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My New ASUS EEE 1000H (or) How my life just got a whole lot more productive

Despite the fact that I’m not the type of person who needs new, cool things all the time, I seem to have found my way to several new electronic devices recently. One of these devices has changed what I do so drastically that it’s my obligation to talk about it.

http://www.joshcanhelp.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/eee08_sm.jpg

Asus EEE black
Asus EEE black

I bit the bullet and bought an Asus EEE 1000H (in black) and I’m psyched about it. I’m really uninterested in giving you a walk-through of every little, tiny thing so I offer the now-answered questions that formed pre-purchase, a couple of the drawbacks, and a few things I love about it.

This thing is friggen tiny

EEE vs. Vostro
EEE vs. Vostro

That is the whole point of these new netbook computers, in the end. My old laptop was portable, of course, but portable in a “need another bag to take it to the coffeeshop” kind of way. I stick this thing in the padded, zip-up case it came with, stuff it in my bookbag, and off we go. I barely notice it when it’s there and the charger combo is so small, it fits right in a side pocket. I’m able to have this with me more often which lets me get stuff done everywhere and stay very well connected as well.

David vs. Goliath
David vs. Goliath

The trade-off, of course, is the keyboard side. Someone told me the keyboard is “92%” the size of a normal one. I found it particularly difficult to type on when I first got it (especially with respect to the odd right shift key placement you will no doubt read about again and again if you are researching this computer) but I’ve gotten MUCH better. I still have more typos than a typical keyboard but I think I can actually  type a little faster on this keyboard because of the short key travel (how little it takes to press a key down) and how little my hands have to move. I’ve also gotten used to the right shift key and it hardly bothers me anymore. FYI, I look when I type about half of the time.

I will mention, however, that the screen size is quite small and a little irritating to work with. When I bought this little guy, I was not planning on doing anything too labor intensive. The width isn’t the problem, it’s the 600px height. It’s hard to get things centered just right and surfing the web (not to mention building web pages) is a bit harder than I thought it would be. Not like “damn, I really wish this screen was bigger” hard, just “I’ll do it if I need to” hard.

Windows XP on the EEE works great

I waffled back and forth about the hard drive versus the solid state drive and whether or not I wanted Window or Ubuntu Linux installed and, in the end, went with the hard drive and XP. I’m definitely pleased with this combination. Start-up is pretty good, shut down is really quick, stand-by is a dream (seconds from on to off and back), and the performance really leaves me wanting nothing more. I should mention that I replaced the included 1 GB of RAM with a 2 GB stick. The surgery was minor and I had no problems getting it to work.

Outpatient surgery
Outpatient surgery

I can definitely tell the load time for certain things is slower, the one example that sticks out in my mind being Open Office. I leave the quick start option off (I hate it when programs want to install a start-up launcher as though their program is SO important that I need quick access to it EVERY time I’m on my computer… get over yourselves) so the load time is a bit slow. On my desktop, however, it comes up about 2 or 3 times as fast. This, again, is fine depending on your expectations of this computer. I expect it to do certain things great and other things not as well. I bought it knowing that and being perfectly fine with it. If you’re expecting 3.0 GHz performance out of a 1.6 GHz machine, you will be disappointed. I am getting really crappy streaming video playback, though which is annoying. I’m going to try a movie from the hard drive and see if that makes a difference. It surfs the web as fast as my desktop and I figured the network bandwidth would be the bottleneck.

ASUS EEE Battery life is excellent

Asus claims 7 hours of battery life with this thing and I’m inclined to believe that it’s possible but maybe not optimal. On full charge, I turn the screen down as low as possible (pretty dark but still perfectly legible) and switch the mode to “Power Save” and the battery life meter says I have almost 6 hours of power remaining. I have a few programs open but I’m not really doing anything on it. I’d say 5 hours is about the most you’ll get out of it with the screen at a usable brightness and working on a couple of things. Still, 5 hours is longer than most interstate flights and longer than I can stand it at any coffeeshop.

Random thoughts

  • The touchpad seems to be an area of complaint for some people online but I have not had a problem with it. I can type just fine while keeping my wrists away from it. It’s sensitive but not too sensitive and the multi-touch functioning (zoom in, scrolling, multi-finger taps) are great (when they work properly). I have not spent a lot of time setting the touchpad up so there is likely more that I can do.
  • The screen is GORGEOUS. The brightness goes up so high that it’s almost hard to look at in a dim room. Clarity is great, colors are excellent, size takes some getting used to.
  • I don’t know what they did with the wireless in this computer but I’ve never had a computer or a phone that linked up so quickly and stayed locked onto the signal. If I put it on standby, go somewhere else that has wifi I’ve used before, and take it out of standby, it’s usually re-connected before the desktop comes up. Doesn’t disconnect randomly, gets great reception, and is just a pleasure to use.
  • Yeah, so the shiny black case gets a lot of fingerprints. Be prepared or go with the white.
  • The little zip-up case it comes with is great. It’s the perfect size and the outside feels “sticky” like soft-touch rubber or something. It collects a horrendous amount of dust but if you set it on the car seat, it doesn’t slide around and fall off. If this was intentional, it was ingenious.

A+++ would buy again

I went back and forth between this particular model and its competitors (Acer, MSI, Dell). I can’t say that I like this one better because I’ve never been about to try one of the other ones out but I can say that I’m really not left wanting anything more out of this machine. Performance was better than expected, interaction is excellent, display is great, portability is a dream… what more could I want?

I would definitely recommend this to anyone that needs a second, very mobile computer. What’s great about the netbook category of computers is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get great functionality. If I had, say, a dual-core laptop with a big screen and a DVD drive and so on, it would be a competitor with my desktop. I don’t need complete functionality on the go, I need connectivity, ease of use, reliability, and my core programs. I don’t need to play games (though I know someone who plays an old version Age of Empires on his), I don’t need to watch DVDs on a regular basis (though I can download movies to watch just fine), and I don’t need to do 3D modeling (ever). In the end, this is exactly what I needed and exactly what I got.

Mine
Mine

Well done Asus!

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