|ASUS Eee 8G PC 8GB SSD Notebook|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Joe McGuire - tinfoilmusic.net - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Sunday, 06 April 2008|
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Closer Look: ASUS Eee PC
The keyboard is surprisingly tactile and responsive for its size. And that's the rub, it's tiny. You won't be typing out your next novel on this thing unless you are on a first name basis with your doctor. I often hit the / key when going for the right shift and the \ key often subs in for the enter key. The trackpad is too small, of course, and the mouse buttons are incredibly stiff - FAR too stiff. The scroll on the side is nice and the software allows for a side scroll at the bottom of the trackpad. The keyboard also withstood the investigations of my inquisitive 2.5 year old little girl, and the finish on the pearl model seems to be impervious to anything except for the most chocolaty fingerprints.
The screen is strange, isn't terribly bright and the anti-glare makes the screen look terribly dirty. Use outside will require heavy shade. A higher resolution screen would have been welcome as well, as 800x480 is limiting and many websites require side scrolling. It is driven by the Intel 915GM, a chip that didn't win any awards when it was introduced, and certainly isn't going to now. Output to external monitors is accomplished by a VGA connector. It supports some basic resolutions but tops out at 1024x768. I suspect I will be editing my xorg.conf file. ASUS has done a decent job in optimizing the built-in applications for the small screen.
Sleep mode is accomplished simply closing the screen, but to wake it up one must open the screen and hit the power button. Annoying. Waking up from sleep mode is faster than a typical Windows laptop, but any Mac notebook will wake up much faster.
The Wi-Fi radio has really very good reception. Better than my TyTN or my Dell laptop. Too bad that ASUS did such a poor job with the software that they created to utilize it in Easy Mode. The software used in the easy mode will not remember WEP or WPA keys nor will it take a WEP pass phrase. It also does not connect to networks automatically. This is supposed to be easy? Hardly. The wireless software in the advanced mode is far better, removing these limitations.
The battery life is disappointing. I've not gotten more than two hours out of the device with the wireless on, compared to over four hours with my much larger Dell. True, I have two batteries in my Dell. Hardly apples to apples, so take that for what it is worth.
Oh ya, there is also a webcam. It works. The cooling fan is virtually silent, quieter than my Dell and Macbook. The audio is also present and accounted for. ASUS has cut out a lot of the typical sounds one expects to hear when booting up, much to their credit.