From a post I made over at Horizons Unlimited – these are my intial thoughts after using the Asus as a primary machine for a week whilst being away – full review to follow in a month once I’ve used it properly.


My new AsusOkay so a quick update before the full review gets going – I’m using the ‘wee beastie’ as my primary machine whilst I’m away with work at the moment – so it’s getting heavily used each day.I’ve been scared about messing with the OS too much as I’m away from another machine that will help me fix it – but I have updated all the software and run the advanced mode – had a little explore of Xandros as a distro and played with it’s more esoteric features.

OS – Xandros is a bitch if you’re used to more power and flexibility in your OS, it’s perfect for the Eee, but it’s going as soon as I get a chance to flash to Ubuntu – YMMV depending on your computer know-how and it’s not something I’d recommend for the feint of heart. The boot time on Ubuntu if done properly is only 5 seconds longer than Xandros – worth the wait IMHO.

Build quality – fantastic, very sturdy little machine, been thrown in and out of my bag all week with no visible abuse – comes with a handy little neoprene bag to keep it’s beautiful baby blue cover nice and pristine – no use on the motorbike yet.

Keyboard – takes some getting used to, and even after a week (I’m a touch typist) there’s no illusion that I’ll be putting out 20 page documents – but I can type at about 80% of my usual speed and for blog posts, forums and email that’s sufficient.

Wi-Fi – works like a charm – in easy mode and advanced mode alike it finds and connects exactly like a windows machine, but perhaps not as simply as a Mac – easy to see what’s going wrong if it can’t connect and direct comparison between an IBM thinkpad and MacBook Pro show it sees the same number of connections, it is a little over-optimistic about signal strength though.

Web cam – what do you expect? It’s not as wonderfully clear as an iSight on the Mac, but then again it’s perfectly useable in everything except very strong back light – perfectly sufficient for Skype (once you’ve installed the Skype update).

Storage – I have the 4gb version and was left with a little over a gig after the OS instal – that’s a little tight but after using if for a week I’ve not had any problems – docs are quite small when saved in Open Office format (it ships with open office, but you can save the docs as MS Office should you wish), the video I download I’m dumping to my cameras 2gb SD card and I’m leaving my photos on the camera SD card, uploading directly to flickr. 

The built in SD card reader is well placed, it takes a while to soften up a little – I was slightly worried about how stiff if was when first using it – but no damage to the cameras SD card as it’s been in and out all week. If you’re going to run Windows I’d suggest you install it to a sep SD card or a USB memory stick.

I’m going to be buying an 8gb SD card from Amazon – £14.53 – to leave in there to store videos / photos etc if I really need them – but frankly I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.

Sound – the in-built speakers it ships with are not going to power your house party, but they’re perfectly useable if it’s quiet and you’re on your own – you’ll probably want to plug in some headphones though, and the volume from those if perfectly sufficient.

These are my initial thoughts and I’m sure they’ll shift as I play a little more – I’ll post here as I discover new stuff that may help others – my next step is too see if I can mess around with short AVIs I’ve shot on the stills camera to do video podcasting whilst on the road…..