First Look : Asus Eee PC 900

We take a quick look at the latest budget laptop from Asus - the Eee PC 900.

As with the original, the Eee PC is powered by an Asus customised Debian distribution. It has arranged the applications into various tabs - Internet, Work, Play, Settings, Learn, Favourites with easy direct links to useful things such as Google Docs, and Wikipedia, despite there being an Internet link that fires up the preinstalled Firefox browser. You'll also find Skype ready to go on the system, and there's a headphone and microphone socket on the left hand side. A good chunk of this review was written using Google docs in the browser, but the open source StarSuite 8 office suite is also included.

If you want to keep in touch with colleagues or family while travelling then you'll appreciate the now standard webcam, which has been usefully upgraded to 1.3-megapixels and in a quick test offered reasonable quality.

Battery life is quoted as 2.5 hours for the supplied 4-cell battery, but we didn't have access to the Eee PC 900 for long enough to confirm than. Sub three hours doesn't seem that impressive but a 6-cell battery is available as an option, so I would recommend specifying that to get an extra hour or so out of it. This adds to the weight but even if you're carrying this and the fairly small power brick it will still weigh you down less than most so called ultra portables.

The overall impression of the 900 though in the time we had with it was eminently positive. It was compact and cute, it's light, easy to you, and powerful too, feeling speedy and light on its feet in use. The extra display size and resolution is itself a crucial improvement that really enhances usability and productivity making it a far more desirable proposition both for individual users and for use within larger companies.

Click here for our Quick Take video on the Eee PC.

Verdict

Asus has improved the already good Eee PC, enhancing the screen size and resolution, increasing storage and adding effective multi- touch technology. If you want an affordable ultra portable for your workforce, this is it.

Processor: Intel Celeron-M ULV 353 630Mhz

Memory: 1GB DDR2 RAM

Hard disk: 20GB SSD

Graphics: Intel GMA 900

Display: 8.9in, 1,024 x 600 resolution

Ports: 3 x USB, Ethernet 100Mb/sec, SD/MMC slot, headphone, microphone, VGA

Connections: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi

OS: Debian Linux

Dimensions: 225 x 165 x 35mm (WDH)

Weight: 999g

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