Somehow word of the ASUS Eee PC flew under my radar. I had no clue as to its existence until the first week of November (two weeks after the US launch) when a colleague at work informed me of this low cost ultra compact portable computer. After hearing the brief details and that the computer would come pre-installed with Linux, my reaction was WOW! That sounds way cool! I quickly searched for it on the internet when I got back to my office. After seeing the info on the ASUS and the EeeUser web sites, I just had to have one of these computers.
Before looking at the unboxing, lets look at the direct copy of the Eee PC features from the ASUS website:
Mobility & Reliability
• At 7? and weighing only 0.92kg (2 lbs.), you can take the Eee PC anywhere.
• Bumps and shocks are no longer issues. With a dependable solid-state disk, you get
unparalleled shock-protection and reliability.
• Power-efficient design provides longer operating time when on the go.
Ease & Technology
• With a rapid start-up time, the Eee PC is always ready to get into action.
• No technical manual required with the specially designed, user-friendly and intuitive graphic interface.
Work & Connectivity
• You’re always connected with built-in WiFi 802.11 b/g that automatically detects and connects to the Internet at any hotspot.
• The Eee PC includes the documents and the e-mails software, and a suite of other productivity software to help keep you on track.
• Upload photos and videos and share them instantly on Flickr or YouTube without waiting till you get home.
Media & Entertainment
• Enjoy music and videos with extensive support for a wide range of digital multimedia.
• Log on to Skype or other network, and you can connect with friends anywhere, anytime.
• Clear up wire clutter with the built-in card reader, camera, speakers, and microphone.
Wow! All that with a 4 GB SSD (solid-state disk) and 512MB of operating RAM contained in a nice sleek little package for $399. That is incredible! I saw the Eee as the perfect portable computer for me to blog with and write Gear Diary posts on. I immediately wanted one. But, upon checking out the ASUS micro site for model details, I learned that there will be an 8GB SSD model with 1 GB of RAM due out at the end of November with an expected price of $499. I really want one right away, but I also wanted the additional storage space that the 8GB model will offer. To have to wait a few more weeks would be agony! I asked Judie for her opinion and her response was, “Wait for the better one! Of course!”
So, Wait I did. Along the way, I almost caved into buying the 4GB model about four times. The end of November came and there was no word on the 8GB model. After another week, I lost hope of the 8GB model coming out this year. Then on Thursday of last week, I checked NewEgg and there was something different on the search results. The 8GB model was listed as being in stock! I was so surprised. This was what I wanted! But, I also felt like not buying. A month of thinking while waiting for a release of a product sometimes melts the excitement away for me. Well, I must have thought it over a bit more for about twenty minutes. I ultimately decided that I wanted the Eee PC 8GB and placed my order. I had NewEgg ship the Eee PC FedEx standard overnight, so I could have the weekend to check it out. The Eee arrived the next day in the afternoon and had a few hours to adjust to room temperature (the Eee spent most of the day in the back of a cold FedEx truck) while it waited for me to return home from work.
The shocking part is, after I returned home from work . . . I did not open the shipping box. That’s right! I was too tired to do anything except veg out in front of the TV. The next day wasn’t any better. While I did open the shipping box and take the Eee PC box out. I did not unbox the computer yet. I spent Saturday vegging out more in front of the TV. Well, another day, Sunday… I knew that I had to unbox the Eee PC and put together something for the unboxing. And here it is:
The Eee PC box, pretty simple and friendly looking. On the top is printed what the Eee stands for, which is “Easy to earn, Easy to Work, Easy to Play.” There is a picture of five Eee PC’s all fanned out to show the different available colors.
While the top of the box shows five Eee PC colors, there appears to be actually six. On the side of the box is another picture showing the six colors of pearl white, black, pure white, pink, blue, and green. The 4GB and 8GB models currently shipping are in the pearl white color. There is word on the eeeuser.com forums that the pure white is for the $349.99, 4GB Surf model. The pearl white that the 4GB and 8 GB comes in, is kinda of silky in appearance and looks very nice. I could be wrong, but the finish on the pearl white Eee PC looks like paint.
Opening the box, the first thing to be seen is the Eee PC Quick Use Guide. It appears to be a general guide for the 4GB Surf, 4GB, and 8GB models.
Underneath the User Guide is the Eee PC itself wrapped in a soft anti-static bag.
Removing the Eee PC and the cardboard inserts reveals the accessories and manuals in the bottom of the box.
Very true to ASUS’s “easy” claim, the contents of the box are very basic. The complete contents of the box, from the top left, power supply, Eee PC manual and warranty card, travel optical mouse, battery pack, slip case, Quick Use Guide, and the Eee PC.
The ASUS logo is done up in gold and set into a matching carve out on the lid.
Here is a close-up of the much talked about “warranty void” sticker covering one of the panel screws on the memory/SSD compartment panel. There was several threads and posts about this sticker on the EeeUser forum on if breaking this sticker to perform a memory upgrade would really void the warranty. As of this past weekend, ASUS released a press release about the warranty sticker. Not to knock ASUS. But, seems like much legal babel stating that the end user is taking their chances with performing their own upgrades. However, good news is that ASUS will not refuse warranty service to anyone with a broken sticker.
Touch pad – Interesting things are the scroll bar on the right side of the touch pad and the click button bar is one piece.
The keyboard and touch pad are a bit scaled down to fit the smallness of the Eee PC. Things seem a bit cramped, but time will tell if things are a bit too small.
Closeup of the power button, nicely done in chrome to match the touch pad click bar.
