With the new 10in Eee PC the ‘netbook’ has grown up. And out. And wider. But is bigger always better?
Asus doesn’t hang around. This isn’t the first time that we’ve reviewed a new iteration of its Eee notebooks before the last one has actually gone on sale and, with the Eee PC 904 on the horizon, it probably won’t be the last either.
So does the 1000 take over from the EeePC 901 as the sub-notebook to buy? The answer is a difficult one, and depends very much on what you want to use it for.
We’ve been playing around with both the Linux-powered Eee PC 1000 and its dizygotic twin, the 1000H, which runs Windows XP. The former has a 1.6GHz Atom processor, a gigabyte of RAM and a 40GB solid-state disk drive, while the latter is identical apart from a larger 80GB normal hard disk.
Both have Bluetooth and Wireless-N, a large multi-touch mousepad and software to overclock the CPU on the fly. The feature list is best in class for sub-notebooks before you even get onto the 10-inch screen – but more on that later.
Even though the 'H' model – which has an 80GB hard drive and packs Windows – is £20 cheaper, we'd argue that the familiarity of Microsoft's OS isn't worth it. The faster boot times, free applications and novelty value of using Linux is much, much better.
Battery life on both is incredible, with the Linux model still going strong after six hours with Wi-Fi on. The 1000H, meanwhile, lasted for five hours before giving up.
The main selling point is the 10in screen. At 1024x600 it’s the same resolution as the 8.9in one used in the Eee PC 901, so it’s not quite as sharp but is, overall, easier on the eyes.
The extra width to accommodate that panel means that there’s an almost full size keyboard too. For anyone who has struggled to touch type on the Eee’s diminutive keys, the sub-notebook for you has finally arrived.
But this does make the 1000 larger than the 901, and by quite a bit. The danger is that this transforms it from being a low cost but stylish and powerful netbook into, well, a cheap laptop.
This isn’t an inherently bad thing: you could even use it as your main PC. Providing you don’t do much in the way of Photoshop or movie editing, you won’t really tell the difference between this and a similarly priced dual-core laptop.
But it isn’t, for want of a better phrase, ultra-portable any more. And that leaves it in a tough spot. If you want the larger screen and keyboard it’s hard not to recommend the smaller, better looking MSI Wind. For us, the very best combination of style, price and portability is still the Eee PC 901, and only those with sausage fingers are likely to disagree.
Asus Eee PC 1000 review
A giant among Eee PCs, but for a micro-notebook that’s not necessarily a good thing