Asus Eee verdict

I promised my sister that I would comment on the tiny Asus Eee when I had a chance. My official verdict is simple: two thumbs up, no questions. But I can see where the response could be mixed either way. It really depends what you are looking for as to whether or not this machine (I’m using it right now just for fun!) will meet your expectations. I’m not sure I actually had that many expectations when I bought it, it was admittedly a bit of a whim and quite silly. Confession 1: I love miniature things. Little single-sized servings of things are a grocery store compulsion, as generally speaking I have always been a sucker for mini things. (Perhaps not unrelated to my overall lack of stature!) Confession 2: I love gadgets, love technology, love to play. So really I was bound to love the Asus Eee. It does not replace my “real” laptop nor should it, I know the Linux hack types love to customise these things and make them like fully functional laptops, but that’s not why I wanted it. I wanted it because my regular laptop is heavy and bigger and frankly more expensive than I would like for travel purposes. Although I’m a totally Mac-o-phile, I had absolutely no interest in the Air, as the thickness (or lack thereof) is compromised in my view by the huge width of the thing. I was more tempted by the little Sony micromachines but put off by the whole Windows thing not to mention the price. I’ve always wished for a small computer, I loved my Handspring Visor and later my Sony Cleo but they were never real computers. I still love my iPod Touch but it does not do for me what I need from a work perspective. So the Asus Eee is awesome. Here’s what it can do for me that makes me love it:

  • Lets me give pdf presentations at conferences from the VGA out port
  • Lets me check email and the web away from home
  • Lets me work on simple, straightforward documents and things in the stripped down Open Office version that it runs
  • Lets me read pdf files of all flavors
  • Fits in my purse
  • Lets me continue to try to learn Linux better
  • Lets me run my entire universe on SD flash cards
  • Cause lots of stares 🙂

What it does less well? Act as a full functioning computer-for-all-purposes. I got the bottom of the line version (2G Surf) because I already DO have a fully functional (albeit heavy) laptop. Yes the keyboard is tiny and takes some getting used to. The version of Open Office on this machine is missing a few features I wish I had (the equation editor is the most obvious). But the more I thought about it the more I realized that if I was writing things sufficiently complicated to need the equation editor, I would likely need other things on my normal “full” laptop anyways. For a few days away, for a conference and associated “keeping up” purposes, absolutely nothing beats this little machine. I highly recommend it as a second laptop, I can’t recommend it as a first one unless your needs are extremely limited. But my verdict is that I absolutely adore it.

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5 responses to “Asus Eee verdict

  1. oooh, thanks. Now, my lingering questions. Is it hard to type on, given that the keys are closer together? Could you put it n an airplane foldout tray and still work EVEN IF the person in front of you decided to decline? (That’s a key issue for economy class world travelers, right?) Did you have prior experience with Linux, or would it be easy to figure out?

  2. 1. typing. You get used to it. I am still using all my fingers to type and the number of mistakes go down quickly. There is even a typing tutor game installed to help you practice! (now THAT brings back childhood memories, I was obsessed with a typing tutor program on one of our ancient computers!) The one thing I do find is that I don’t use the pinky finger on my right hand as much as on a normal keyboard.

    2. form factor. Yes you can totally use it on an airplane if the person in front of you reclined. (declined Mer?)

    3. Linux. The linux is actually completely hidden from sight, the operation of the machine assumes absolutely no knowledge of linux and you could be very productive on this machine without ever learning anything about it. I’m a dork so I do know how to open the terminal and have played around with the Linux under the hood a bit, but you don’t need it at all.

    More importantly for you, it seems to have fairly good Chinese language support as well!

  3. That’s it, I’m off to buy. But I’m getting the one with the camera, since my regular laptop requires the plug-in USB type and I’m lazy.

    Hmm. White or black?

  4. Amazon has already shipped mine! I also grabbed an 8 GB SD card with it to triple the HD size. That should be all I need.

  5. Sounds so handy for research/conference trips… yeah I totally want one. Ooh, and then we can all form a club!!

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