A Week With the Asus EEE PC

bt So I have had my EEE PC for a week now and thought that it would be a good opportunity to let you have my initial thoughts. For those that aren’t familiar with it the EEE is a Linux based, fully featured, high portable laptop for around £200. It is also tiny being just slightly larger than a hardback book.

At this price point you could reasonably expect the spec to be cut price but it’s not the case. I have the 2gb "Surf" edition which comes with wifi, 3xusb 2.0 ports, Ethernet, vga out, headphone and microphone sockets and an SD card slot. It is also completely solid state with 2gb of memory. The next model up comes with 4gb of memory, a modem (who uses one of those these days?) and a built-in webcam. All models come with a modified version of Linux with a simple interface and a number of standard applications including: Firefox, OpenOffice, a media player, Adobe Acrobat, Thunderbird email client and an eBook reader – pretty much all you need for online and offline working.

How do you improve on perfection? By adding a further 8gb of storage and a tiny Bluetooth adaptor that’s how! Like the laptop itself the Bluetooth adaptor is tiny (see picture) about the size of my thumbnail. So now I can surf the net using either the built in wireless or using my 3g phone via Bluetooth.

As I said elsewhere on the blog Linux is hard work and in an attempt to make it more accessible for the masses Asus have created a simple tabbed interface with large icons to give access to the functions and web shortcuts. Initially I wasn’t sure that I liked it and switched over to advanced mode but I quickly found that this offered no real advantages over the simple interface and so I quickly changed back. I then set about changing the interface to my liking but adding my own icons. To do this does require some skill with a good image package and being handy with a text editor but it is worth the trouble to get it to your liking. The images below show how it looks now that I have tweaked it.

In use the EEE is great. It is quick to start up and has a great browser. I have added my favourite extensions to Firefox, such as FireFTP, which make it even better and OpenOffice is just perfect of creating documents offline. While sat in the car this morning I was able to bash out a short document and email it to the office. I can also VPN to the office if I want to access documents there.

My only gripe is the battery life which is around two hours. However, Asus are due to be bringing out a longer life battery which will be an essential purchase for me when it arrives but apart from that it is simply perfect.

So far the EEE has been a huge hit worldwide and rightly so with it having sold out everywhere. New models with bigger screens and a range of colourful lids are on the way but at the price point and with the functionality it offers right now it is a cracking machine that needs no changes.

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