Am I a bad man for equating my gadgets to food? Well in this case I think I’m justified. I just acquired an Asus EEE PC 701 4G and I got it for about $280US as of this writing. Strangely enough, this model is supposed to have 512MB of RAM but the one I got has a full 1GB. Not sure what is going on there, but it is not a bad deal at all. Interestingly enough I got the white version which has a pearly white finish not unlike that of the Ibanez GSR 200 electric bass I got a few months back.
Now interestingly enough on the guitar it looked like a nice pearly finish that gave it a classy look that no black guitar could ever have. On the EEE PC though it makes it look like a huge slab of white chocolate, and it looks so good I could almost eat it!
My impressions: I would love to say “WOW” but unfortunately this is not the case. I think I got a great deal and this fulfills my laptop needs but I have to wonder, do I need a laptop? A few years ago I would have easily said “YES!” but right now it is less clear because I have a very capable PDA in the iPod Touch, which can do most of the things I would use the EEE PC for, sans some really heavy-duty editing and posting of blogs and messages on message boards. I also currently have a very nice Samsung Blackjack which also can do many of the things the EEE PC should be doing.
In the end I have a nice rather heavy but very light for its class EEE PC running Linux. I think I am a bit underwhelmed by the Linux OS installed on it, it is preventing me from doing things like using the EEE PC for downloading torrents. I will probably upgrade it to Windows XP soon but for the meantime I want to enjoy the unit as it is and in fairness it is great for doing a fair number of tasks I usually do:
- Posting on message boards/blogs (like this one!)
- Reading eBooks whether in PDF, Word, Text or HTML format
- Listening to music or watching videos
But it’s a lot heavier than I thought it would be, though that could just be me getting too used to an iPod Touch. Notably, the Touch is also great at the afore-mentioned activities. But the Touch’s biggest problem is that it does not have the ability to cut and paste and otherwise do heavy duty text work, something the EEE PC as a mobile platform excels at. And no matter how you spin it, the Touch’s onscreen soft keyboard isn’t as good as the EEE PC’s cramped but very touch-typable keyboard. The Touch may be more comfortable to snuggle up with in bed but the EEE PC isn’t half bad and gives you more power to do computing tasks to boot. It also hooks up nicely to a USB modem (like the Blackjack) giving you 3G internet anywhere you have a signal — something the Touch can’t do (or the iPhone for that matter, though the iPhone can at least give you EDGE).
In essence, what I’m saying is that the two do the same tasks, but are not in the same class and are used for different situations. If I were to go to a mall or the john or just want to grab a quick bite at a fastfood chain and had to do a quick bit of surfing the Touch is better but for dragging a device to a friend’s house (or at work) and doing some prolonged computing the EEE PC is clearly better.
All in all I am very happy with my purchase and will probably be even happier once I tinker and hack with the little champ and get it to do more things to my liking. For what is essentially a 10,000 peso laptop it is unbelievable what it brings to the table. It has a small screen and cramped keyboard but it is still exceedingly impressive. I actually have no problem with the keyboard size but I really wish the screen were a bit bigger. That would be my only real wishlist item for the EEE PC.
So until Apple comes up with an HSDPA-enabled iPhone that can do cut and paste and save downloads properly, the EEE PC will always have a place in my gadget bag.