Just before Christmas my Dad and I popped into PC World in Salisbury for him to show me the Asus EeePC. It took us a while to locate it as they were hidden away out of sight and employees didn’t even seem to realize the device in the box was a laptop! Anyway my dad bought the 4gb model for my mum for Christmas, I had a brief go on it on Christmas day and was very impressed.
For those who haven’t seen the EeePC it is basically a tiny laptop with a solid state hard drive, currently Asus produce a 2gb and 4gb model but there is soon to be an 8gb model. The 2gb model retails for around £200, and it comes with Xandros OS which is a Linux platform. Basically I saw it as a must have item when my flatmate purchased the 2gb model, so I bought the same model soon after. When you first turn the machine on it boots to an easy mode OS screen which basically contains all the software and settings in full screen tabs and over sized icons. I unlocked the full desktop mode by downloading new repositories which I found through Eeeuser.com
Above is a screenshot of the easy mode desktop, as you can see its very basic and quickly becomes tiresome. The full desktop mode gives you an MS Windows style desktop with a few nice little additions. Included as standard with Xandros is the OpenOffice suite, Mozilla Firefox, Pidgin (MSN Messenger Client), Skype VOIP, A few basic games, multimedia players and various other basic graphics viewers. The full install takes up 1.5gb which is pretty amazing considering all the software that it includes, I’ve installed GIMP which is an Open-Source version of Photoshop. It was a mere 30mb install, it really is impressive how much can run in Linux on such a small hard drive. I purchased a 2gb SD card which there is a port for on the laptop, I use that to save all my files to but alot of people have installed other operating systems on their larger SD cards.
The EeePC has in built wireless and Xandros handles networking really nicely, you can view multiple workgroups on a network unlike in Windows where you can only be apart of one at a time. I have been taking it into University most days, its so much more portable than my main laptop and even has better battery life than my decaying Dell.
I really look forward to the future of Micro Laptops, I think my 2gb EeePC will quickly become outdated as larger solid state options will become readily available. Currently 16-32gb solid state memory is the height of the technology. Apple use this in their iPod Touch and new MacBook Air. I think Asus will have to offer the EeePC with Windows as standard to become market leader in Micro Laptops. There have been some cool mods to the EeePC all over the internet, I have seen modified models for sale on eBay with 16gb internal memory, RAM upgrade and Bluetooth, but the best mod I have seen is one fitted with a touchscreen.