Asus Eee PC

Image of small laptop computerI don’t plan to make a habit of discussing products I haven’t used myself, but I saw a patron at our local public library using one of these things, and it’s gotten stuck in my head. My first reaction when I saw it was, “Oh, how cute!” My second reaction was, “I want one!” Boy, that shocked me. It’s been years and years since I wanted something because it was cute. I almost took my temperature, but I was in the library.

Then the voices started. It’s not practical. Yes, it is. It’s small enough to fit in my purse. I can take it anywhere. But where do you go? uhhh. Well, I’m going on one, maybe two trips this year. Right. And the money you’d spend on one of those gadgets would be better spent on other things. But it’s so cute!

Pros and Cons

After reading several online articles about the Eee PC, I still want one. Shucks. And I still really can’t justify one for my personal circumstances, but maybe you can.

Pros

  • Truly portable. At roughly 9 inches by 6 inches, you won’t need a special case to carry this. And it’s designed to pick up wireless internet wherever it’s available.
  • More durable. Because it doesn’t have a traditional hard drive, the dings and bumps caused by carrying it around won’t faze it. It’s probably even safe with your school-age kids.
  • Lots of built-ins. Webcam. Speakers. Microphone. Card reader. OpenOffice. Firefox. Thunderbird (not on all models, apparently).

Cons
Most of the cons relate to its size–the same thing that makes it so appealing.

  • Keyboard is cramped. I notice it’s the male reviewers that make this complaint. They have larger hands. But even still, it’s almost a full size keyboard. It’s got to be an improvement over thumb-texting, and is surely adequate for a quick email reply.
  • Screen is too small. That could get very aggravating. Apparently some error messages from the operating system can’t even be viewed. But folks commenting in reviews don’t seem to find it too aggravating, even when watching movies on it.

There is a new generation of Eee’s coming up, with a bigger screen and possibly a faster chip and operating system, and presumably, a higher price. Right now, the 8G model goes for $500–when you can find it. And many of the commenters at the reviews listed below stated that you could get a ultra compact, used laptop with a larger screen, full-size keyboard, more powerful processor, and lots more memory and storage for that price, so why get an Eee? Because it’s cute.

One of the commenters also wanted to know “What’s with hardware makers using all these ugly pastel colours lately?” Because they’re trying to appeal to non-technology oriented females. What! You thought a computer billed as “Easy to Learn, Easy to Work, Easy to Play” (from whence is derived the unfortunate name) was targeted at male techno-nerds? I think not. It’s aimed at people who don’t want to know what’s under the hood. They just want it to work.

Myself, I’d rather have it in a nice royal blue. But I still think it’s cute.

Update: My acquaintance at the library (who now owns two) said get the black, not the white. They are not made of the same kind of plastic, and the white shows dings and scratches much easier. Make sure you get the model with the webcam; it comes with a bigger battery. When considering the size of the hard drive, consider also how inexpensive memory cards are these days. How much does getting the 8GB memory drive add to the price, versus buying a 16GB memory card and sticking it in a 4GB drive-equipped model?

Further Reading

Asus Offers Travelers Small, Mobile Eee PC, But It’s Too Cramped
Teeny PCs: Eee laptop from Taiwan is quick, easy to use and ultra small, lightweight
Simple, tiny computers forcing Microsoft to make changes
ASUS Prepares Next Generation Eee PC with WiMAX, Larger Display
Asus eeePC : teh nerfbook
ASUS Eee PC 8G Priced, Green Eee PC Spotted in the Wild
EEEUser: fan site with breaking news, wiki, forums, reviews, and photos
Official EEE PC website

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • I guess “small screen” is relative. I had the second Mac, a 512K and that screen was tiny compared to the iMac I have now. I don’t see how I got any work done on it but at the time it was thrilling to work on. AJM recently received an iTouch from work and I’m amazed how he sits around surfing the web on that small screen. It’s input pad is smaller than a true keyboard but much nicer than my cellphone.

    I think a lot of things combine to make something attractive and it’s hard to fit the mark. I turned down offers of a laptop for several years now because I don’t travel very much. But I am looking forward to getting an iPhone when I need to replace my very old cell phone because I’m impressed with what I’ve seen on the iTouch.

  • These things were made for those people that “must work everywhere 24/7” So you have to live with things such as tiny screens from a technological point of view.

    Give it 5 to 10 years from now and these protable devices will be excellent. For now, we all still need to make some kind of technological sacrifices.

    Thanks for the review.