.
8.) The Durability. There are no mechanically moving parts in the Eee PC and the absence of an optical drive makes it less prone to shock. I’ve already dropped mine at the height of about 2 feet (while powered on) with no problems. The exterior coating also helps in preventing minor scratches and scrapes.
9.) Battery Life. Small devices tend to carry smaller battery sizes but the Eee PC can still squeeze more juice. Battery life of the entire Eee range is rated between 2:45 hours and 3:30 hours. My repeated use from full charge to full drain was just around 3 hours (Wifi was mostly on and running).
10.) The Downside. Nothing much really. The usual discomfort I’ve experienced is with the cramped keyboard. Obviously, what can you expect from a keyboard that is as wide as your hands placed side by side? Typing could be a bit awkward at first. The trackpad is also smaller and may take some time to get used to.
The Asus Eee PC is the first sub-20k laptop to ever be commercially available in the Philippines. IMO, the price is a huge factor for its apparent popularity and overall performance is best bang for the buck.
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