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The EeePC 900 Review May 6, 2008

Posted by reverseengineer in Hardware, Review.
9 comments

Ok gang, here’s the short and sweet review. (Check the June 2008 issue of Mobile Philippines for the fleshed-out version.)

Almost everything else is the same, except for the following:

  • Larger screen – 8.9″, 1024×600
  • More RAM – 1gb built-in
  • More storage – Windows XP version has a 12gb SSD, Linux has 20gb
  • Better webcam – 1.3 megapixel
  • Mic’s now beside the webcam
  • Speakers were moved to the bottom
  • Bigger touchpad – with FingerGlide multi-touch features
  • Just a hair bigger, thicker and heavier than the 701
  • More vents on the underside
  • Only comes in white and black (for now, but good luck getting black)

Ok. Here’s the good stuff, the stuff I think you’d be most curious to know, in no particular order:

  • Trackpad buttons are a bit hard to press; at least the button is longer in shape, which minimizes zig-when-zagging mistakes
  • As of now, I don’t know where the multi-touch pinching can work – doesn’t seem to work on any of the included apps (still exploring this)
  • Two-finger scrolling is nice, but limited; hey, it’s a short trackpad – it’s not swiiiiiiipe, swiiiiiiipe as with a Mac, but more like swipeswipeswipeswipeswipe
  • No two-finger tapping to replace right clicks (like on Macs); at least I think so. Haven’t found the pref setting for it, anyway. [UPDATE: Found it. It’s buried in the Mouse prefs under Control Panel. And apparently it’s more full-featured than originally thought. The ElanTech pad has all the features and conveniences of the Apple multi-touch trackpad. Good then.]
  • Trackpad size also inadequate for pinch-zooming; your fingers barely have room to move apart before they jam up against the edges of the pad (for me at least; I have big fingers); so like swiping, it’s pinchpinchpinchpinchpinch
  • The productivity app add-ons are…wait for it …Microsoft Works and Star Suite 8 from Sun Micro. Eh?
  • Whenever it starts up Microsoft Works, the app warns you that screen resolution is below Microsoft’s recommended minimum – which is 1024×768. Eh? Didn’t they know that coming in? They could have at least reset the app to the proper setting so we don’t keep getting reminded that the screen is still tiny.
  • Speakers are now on the bottom; loud, but needs room around the base to be heard
  • Screen is beautiful, but not too bright; kinda like the proverbial dumb blonde
  • The microphone is now beside the webcam. Finally.
  • Getting the Linux version is a no-brainer; 20gb is a big deal; you can dump Linux and install Windows later. You got an XP installer around, right? You have any idea how much an 8gb SSD costs these days?
  • Keyboard still sucks. Same one from the 701, save for the markings on the Windows key – it ain’t the little house no more. It’s at least more sturdy and solid.
  • Build quality seems better all around. Seems. Can’t prove it, but it feels like it is.
  • The faux modem hole is gone, rubber cover and all; no sense pretending there’ll ever will be a modem for this thing, after all.
  • Battery life sucks. No numbers yet, but I can tell you it sucks. Bigger screen, more ram, larger SSDs – and then you match those with a weaker battery than the previous (and less-equipped, hence less needy) model? Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder? (I hope this changes with the release version.)
  • The hinge seems abnormally tight; I need two hands to open it up, and with difficulty at that. Then again maybe it’s just this unit.
  • Doesn’t seem to get unreasonably warm. Then again, my old 701 never did too. At least there are more vents on the underside.
  • The included pouch sucks big time; what happened to the sexy, black neoprene? It’s like exchanging black thongs for granny panties.
  • A power brick? Doh! Bring back the cellphone charger!
  • From a plain-vanilla config, boots up in 30 sec. Shuts down in 31. Cool.
  • Response time is about what you’d expect from a capable PC. Not fantastic, but not a slouch either. In fact, it’s a lot better than I expected. But still and all, it’s what you’d expect from Windows XP. No more, no less.
  • Here’s the surprise: that 12gb SSD? It’s two drives – a 4 and an 8! At least that’s what System Information tells me. I think it’s the old built-in 4gb of the 701, plus an extra 8gb SSD in the ol’ extra slot. (Can’t tell because I’m not allowed to open it.) Makes sense from a production standpoint. Old mold, then just stick an extra SSD in. (Now I’m wondering how the 20gb Linux version is configured – a 4gb on-board and a 16gb in the slot?) This is something we don’t see in any of the press releases and company literature. Why do I feel like someone’s cheating? [UPDATE: Apparently this info is in the eeepc.asus.com website already. My guesses were right. Question now is, can we swap SSDs when we want, or are they hard-soldered into the port?]

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The EeePC900 Unboxing Gallery May 5, 2008

Posted by reverseengineer in Hardware, Pics.
14 comments

Nothing sweeter than unboxing a new toy (well, I can think of a couple of other sweeter things, but never mind that). Here we go:

The box itself.

I received the one with Windows XP pre-installed. It comes with just a 12gb SSD. The Linux version comes with 20gb, for the same price. The rationale is, with the WinXP version you buy a licensed copy of Windows XP, which is apparently worth 8gb these days. Linux is free and open source, so you get back the 8gb in kind.

Boo! It’s the EeePC900 in its body bag.

The stuff inside the box. Yum.

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Arise, Lazarus May 5, 2008

Posted by reverseengineer in Asus, Developments, Hardware.
1 comment so far

So I’m back.

Didn’t think I’d be back this soon either, but nothing like a line refresh to get the blood blog going again.

I knew this blog’s still got some life in it.

Yes, I got me an EeePC 900 today. It’s a review unit, and they want it back before the official launching Monday next.

Sure. As soon as they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Kidding.

Actually, they said I can buy it if I want – at the usual press discount? – but I dunno yet.

Anyhow, expect some input here again. At least for the duration.

Unboxing pics are coming up later, when I get home.