Asus eee PC

I bought an Asus eee PC yesterday. What is special about the Asus eee PC is the form factor. It is really small. I have read umpteen reviews, many with good pictures showing the size – but it didn’t prepare me for how small it was when I saw it. Here it is with several size references:

eeecuppa.JPG

I own a ruler and know how to use it and I even determined before I first saw it that it could probably fit into a large pocket on a ‘hunting ‘vest I use for traveling or a winter coat pocket. It did – just – as you can see:
eeepocket.JPG

Rupert Goodwins writing for ZD Net UK hit the nail on the head for me when he wrote this comment to his own post here:

What the Eee has done is categorically underlined one of the great and
damaging myths of mobile computing – that extreme portability is a
desirable luxury. It’s not. It’s essential, but it has to be
affordable. Once that idea finally gets into the head of the marketing
men, it’ll affect all the sectors.

Exactly. I paid $499 Australian dollars (US$450) and anything that could be considered competition in Australia is north of AUD$2000. And it is beautifully made – definitely not cheap and nasty. I’ve wanted one of these since my sister bought an HP Jordana about 10 years ago so she could write on the computer in her easy chair. It was just too small.

jordana.jpg

Sorry no size reference – it is less than half the size of the eee

The eee isn’t. It feels just right to me for browsing on my lap. It connected to my wireless router first time. So far the keyboard is hard to get used to. It really is small, but it is still usable. Several reviews say that the keyboard gets easier to use with practice and I can feel it happening already even after one day.

Rupert Goodwins says it is the screen most people find limiting.

There are two reactions to people’s first encounter with the Eee. The
first is ‘want one’, the second is, ‘and if they did x, y and z, it’d
be so much better’. A bigger screen is always x.

I intend to use the eee as an e-text reader as well as a blogging tool so my next step is to try some Project Gutenberg files and some home brewed PDFs to see if I can use it to read text easily. That should tell me a lot about the screen’s usability. Ellen Hage of Tech From and E-booker’s Viewpoint, the best e-book hardware blogger I’ve found, likes her eee PC just fine as a reader although she prefers the Samsung Q1. Goodwins post has some helpful reader suggestions in the comments like getting more screen real estate by using autohide and adding the Littlefox plugin to Firefox. I’ll try to do my next post on the eee on my experiences using it as an ebook reader.


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