Friday, November 16, 2007
Asus Eee PC 4G 701 micro-laptop
Reg Hardware reports: [edited]
Asus' new micro-laptop runs on Linux, has Wi-Fi and 4GB of flash storage, of which around 2.9GB is consumed by the OS, bundled apps and sample files.
An advantage to using Linux is that it's easier to make the OS fit the screen. The 701's 7in, 100dpi, LED-backlit, 800 x 480 screen isn't a standard resolution, but there are pixels aplenty to ensure dialogue boxes don't disappear off the bottom of the screen as they almost always did with early Windows-based UMPCs. Any that do can usually be resized to fit the screen with just a click. Windows, rather than dialogue boxes, open full-screen by default, but it's easy to switch between them using the tabs in the status bar at the bottom of the screen.
Typing on the 701 is certainly possible, but if your fingers aren't those of a five-year-old, it'll take a bit of practice to make sure you hit the letter you want and not the adjacent keys as well. But all the keys you'd get on a full-sized model are present.
If the keyboard's hard to use, that goes double for the touchpad. A mere 45 x 30mm, it's got a scroll space over on the right-hand side, but that just makes it ever fiddlier to use.
The 701 has three USB ports, a VGA port and SD/SDHC card slot. The other side is home to 3.5mm headphone and microphone sockets and a 10/100Mb Ethernet port.
Closed, the 701 measures 225 x 165 x 25-35mm, but in real terms that means it's the size of a typical hardback novel. It weighs about the same, 890g. In other words, eminently portable, and a perfect size to close up and stash away in your backpack or briefcase when you've finished surfing, writing the latest chapter of your magnum opus or whatever.
At just £220 [camera, model and straw mat not included, Ed.], the Asus Eee PC is a steal. This is a fun, cheap machine.
Editor's postscript: Someone has managed to install Mac OSX on one of these. Bet he doesn't have much room for his iTunes collection.