First Two Days Out With The Eee

I wasn’t planning to write about my experience with the Eee this soon but I’m so excited about this thing I just couldn’t wait.

Yesterday morning I headed out the door with just the Eee in my bag, leaving the MacBook Pro on my desk at home. While it probably isn’t as good for my self-imposed weight loss program, it did feel nice to have a lighter bag. I chucked the AC adaptor in my bag so I could charge the unit up at university should I need to.

On the train I hooked up my USB HSDPA modem so I could check my regular news sites and respond to some emails. I chatted with Judie for a bit on MSN, and worked on an essay in Microsoft Word, both which gave me a good opportunity to test out the keyboard. Despite its size I found it great to type on, rarely hitting the wrong key or having to even look down. The keys do tap a bit when pressed, but I’m not about the knock marks off it for that.

Surfing over HSDPA was a joy, with pages loading up quickly and the machine never bogging down with over 10 tabs open in Firefox. Web surfing is probably the main area where the lower screen resolution is a problem. These days websites tend to dislike anything with a resolution below 1024×768, so the horizontal scroll bar was in permanent residence. For some sites I would switch to 1000×600 (using the AsTray hack) for ease of navigation.

Compared to my dad’s gigantic 12″ Dell

While at uni, a couple of my classmates and I were chatting about the movie we would be watching in class the next day, but none of us knew what it was about. Eee to the rescue! Balanced on my hand, I was soon surfing IMDB and had the movie details up within seconds.

On the train ride home I worked on my short film script for screenwriting class in an application called Celtx. Bare in mind I didn’t have the app on my Eee yet, so a quick visit to the website and it was downloaded and installed.

Since I was using my USB modem as opposed to my ExpressCard, the modem was dangling around off the side of the machine. I had the idea of using some velcro to stick it to the back of the display to hold it in place when using it. So last night I gave it a shot and here is the result.

This is so handy, I can chuck the Eee in my bag without having to disconnect the modem first, it’s as close to being internal as it’s going to get!

Today I again only brought the Eee with me. I got into the city a bit early so I could sit at the coffee shop and work on my script. Within minutes of opening the Eee up next to my latte (which it was barely taller than) somebody asked me about it. Bear in mind I have brought the Fujitsu U1010 and HTC Shift to this same coffee shop and neither got looks.

The Eee is a much better machine to use on the over-sized armrests at uni (I certainly wouldn’t call them tables), it fits with enough room left for a can of Diet Coke 😉

Battery life is roughly 2.5-3hrs, which doesn’t surprise me since I have been giving it a hammering (max brightness, HSDPA connected 100% of the time, several standbys and resumes). With the charger in my bag, I easily get it charged up while in class. I just wish my BatteryGeek worked with it :(

So as you can probably tell I am pretty pleased with my purchase. At the time I wasn’t so sure, but for now I am stoked! Let’s just hope it’s not one of those holiday romances…

EDIT: I forgot to add the Eee also makes for a great video player. Using VLC this was able to handle any DivX video file I through at it, whether it be high or low bitrate/resolution. Even handled playback over WiFi well!

Posted from the Eee over HSDPA on the train 😀

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24 replies

  1. I have seriously been thinking about getting one of these. My desk top is starting to get ancient….6 years in the real world…106 years in the computer world. I can’t wait to see how you like to for a longer period of time.

    Are you using the linux os right? I wonder if XP would be a big performance difference?

  2. Nah mate I only booted Linux once (when I got in my car after buying it :D). When I got home I immediately chucked Windows XP Home SP2 onto it. Performance has been fantastic, absolutely no complaints.

    I did upgrade my machine to 1GB RAM though using an old stick of RAM I had laying around, not sure what difference it made since I did it soon after installing XP. RAM is cheap though, so worth the upgrade anyway.

  3. I must be getting old and cranky. Please explain this current trend for underpowered and undersized notebooks.

    I remember buying my first “laptop” – it was a NEC versa. Looks remarkably like these new offerings. I didn’t like it then….. soo…. :)


  4. Well, Kevin here’s my take on this.

    Usage of laptops is changing fast and people are looking at devices with specific, focused usage scenarios in mind. It makes a lot of sense to have more choice than a do-all device. Power multimedia laptops are not very useful for just emailing, Web surfing and office apps. A small device that can serve these very well is fantastic. Personally, I don’t want to have to bring a Power notebook with me when I’m out and about. I like having my big workhorse laptop at home though. Hence, why having more than one laptop with specific jobs in mind make more sense to me. The fact that they are cheap, very light and toned down make them better at doing these simpler tasks. Why bring the nuclear reactor when all you need is small candle to read at night?

    Enter the cut-down laptop!

  5. Bjenk: Absolutely! I have 2 laptops I use on a regular basis. My Eee is the one I take around the house. It’s in every room I am in no matter where I am. It also goes to work with me and I am more likely to take it to meetings then my mammoth Lenovo T60.

    With that said, I take both my T60 and the Eee with me to work everyday. Sometimes I just need the bigger screen the T60 has. Most times the 800×480 screen on the Eee is enough.

  6. Reasonable explanation, Bjenk, and as a power consumer myself I can seeing your reasoning. :) I still think I’m getting old and cranky though….



