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Anyone have one of these? ASUS EEE PC
Old 12-31-2007, 11:27 AM   #1
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Anyone have one of these? ASUS EEE PC

I had been thinking about getting an iPod Touch. Not so much for music storage, but for a small wireless internet device. But the touch keyboard is very small and the screen size is so tiny.

My son suggested that I look into an Asus EEE PC -
Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!

It's a small laptop computer, no hard drive, it's flash based. It comes with a Linux OS, but I've read online that it can be used with Windows XP, although I'm fine with Linux. Once you open up a Firefox browser, it's just like what I'm used to anyways. 3 USB slots and a card slot for adding extra flash memory.

I'm not going to replace my desktop, it's for wireless internet access in the kitchen or outside or anywhere around the house. I like the size and weight and simplicity. I don't need something to fit in a pocket, like the iPod Touch, but I also don't need something as large as a regular laptop.

I'm considering the 4GB Surf model for $349.

Nice demo video here -

Does anyone here have one? What are your thoughts on quality and usability?
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Old 12-31-2007, 12:32 PM   #2
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No, but I wondered about them too. Seems like that OS with some simple aps should be able to browse & do word processing. It may get interesting getting it to print and do pictures and things but if it covers the basics I would be interested. Do you save to an external chip?
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:18 PM   #3
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I've been following the reports on the Asus Eee since early last summer. Since it's release the reviews seem to have been mostly positive. If they bring out a bit bigger screen than 7 inches, I may consider buying one myself.
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Old 12-31-2007, 06:05 PM   #4
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Does anyone here have one? What are your thoughts on quality and usability?
Yep! I have one! It's great! I got it for taking on road trips and stuff like that, as well as sitting in the lazy-boy. It's not a desktop replacement by any means, but it could be a laptop replacement quite easily.

The keyboard takes some getting used to, though it's not all that bad. The key surface is the same as a standard keyboard, but there is is VERY LITTLE gap between the keys, so the keys seem smaller. I have large hands (and fairly clumsy fingers ) but have no problems typing on it.

The screen is small, but very readable and easy on the eyes. The sounds quality is better than most laptops that I've had or used....definitely better than my Acer!

It boots up in 15 seconds, shuts down in 10 seconds. On the WIFI end of things, it picks up a LOT of wireless networks in my 'hood. My Acer and Dell both only pick up mine and the neighbor kid's directly across the street.....and the signal strengths are quite high!

I use 2 Sandisk USB Cruzers....1 for all of my photos, and 1 for documents and stuff like that. (I have those with me almost all of the time anyway, so I have access to my 'stuff' regardless of what computer I'm using) I also have a Sandisk SD card that I use for extra storage space.

If you need or want a modem.....skip the ASUS Eee.......the units sold in the USA do NOT have one regardless of anything you read or hear on the internet there is no modem. Internally they are set up for one, and there is a RJ-11 'modem' jack next to the RJ-45 Ethernet port, but it is capped off, and the actual modem is NOT there. (Then again...does anyone even use a modem anymore?)

It is roughly the size of a standard hardback book.....about 9" x 6.5" x 1.5". It weighs 2 pounds! Nice and small & lightweight!

There is no CD/DVD/Floppy drive. You can however connect USB versions of any of those. If you decide to install Windows XP on it, FULL instructions are included in the User Manual.....You'll need a WindowsXP Service Pack 2 CD, and you'll need a USB CD drive to do the install. ASUS is talking about offering WindowsXP pre-installed in the near future, but the current LINUX version is VERY user friendly, and performs very much like Windows.

It comes with a very good selection of software. Firefox browser, Thunderbird email, Open Office (which is fully compatable with MS Office), etc.

If you use an iPOD, be aware that there is no LINUX version of iTunes available......PC & Mac only!

I've only had mine for a few weeks, but thus far, I think it's great! You can read quite a few owner reviews about it on AMAZON.com. Heed the positive reviews, and IGNORE the negative reviews. I've read them all, and the 'positives' are accurate, while the 'negatives' are mostly baseless.
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:41 PM   #5
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I got one a "4G" unit (4 gig "disk" space, 512 Meg RAM, 7" diagonal screen, wireless and wired networking, 3 USB ports, SD memory card port, speakers, microphone, and a web cam) the week they came out in the US. I love the hardware: it's very lightweight and compact, well built, and has everything you need to run a good "end user" Linux system.

At two pounds and smaller in size than many For Dummies books, it'll not only fit in the front pocket of a "student" sized backpack, my wife's pocketbook, gym bag, it'll fit in there and not weigh it down so it cuts grooves in your shoulders. When sitting at one of those little round tables at Starbucks, there's room for a mouse, a mocha, a muffin, and the Eee PC. On a commuter flight tray table there's room for the laptop and a coffee. The keyboard is exactly just wide enough that I can fit my (slightly smaller than the average guy's) hands over the "home" keys and touch type, the screen size is clear and comfortable to read when I have my reading glasses on. (Without the glasses it'd have to be a big-screen TV.)

