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Eee PC From Asus

Unfortunately, you generally still pay a premium for miniaturization. The Asus Eee PC 701 shatters that perception, though.

For a fraction of the cost of competing ultra mobile computing devices, the Asus Eee PC 701 delivers a highly functional portable that might appeal to road warriors and students who want an unobtrusive and inexpensive computer for basic web surfing, word processing and email.

But, letís be honest here. With a list of components that tend towards the modest, the Asus Eee PC 701 isnít for everyone. The unit is saddled with a small 7in low-resolution display. The on-board storage is virtually non-existent, giving you just 4GB of solid-state memory Ė and of that, the system snags 2.4GB, leaving just 1.4GB available for the user. The 512MB of memory is low at a time when laptops typically come with a minimum of 1GB. And the Intel Mobile Processor doesn't even merit anything more specific than that designation in the system information screen.

Moving to the Internet tab there's plenty to see, including shortcuts to popular mail services such as Gmail and Hotmail, as well as links to Wikipedia, Google Documents and Internet Radio. Skype comes pre-loaded, along with the excellent multi-platform instant messenger, Pidgen. Internet browsing is supplied by Firefox, though of all things the browsing experience on the Eee PC isn't as seamless as it could be.

Why? To begin with the screen resolution isn't ideal. Since a great majority of websites default to 1024 pixels wide, the 800 pixel width means many websites can't fit into the screen. There's also little in the way of scaling of web pages as found in Mobile Safari on the iPhone, which makes browsing on the lower resolution screen awkward at times. These aren't insurmountable problems, but it may make some people think twice and as a result one has to wonder whether Opera might have been a better option as the default browser.

It's known to be quicker and less resource intensive than Firefox, while it's also better optimized for mobile devices with low resolution screens. Of course, the Linux proficient among you could happily install Opera yourselves, though the command line jiggery-pokery involved is hardly end user friendly.

In favor of Linux though, it does mean that the Eee PC boots up impressively quickly, in the region of 15 seconds. Moreover, the standby mode provides a near instant restart, just like other mobile devices. It also means that, despite the relatively slow components, the Eee PC doesn't grind to a complete halt. It still isn't fast mind you, but it's perfectly useable for the usage required.

If you really can't deal with Linux, Asus has made all the Windows XP component drivers available. Thus, you can install Windows XP if you like, or even wait for the Windows version that Asus has already announced. Whatever you decide to do, one can't help but feel that given the price and functionality, the Eee PC could easily generate a great community that might churn out applications designed specifically for the device. In fact, shows there's already a grassroots community that could and should blossom.

Not only have we had the chance to actually use the ASUS Eee PC, we can also confirm some important new specifications of the notebook. The Eee PC is running a version of Intelís 910 mobile chipset, it uses a 900MHz Intel Dothan based Pentium M CPU, it has 512MB of DDR2 memory, full 802.11g wireless capability, and a flash-based hard drive. There will be at least two different models of the Eee PC, with the $199 version using a 4GB flash hard drive and the $299 version using a 8GB drive.

Although 4GB of storage is extremely small when you consider that the industry is shipping 750GB hard drives on the desktop and 200GB+ hard drives on the notebook front already, the 4GB flash drive keeps costs very low, and cheap external storage can very easily be added to the Eee PC.

One final note about the design -- the Eee PC's power adaptor is proportionally as tiny as the laptop. It looks more like a mobile phone charger than a laptop charger, which is great since you don't have to lug an enormous power brick around.

Battery life was quite impressive. Asus claims it will last approximately 3.5 hours depending on what tasks you're performing, and this was in line with our own experience. With very light use, the machine lasted as long as four hoursArticle Search, though your own mileage may vary.

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Yasin Resif is the writer of this notebook article. You can find more about notebook models at relevant notebook brand model page.

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