|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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The easy mode UI is intuitive, I suppose, and looks good, but it's the first thing I got rid of. ASUS has removed the easy to use switch to go from Easy mode to Advanced mode, requiring some time spent in the terminal (which isn't terribly easy to find) but once in the advanced interface, the wireless works MUCH better and the device works far better. Windows users will not feel out of place and KDE fan-boys will also feel right at home. I'm a Gnome fanboy, so I feel a little left out, but such is life.
Here are some basic comparisons that may or may not be of use. The Dell is a hacked up Inspiron 8200 with upgraded P4M 2.2Ghz CPU, 1GB RAM and an NVIDIA Quadro4 500 GoGL w/64MB dedicated RAM. The ASUS is a 900Mhz Celeron-M 353, 1GB RAM and an Intel 915GM w/ 8MB shared RAM.
HD (hdparm -tT /dev/xxx):
Ouch. I really did not expect the ASUS to do so poorly against the Dell, which has a Seagate 80GB 2.5" drive with 8MB of cache.
This is not unexpected. The Dell figures would be higher, but I am running Compiz on it, and Compiz generally slows down OpenGL applications. The Quadro is, essentially, a GeForce 4MX 440.
As this site is called Benchmark Review, one would expect to see more benchmarks. Honestly, the only thing even remotely interesting from that POV is the SSD storage. My very basic benchmark with hdparm surprised me as I was expecting it to be faster than the Dell. It certainly feels faster, and the Dell is running Ubuntu w/ preload installed. I suppose ASUS may have optimized the software, but I can't say for certain. I'm reasonably impressed with the sub 20 second boot times. OpenOffice (2.0? Where is 2.4?) is surprisingly speedy as is Firefox. As for CPU & graphic performance, please, is there any point in benchmarking a 900Mhz Celeron? True, it will add some neat graphics to an otherwise plain article, but in the end the graphics will only point out that it is nothing more than a 900Mhz Celeron. It's slow. The graphics are provided by built in Intel stuff, and it was slow when it was introduced. But both work more than adequately for what ASUS intended them to do.
ASUS Eee Conclusion
Overall, the device is a mixture of compromises centered around an SSD storage device. Speedy SSD storage and reasonable amount of RAM (in the 8GB model) make up for the lackluster CPU. The power-sipping CPU & SSD make up for the sub-par battery. The keyboard is as good as can be expected given the size. The screen.... well, nothing really makes up for the ugly anti-glare screen. I suppose that given the price, one shouldn't give ASUS too hard a time. This is a new niche and it's a great first effort. As I have not tested any other device in this niche, it is tough to rate it. I can't say it is incredibly useful as anything other something to be used in a pinch or for some quick & dirty computing on the run. It's handy to have, but it won't replace my laptop or my desktop.
Presently the ASUS Eee 8G pearl white notebook PC (SKU 90OA05A11111111U125Q) is available for $499.99 from NewEgg, and also for $499.99 at ClubIT. The price will eventually change, so you'll want to shop the web for the best possible pricing.
Lots of things could have been better, but again one must consider the price. We can't be too hard on ASUS for not giving us a Bentley for the price of a Hyundai.
Final product rating: 8.00 out of 10.
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