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.
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.