What’s the Word On the Eee PC?
The Eee PC is one of the most interesting notebook concepts to come out since UMPC’s and Tablets. But unlike those two product categories, the Eee PC does away with the complexities that kept those products from becoming a truly mass marketable product. For starters, the ASUS Eee PC is easy to use, lightweight, and boasts up to 3.5 hrs of battery life under continuous use. In fact, we’re told that this is actually being conservative.
The Eee PC also comes with all the software you’ll ever need installed and ready to go for $399 CDN for the 4G model that we looked at today. Last time I checked Microsoft Office and Windows XP or Vista would cost you about the same…without the hardware. Speaking of hardware, at $399, it is doubtful that you’ll find a regular laptop that could match the quality of build that the Eee PC has. It’s chassis is relatively flex free, and except for the slight issue with the touchpad mouse on the demo unit, it was better than any commodity sub $500 notebook that I’ve ever come across.
The Eee PC is also quick. It boots in under 30 seconds an resumes from sleep or hibernation in about half that. Mucking around with the applications and surfing a few websites, it performed as fast if not faster than some higher end $1000 notebooks. The Linux OS is definitely the right choice for this unit so I’d be curious to see how they will be implementing Windows XP on this unit in a subsequent release.
Despite my praise, the Eee PC isn’t perfect. The screen resolution of 800 x 480 is very odd. It’s neither 4:3 nor 16:9 or even 16:10. This makes surfing your favourite websites tedious because of the constant sidescrolling you’ll have to do. The tiny keyboard will frustrate individuals with above average digits and despite the fact that you can plug in an external keyboard, do you really want to do that? It would totally defeat the small and lightweight size of the unit. Also, with the fairly lightweight processor, heavy applications need not apply.
So who is the ASUS Eee PC built for? I think it’s built for everyone, even the power user. It’s for the power user because sometimes, carrying the huge behemoth 17 inch gaming notebook around might not be practical. The EeePC is so small that you can stick it in the same case and because it boots up in under 30 seconds and is wireless, you can surf the web, the check the email and be done. With the Skype phone accessory coming out by end of year, the Eee PC has the potential to become the ultimate mobile communications platform.
Families would also benefit from having a unit like this on vacation. The games and learning applications can keep the kids busy while the parents can tweak and upload family photos and fire them off via email. It’s also small enough that it can be kept in mom’s purse, or even in the glove box. The small keyboard is also useful for the smaller fingers of children and with the low cost of entry ($299 for the entry level unit), it might be a great starter computer for the kids as well.
With superior ease of use, portability, and battery life, the ASUS Eee PC practically sells itself to the masses that yearn for the simplicity that this product offers. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a hold of one for some long term testing to see just how well a device like this could replace that big ole laptop you “used” to tote around.
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