Asus Eee 0.9 impressions

0.9 cos I’ve been using it a fair bit at home, but not been travelling yet.

It looks a bit like its on life support here. I’ve got network and USB mouse plugged in one side, and USB keyboard and external screen plugged in the other.

Effectively when at home it’s just like any other machine, except, and this is a big thing I think – it comes with Linux installed. ‘Big thing’ in a market changing kind of a way. Bear in mind the most common way to get a pc without Windows is to build it yourself. Shop around, Linux machines are hard to come by. The Dell/Ubuntu deal is a bit of a damp squib, and damn hard to order (I have tried a few times). Stop press more Linux machines appearing daily…

In truth the OS has between minor and no effect on my web world (although I guess I’ll soon meet some Linux unfriendly sites). I have the same Firefox, with the same theme and the same extensions as my Windows box. The MS Office site doesn’t work well with Linux (the intrusive spyware fails).

In terms of non web apps, I havent done much yet as I have bought it mainly as a web machine. The fact that it drives all these peripherals so well is brilliant.

Of course being Linux it doesn’t run my beloved Excel (2003 of course), and I have no current plans to try Crossover office or Wine. A fair chunk of my basic spreadsheet stuff is in OpenOffice anyway so should just work fine on this machine,

Visually I reckon the Eee is spot on, usability wise, on its own, I think the keyboard is fine, although I think I would struggle to work all day on it. The screen is the biggest compromise I would say. Quality wise its very good, but it is a bit cramped for anything too involved. (but it is better than my blackberry).

About an inch (25mm – for us metric folks) either side of the screen is taken up by speakers (which are ok sounding actually (for a laptop)) personally I would rather have had a wider screen and crappier speakers wedged in somewhere else. I estimate I’ll look at the screen ~100% of the time, and use those speakers < 5% of the time, if ever. I assume its more of a cost thing than optimising the wrong thing.

I havent done much away from mains power yet, but a 3.5 hour battery life is better than any other machine I have, but probably not enough for hardcore road warriors.

For 200 quid I think it represents stunning value, and a cheap safe and easy way to play with Linux. I’m interested to see if the Windows (XP btw) version due in the next few months will cost more, if so I’d recommend this Linux version, because those essential Windows apps you need probably won’t fly on this machine.

Rumours of an 8Gb 10″ screen version have recently been quashed, but that would be a killer spec I reckon, even for 50-100 quid more.

Oh and Asus supply the hardware and the OS like Apple – so there is no driver pain. Compare and contrast with the battles MS are having with rogue drivers on Vista, on hardware they don’t control. Maybe the Asus/Apple approach is the way forward?



3 Responses to “Asus Eee 0.9 impressions”

  1. Marcus Says:

    What’s it like for reading from the screen.

    I’m interested from the perspective of reading on the train (no I’m not kidding). I’ve got plenty of electronic books and £200 makes it a good generic eBook reader although the 8″ screen sounds better.

    We can compare at the conference. I’ll show you mine (17″) if you show me yours.

    Cheers – Marcus

  2. Simon Says:

    It would probably be do-able, for an hour or 2. (the battery only lasts for 3).
    Its a good screen- but it is small. Amazon are about to release a dedicated ebook reader that might be better.

  3. Marcus Says:

    Hi Simon,

    This is probably more of what I had in mind:

    Also by ASUS. Has the same size screen and same screen resolution as the EEE but comes with a 60 gb HDD and fold out keyboard.

    I’m mainly interested in using it for reading and entertainment of long commutes. Flipping open a laptop can be a bit hard on the train.

    Cheers – Marcus

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