First look at Asus Eee PC 900

THEIR product may sound like a cross between a shriek and a car screech but Taiwanese firm Asustek shook up the ultra mobile PC (UMPC) business last year by launching the Asus Eee PC 701. While it is technically not a UMPC, the Eee PC proved to be a most convenient and marketable device in this market segment.

Barely a year after the launch, Asus wants to take on the UMPC market again by launching the Eee PC 900, which only has a few differences from the previous model except for bigger RAM (1 gigabyte on the 900 series compared to 512 megabytes for the Eee PC 700 series) and a higher-capacity solid-state drive (SSD), a feature that makes the device even more appealing as it lengthens battery life compared to regular hard disks with moving parts. Both the 900 and 700 series still use 900-megahertz Intel Celeron-M processors. The first Eee PC models have 2GB and 4 GB SSDs while the new Eee PC 900 has 12GB and 20GB models.

Here’s a video of Vivian Hung, Eee PC product manager for Asustek Asia Pacific, showing the new Asus Eee PC 900.

Incidentally, it is also the first time that Asus has pre-installed the Windows XP operating system on the Eee PC 900 12GB version. The previous models used Xandros Linux, which has carefully laid out all the functions for new computer users as well as those unfamiliar with operating systems other than Windows. The Eee PC 20 GB model, however, still uses the same Xandros Linux OS.

The Eee PC prides itself for its compact design, which appeals to a lot of students, women and those who just want to have a small, robust notebook that could do basic document editing, Internet browsing and spreadsheets. The original Eee PC is indeed small and weighed less than a kilogram. In comparison, the Eee PC 900 is slightly bigger, at 225 millimeters x 165 mm x 35 mm, almost the size of a regular paper notebook. If put in a backpack, the Eee PC could fit well among a student’s notebooks and textbooks.

The larger design is due to a bigger 8.9-inch LCD screen, versus the 7 inches for the Eee PC 701. The screen looks particularly better, with brighter backlight and higher resolution at 1024×600 pixels versus the 800×600 pixels on the Eee PC 701 model. It is somewhat unimportant for most people, but the higher-resolution LCD display could play videos better, which could be good for people who regularly browse through video websites or even watch graphics-heavy AVI, MPEG-4 and WMV files. It also sports a 1.3 megapixel webcam, compared to the 0.3 megapixel one on the Eee PC 700 series.

Wireless connectivity is also a breeze on the Eee PC 900 model. In both the Windows XP and Linux versions, the unit can detect wifi signals and easily connect to available hotspots. It uses 802.11 b/g standards. The other wireless connectivity available is Bluetooth 2.0. The 10/100 megabit Ethernet port for wired connection is also available. The device also has three USB connections conveniently placed along its sides; two are on the right side and another on the left. It also has a multi-card reader that could accommodate SD cards and multimedia cards. Too bad it doesn’t support Sony memory sticks.

Asus claims the new 900 model can also run approximately 30 hours before running out of batteries, as with the 700 series. Results could vary depending on the use of the Eee PC’s other functions (wifi, Bluetooth and USB).

The Eee PC 700 was a viable solution partly because of its lower price (P17,000) but the bigger storage capacity and larger memory Eee PC 900 costs P25,000 (both the 12GB Windows and 20GB Linux versions). For some, it may be too expensive already since many full-size laptops are already priced at the same range.

Still, Asus is confident the new model will still be a niche market device for women, students and those looking for a secondary laptop they could conveniently carry around.

Posted By: IndoSourceCode


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