I got my first Asus EEE PC 4G shortly after they were released back in November 07. While the 4G is a nice little machine there are a few things that I wished it could do better. There was a 4 GB flash memory drive, it ran a version of Linux, the screen resolution meant a lot of scrolling when surfing the web and the the battery life was not great (about 2.5 hours). As well I could not install a lot of different software on it as there was not a lot of space. I could have always tried Windows XP on it it but never got around to doing it.
While walking around my local Staples store yesterday, I saw the computer department staff putting out the latest entry in the Netbook PC line they just got the MSI Wind U100 Netbook. Being the first time that I had seen this little machine I was intrigued and the price looked good @ 529.00. The Wind has a 10″ widescreen LCD, an Intel Atom 1.6 processor, 1 GB of Ram and an 80 GB hard drive as well as wireless and bluetooth running Windows XP. The unit weighs 2 lbs. I didn’t have much time as the OS wasn’t set up yet so I went home to look up more specs and reviews of the unit.
In my online research I discovered that Asus had also brought out a similar unit in their EEE PC Line called the 1000H with virtually the exact same specs as the Wind. The biggest differences I found that the Asus came with a 6 Cell battery vs the Wind’s 3 Cell (although a 6 cell will be available soon). Other reviews indicated that the Asus build quality appeared to be better and featured better speakers and a better LCD although the EEE is heavier 1 KG vs 1.45 KG and also a little bigger.
I found one of the 1000H’s in Black at one of my favourite shops in town (Memory Express) and had it held for me. I went down today and looked at the unit. I was very impressed and picked one up for 550.00. I have been updating the unit as well as charging it since I got it home. Here are the specs.
Asus EEE10000H. Intel Atom 1.6 GHz Processor, 1 GB Ram (user upgradable to 2 GB), 80 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive, 1024 x 600 LED Backlit 10″ Wide Screen LCD, 6 Cell Battery, 3 USB Ports, VGA Port, Stereo Microphone, Dolby Sound Room Stereo Speakers, Touchpad, Wireless B,G,N, Bluetooth, 4 in 1 card reader, Windows XP Home. With the 6 cell battery it weighs 1.45KG and comes with a sleeve and a recovery DVD. The AC adaptor is also small and light. Piano Black finish.
The unit is fairly light and does not get hot even with the AC adaptor plugged in. It has been sitting on my thigh (and I am wearing shorts) all afternoon without getting hot. It took about 2.5 hours for the full original battery charge.
The machine comes with Skype, Star Office 8, Intervideo Win DVD, Windows Live Mail, Acrobat Reader 8.1, Microsoft Works, Microsoft Live Writer and Photo Gallery as well as a few Asus Utilities all pre installed. The PC was built with XP Home SP 3 at the factory. Running through the mini set up and connecting it to my wireless network took less than 5 minutes.
The machine appears to be quite snappy, The Works Word processor opens in a couple of seconds and boot up time from off to the main Windows screen is 35 seconds.
The finish of the machine is very nice although I suspect the black piano finish will show finger prints. The LCD screen is bright and beautiful and viewable from all sorts of angles. At 3/4 brightness it is perfect for every day use. The 1024 x 600 resolution allows for web page displays without having to scroll side to side however the pages are a little short. There is a utility to change resolution to 1024 x 768 however it stretches the screen to larger than the screen size so you have to scroll down to see your task bar, although it works quite well.
The keyboard is reported to be about 85% of a full sized laptop keyboard. The keys while a little small are easy enough for me to type on even with my large hands and fat fingers. Better yet I don’t seem to catch my thumb on the trackpad as I do with a couple of other laptops that I have causing my cursor to jump somewhere else in my document. I can type fast enough at a pace that I am comfortable with and not have a lot of errors.
Battery life is reported to be approximately 7 hours by the manufacturer. This was the main reason for choosing this model over the MSI Wind. While I have not had a chance to try the battery life out, I have seen reports of at least 4.5 hours on this device. Like any laptop of you are aggressive with your power management you can extend the battery life quite a bit. Apparently the included power management software is very good at adjusting the machines performance to maximize battery life.
I will take the time to play with this little laptop a little more and will include a more detailed review here. For now though this little machine looks like a winner. While it is not a machine to do heavy duty photo editing on for travel as a place to dump pictures from a digital camera, surf the web or check emails from this is an ideal machine especially at the current price. If the price of these drops any more they will become a great gift idea for kids for the upcoming holiday season.