Netbook pioneer Asus provides a solid entry into the category with the Eee PC 1000H, but the keyboard may be a deal breaker.
By: John Dodge
There's a lot to like about the Eee PC line of netbooks from Asus-a netbook pioneer-but I found the keyboard to be a deal breaker.
, part of Taiwan computer giant ASUSTek Computer, is credited with igniting the netbook boom in 2007, following in the footsteps of the Psion
and One Laptop Per Child
The Asus Eee PC 1000H, the model I tested, is a lot of netbook for the money-about $300. In addition to a 160GB hard disk, the netbook provides three USB ports and a six-cell lithium ion battery that promises 7 hours of life on a single charge in the XP version (6 with Linux). Other netbook batteries in that price range have three and four cells and proportionately less endurance on a single charge.
The Asus system I tested had three display resolutions, with 1,024 by 600 at the top end. As with all of the netbooks I tested, images tend to jump around when the cursor arrow hits the sides of the display.
Speaking of the 10-inch backlit LED display, the Eee PC tilted back so that the system could be opened and laid flat on a table (passing my slouchability test with flying colors). The Lenovo IdeaPad S10
, in contrast, tilts about halfway back from the upright position, and the HP Mini
tilts only a few degrees.
I also liked the position of the two touch-pad buttons on the Eee PC-horizontally across the bottom, as opposed to vertically up the sides of the touch-pad, as on the HP Mini.
At 3.2 pounds, the Eee PC 1000H is heavier than the skinny HP Mini and, obviously, bulkier. That's not entirely a bad thing because I found the HP Mini and Lenovo IdeaPad S10 netbooks so light and svelte that they were hard to balance on my lap or across the top of a crossed leg.
The Eee PC comes with built-in 802.11b, g and n, and performance was good during tests. The Eee PC also features Bluetooth support and includes Microsoft Works, a relatively robust suite of office tools.
John Dodge is a freelance writer and worked for eWEEK for 16 years as editor and news editor. Visit his blog at www.dodgeretort.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.