  7. Joel, yes you bring a point I forgot to say: home use. A small cut-down device like the Eee is incredibly useful to take a quick peek at something on the Web, check emails while we have or want to be somewhere else than at the desk. Its a much more versatile use and I believe progress in computing is when the devices integrate more fully into our daily habits and disapear in whatever we do every day.

    In the 1930s the Sears catalogue was showing a small electrical motor. It was the rage and people was marveling and dreaming at the possibilities this new technology would offer. We don’t see electrical motors much anymore because they have disappeared into appliances and such. The same thing is happening to computers: they are disappearing into applications and different kind of devices to serve daily habits and stuff we do. The further away from the traditional “This is a computer” the less 1980 I feel!

  8. Mitchell: Would you be willing to explain how you put XP on the EEE. I have the 4G 701 with Linux and would love to install XP but I’m really a newbie and would definitely need coaching.

  9. Thanks Mitchell!!! I can definitely see upgrading the RAM. Any mention of the max amount, could you go to 2 gigs?

    As for XP, it didn’t come with it, you had your own copy, correct?


  10. I have a desktop at home, and a work laptop that weighs a ton. When I travel and want to have internet access, I have to lug the giant laptop around. Something like this would be great. I’m not a high demand user: music, web, office, and a little photo editting. This sounds like it would be great for me.

  11. Ellen: Take a look at this guide, tells you everything you need to know about installing from an external CD/DVD drive –

    Alternatively, if you don’t have a USB CD drive, take a look at this guide. More work than the other option –

    Heatwave: The hardware supports 2GB, but I don’t think the default Linux OS does. Would work fine with another linux version or XP.

    Yeah I had the CD from my desktop since bought Vista for it. If I’d had to buy a new XP CD it would have added 50% to the price!

    In the few days I’ve had it I have done all those things on my Eee. I created the above post completely on the Eee, including resizing and colour correcting an image or two.

  12. Very nice! I love these “here’s how I use my (you name it) posts”. It either shows how useful it’ll be for me or gives me ideas on how to better use my tech.


  13. I’m glad to see you like your Eee so much, Mitchell! I’ve had mind for a few months now and can barely imagine life without it…although your post now makes me want a USB modem to go with it. :-) I actually run Ubuntu on mine and upgraded it to 2GB of RAM, so it’s nice and screaming fast. I do a lot of writing and blog posting on mine and lug it with me almost anywhere.

    In fact, last night when we had to evacuate our building due to someone hitting the power line pole and yanking the lines almost all the way out of our outside walls, I grabbed the Eee and chucked it into my bag JUST in case. That wouldn’t have been so easy with my other more cumbersome laptop setup!

  14. I was just reading that Acer and MSI are going to have computers to rival the Eee. MSI is interesting in that it comes with an 80gig solid state drive.

    Looks like we may soon have lots of choices in the tiny notebook department. I think Dell is jumping in as well.

  15. I’m very interested in trying out the new Dell, I’ve owned several Dell’s in the past and they were great.

  16. I’m still a little causious on Dell. I heard about how they got in trouble for using old parts in their computers. I know they are trying to turn their image around, but I’ll wait for the reviews. :)

  17. Looks like a great device Mitchell!

    I’ve always loved the UMPC’s, but never found one that had enough power to satisfy yet have a reasonable pricepoint.

    I have a Dell XPS M1210 like the one in your comparison shot and find it extremely useful with the 9 cell battery.

    I’d love to get an EEE (with XP) max out the RAM and use it as my travel email, web browsing PC.

  18. I’m still greatly confused about the use of all these different types of smaller machines.. Laptops, subnotebooks, ultra-lights, UMPCs and the list goes on..

    I recently received a Toshiba R500 for work and I travel extensively.. I can’t carry more than one machine and withe the R500 its not that much bigger than a EEE so what do I ned the EEE for. I also live in a small flat and believe me, the R500 travels from the couch to the bedroom just fine.. :-) Granted the R500 has a crap screen so at work I use the port rep and hook up to a nice keyboard and flat screen to eliminate that issue..

    But really, why contort myself into jamming things onto an 8g or less drive when I have 120 on my R500 and the battery life is probably close to the same… The trade-offs mentioned keep me from ever considering using an EEE and the fact that new EEEs are expanding to the size of the R500 make me really shake my head…

    Maybe I have just found my comfort spot and that insatiable, illogical, and irrational gadget part of my being won’t let me sit still.. 😉

  19. To be honest, the only reason I have an Eee as opposed to a Tablet PC or something else is because I’m a poor uni student 😛 If I could have got something better I probably would have, but since I can’t this seems to be doing the job quite nicely.

  20. I understand the poor part. I’m still paying for school, plus the auto company and the bank insist that I send them money every month for my car & house. I don’t know what their problem is. :)

    I always want the latest and most advanced tech toy out there, but I’m trying to be honest about my needs. I don’t really need it to have a super duper graphics card, because I don’t do online gaming or video editting. That’s why I think this might be a good idea.

    I know you were using a modem. I thought it had a built-in wireless card, or is that a different model.

  21. Hi

    Witch model is it you tested?

  22. Looking at it visually it appears that the screen is much smaller than the frame/bezel.

    Was this to keep the price cheap or lower power? Seems v2 would address that.

  23. The iphone is begging for a bluetooth keyboard (maybe one exists?) and a stand. Just turn your iphone sideways, place into the stand, and start typing and use it as a micropc when in a pinch.



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