One "Upgrade" I'd recommend for the Eee is to buy a high-capacity SD card, install it, move the My Documents folder there, and use the File Manager to create a Linux "symbolic link" to make the My Documents folder on the SD card look like its located on the main drive. This does some really important things: First, is it expands the limited available hard disk space on the Eee from 1.3 gigabytes to as many as 17gigabytes, more than enough to hold all the documents I've created on my computers over the last 25 years plus all my photos and graphic files. (My music and movie files will have to continue to live on my iPod.) The SD card also makes it easy to move files to another computer (Mac, Windows, or Linux) where you can back them up or print them. If you're concerned about data security you can also remove the SD card and store it in a secure place when you're traveling, and if your travels include a partner who has his or her own My Documents folder, you can swap his and hers SD cards when you hand the computer back and forth.

I've also purchased an external CD-ROM/DVD drive for my Eee, and added an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. With these accessories the Eee becomes a very capable desktop computer that does not suffer from screen or keyboard size concerns or the screen-size issue I mention below.

Now, the bad: I found Asus did a lousy job of "localization" on my very early USA release Eee PC. The dictionary application, for example, came up with a Korean (or Chinese?) language interface and the word processing application came with English-language menus but but the Korean spell-check and grammar tools.

These problems will likely (and may already) be fixed in later releases of the Eee. Problems that aren't so easily addressed include things like running Windows applications, because while you can certainly load Windows onto an Eee, there just isn't anywhere near the disk space you'd need to install Windows and applications like Microsoft office. I wouldn't buy this computer if you depend on having access to Windows or Macintosh specific financial management or other applications.

This is also not the computer for people who run high-performance software, like multi-user gaming software. (Some of the "classic" computer games are available for Linux and will work on the Eee, though.)

And, because I think the Eee is largely limited to Linux applications, this does mean you'll be transitioning away from whatever familiar (Windows, Mac) operating environment you've been using on to Linux. The Eee does a great job of making this move reasonably painless.

The 800x480 pixel screen size is also slightly problematic. Many web pages and software applications expect a larger screen (1024x800 or larger) space, so sometimes you find yourself scrolling up, down, left, and right to see everything on the screen. There are also some configuration menus that demand more vertical screen space than the Eee has, so you have to employ some screen management tricks. (Holding the alt key and left mouse button down at the same time to move the configuration dialog box around with the mouse so you can see it all.) I rather suspect that, if the Eee PC catches on the Linux user community will fix these problems, too.

All in all, for those who are not married to their Microsoft or Apple operating system and can be comfortable with the smaller screen and keyboard size, I think the Eee PC will be a great choice for people who value portability.
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:23 PM   #6
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Insanity,
Nice post.
If I were to buy one of these it would be just for traveling - wifi acess- reading emails and web browsing - not saving anything except for an excel worksheet. I would keep my Lenovo Laptop for computing work.
Would a basic model work for that?
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Old 01-01-2008, 09:33 PM   #7
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Hmmm. I'd have no problem recommending my Eee PC to you. If you don't care for having a web cam, I'd save $50 and go for the $350 Eee PC 4G Surf, which is like mine without no web cam.

The $300 Eee PC "2G Surf" model, with no web cam and just 2 gigabytes of "disk" space (instead of 4) should do the job, too. Internet surfing is what it was designed for . . . but I am leery about recommending it when my Eee PC came with 2.7 gigabytes of software loaded, meaning Asus had to leave some software out of the 2G unit, and I don't know what software or functionality got nixed. I'm also worried that, with less disk space. there might not be sufficient storage space left to support future versions of the Firefox web browser or other software that are almost certain to need more disk space.

If it were my money I'd spend the extra $50 for the 4G Surf.
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Old 01-01-2008, 10:20 PM   #8
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Has anyone taken a look at the Nokia N95? That seems to be a pretty cool all-in-one device as well, and very portable.
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Old 01-02-2008, 12:58 AM   #9
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Asus plans to make an announcement about their next generation EeePC on January 7 2008. Rumours are, they may announce an 8.9 screen. Don't get your hopes up. Rumours had spread around a few weeks ago that they were going to bring out a 10 inch screen model, that was until Asus officially denied it. I would buy a bigger screen to use for e-mail, and be able to access bank/brokerage accounts whilst traveling.
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Old 01-02-2008, 03:01 AM   #10
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If i take your suggestion regarding the 2G Surf is the memory field upgradeable, so that I could take advantage of the latest Fry's special and upgrade the memory myself?
Also, does the WiFi support WPA2 in the Linux version?
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Old 01-02-2008, 06:51 AM   #11
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These are amazing little machines - in a way what I have been waiting for.
Thanks for the info
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Old 01-02-2008, 01:52 PM   #12
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If i take your suggestion regarding the 2G Surf is the memory field upgradeable, so that I could take advantage of the latest Fry's special and upgrade the memory myself?
Also, does the WiFi support WPA2 in the Linux version?
In order of the questions, No/Yes and Yes . . .

The Eee PC "disk" memory is consists of "flash" memory chips soldered onto the motherboard. So, unless you're willing to completely disassemble the laptop and are really good with surface-mount soldering techniques those chips are not replaceable. My eight gigabyte SD memory card, on the other hand, cost me $65 (16 gig SC cards cost around $200) and can be easily moved to my Windows laptop to sync my files up.

The 512 Meg system memory, on the other hand, is a (667 Mhz DDR2) card you can swap out with a one or two gigabyte card, no problem. 512 meg is enough for a web surfing PC, but you might want to upgrade if you like to run multiple applications at the same time (word processing, email, web browser) or you want to do some photo editing (the Eee comes with a basic graphics/photo editor and you can download GIMP, a full-featured graphics/photo editor).

My LAN at home is WPA2; my only "gotcha" with connecting to it was that I had to go in through the Network, not the Wireless Network panel. Wireless Network is really designed for helping you connect when you're hitting a wireless hotspot somewhere.
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:21 PM   #13
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One more question. Can you browse to other computers on your network and have access to the files? This assumes that the computer you are browsing to has allowed access.

We do this a lot with our computers at home. One user wants to watch a video on another computer and accesses it through the network. We are familiar with doing this in Windows XP and Vista. Does it work the same with Linux on the EEE PC?

I have a birthday coming up in February. This is looking like a great idea for a gift to myself. Maybe someone else will chip in.
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Old 01-02-2008, 11:56 PM   #14
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Yes it can, both ways, but the "discovery" of remote files and folders seems a bit on the slow side.
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:58 AM   #15
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Thanks Insanity, for the info on the memory, that's what I wondered about. Now to see what the next announcement is about, and then go looking for the bargain basement prices.
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:57 PM   #16
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I got it!

I ordered one from NewEgg.com on Sunday and it was shipped Monday and arrived here Wednesday. I'm very pleased with it. I very quickly got used to the keyboard and the screen size. I'm still using the touchpad, haven't felt the need to add a mouse.

This thing is a great idea. It won't replace my desktop, which stores all my files, but it's very handy for browsing. I can see all the other computers on our network and I can watch videos from the other computers. When I access files on another computer it says it's copying the file and then plays when it's finished. But it doesn't appear to be saving them anywhere, which is good, I just want to be able to view them.

I appreciate the tips from Insanity about using the extra memory cards. I found a 2GB SD card from Buy.com for $13.95 - Buy.com - Kingston 2GB Secure Digital Card SD - SD/2GBKR
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:20 PM   #17
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I've seen not-so-hard (for someone who can do basic soldering) hacks to bump it to 20gb internal, add bluetooth, and run windows or osx on these.
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Old 01-12-2008, 05:25 PM   #18
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I've seen not-so-hard (for someone who can do basic soldering) hacks to bump it to 20gb internal, add bluetooth, and run windows or osx on these.
I don't know about "basic soldering" skills for those upgrades. I'm pretty comfortable adding and replacing components on a traditional "drilled" PC board, but the components in the Eee are surface-mount terminal chips, which take a lot more skill to solder in. I wouldn't make it my first SMT soldering project, at least not when I can buy really tiny USB bluetooth adapters and plug extra drive memory into the SD card slot.
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Old 01-12-2008, 05:58 PM   #19
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About all some of these guys are doing is solding a USB bluetooth device and a 16gb usb memory stick to the USB pins on the inside of the case, then sticking them both to the case interior. Not really any different from plugging them into the usb slots, but you dont have anything hanging off/out of the outside, they cant be dropped, lost or stolen.

Heck, you could wire wrap that sort of thing. Basic soldering isnt even necessary...
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:13 PM   #20
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Asus made a few announcements about their Eee PC product line at the Consumer Electronics Show last week. Their major announcement was not that they've got a bigger-screen version in the works, but that they'll be adding WiMax wireless connectivity to future Eee PCs. They also announced a 16 gigabyte version that will be shipping in Japan, but the rumor mill suggests that it'll simply be an 8 gig Eee PC with an 8 gig SD card installed.

The one (and only) thing that interested me was they announced a new after-market battery for the Eee with a 4.5 to 5 hour run time. Pricing and the availability date was not announced.
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