Closeup of the built-in webcam. It is in the middle of the top of the LCD. I have always not liked the webcam being placed in this spot as on most portable computers, placement is where your thumb would land upon opening the lid. On the Eee PC, you can see there is enough of the frame to prevent your thumb from smudging the lens.
On the lower right edge of the case is four LED lights for power on, battery charging, SSD activity, and WI-FI.
On the right side of the Eee is the MMC/SD/SDHC memory card reader slot, two USB 2.0 ports, VGA monitor out, and a universal security slot for attaching a security cable.
On the left side of the Eee is the ethernet jack, a USB 2.0 port (for a total of three USB ports), microphone and headphone jacks. There is also grills for the fan exhaust. Next to the ethernet jack is what looks like a RJ-11 jack which is covered by a rubber insert glued into place. Why is the RJ-11 jack covered? The specs and product information released by ASUS does not mention a modem. According to eeeuser.com, the RJ-11 jack is present, but the internal MDC board is not present. I suppose that to keep cost down, the modem board was left out. Or someone at ASUS figured that almost nobody uses dial-up these days.
The battery pack is a Li-ion 4-cell with a rating of 7.4 Volts with 5200 mAH. The ASUS specs says that the battery will last 3.5 hours. Thats not too bad for a device like this, but for a device without a mechanical hard drive, I was hoping for maybe double the rated number of hours. I sure hope that ASUS releases a 8-cell battery as an option accessory in the near future. That would be awesome to get 7 hours on a full charge.
The printing on the battery pack and the power button, is partially exposed with the lid closed. There is not need to worry everything appears flush, so there does not appear to be a chance of accidentally turning on the Eee.
The power supply of the Eee is very small and has a fold up prongs. There is a generous amount of cord. I am guessing maybe ten feet of cord. ASUS thought of everything, they even give you a velcro strap to tie the cord up. Nice!
To protect the Eee right out of the box, ASUS bundled a custom neoprene slip case. It is a simple case with a velcro closure on the flap. On the outside of the flap is a vinyl panel with the ASUS logo. Use of the slip case will sure help to protect the finish on the Eee during transport.
A bonus included with the 8GB Eee is a ASUS branded Logitech optical mouse. Thats right, the 4GB model did not come with a optical mouse. I am sure that some early adopters are going to be jumping up and down when they find out about this.
The mouse is wired and connects via USB. The USB connector snaps onto the bottom of the mouse and covers the optical portal.
Unsnapping the USB connector allows the cord to unwind from the channel in the side of the mouse. The mouse is a mini travel size and for me feels a bit awkward to use, as I never used a mouse other than the standard desktop kind. I am not sure if I would be using the optical mouse much, but it makes me happy that ASUS was nice enough to include it.
The screen is set in a black frame which contains the webcam and stereo speakers on the sides of the screen.
Over the past month while I was reading up on all I could about the Eee PC, I learned that early adopters have been hacking, and testing the Eee with various software and OS setups. While I do not currently have plans on running Windows XP on my Eee. I do want to install and try other Linux software. I am glad that I waited for the 8GB Eee as the extra SSD capacity will allow for the installation of many applications. Thanks Judie, for suggesting that I wait for the better one!
17 Responses to “ASUS Eee PC 8GB Unboxing”
- 1 alexk Dec 11th, 2007 at 11:10 amFinally! I was wating for an article on the EeePC on geardiary for weeks This is such a cool device. To me this is a new category of computer and will change the market quite a bit.It would be great if you could tell us more about working with the computer. How does the keyboard feel like (can you type with ten fingers?)? Is the screen large enough for office documents and surfing the internet? How about additional Linux software, is it difficult to install? So many questions
- 2 wastan Dec 11th, 2007 at 3:02 pmHow easily does this version of Linux handle networking?
- 3 Dec 11th, 2007 at 5:43 pmI agree with Alex … I’ve got a billion questions.Need more info!Specifically on useability. I can figure out about the different OS and things like that, but agood write-up on useability, display, portability and whatnot would be greatly appreciated!!!
- 4 Ellen Beeman Dec 11th, 2007 at 8:52 pmWonderful review! I’m also very interested in the usability of the keyboard, and also how well the screen works in various light conditions. And I’m -really- hoping to start reading accounts of how people are installing Windows XP on this, but I’m not going to presume that you’ll be making that experiment!—Ellen
- 5 reidme Dec 12th, 2007 at 8:08 amI bit for the 4GB black model and was pretty impressed, but ended up returning it after a week. Biggest disappointments:(1) Poor battery life. Watching the meter drop in 10% chunks as you use it is pretty disconcerting.(2) Small screen. All that wasted area around the bezel bugged me too much.(3) Flaky wi-fi connectivity. I often had to reset my wireless router to get it to connect.(4) Standy mode sucks batteries too fast to be useful. Startup/shutdown is much faster than windows, but certainly not instant-on. I really want something that starts/stops almost instantly, but uses almost no battery when off.(5) No touch screen. On a device that small (with no mouse) the urge is irresistible to touch the screen.The ee is a great value in mini-laptops and about the only choice for those of us who are non-Windows inclined, but I think I’ll wait for the ee2.Mark
- 6 Allen Hong Dec 12th, 2007 at 9:19 pmAlex: Yes, it has been quite a wait for the Eee 8GB model. I agree with you on the Eee changing things in the market. This post was just the unboxing and I was planning on updates on the usage of the Eee. BUt, I will tell you that the keyboard is smaller and tight… typing with all ten fingers does not work for me. My fingers on the home keys was uncomfortable. So far for my typing I am using two to three fingers on each hand. I think the keyboard itself has a nice soft responsive feel to it. The screen size appears ok for now. But, on some web sites I do have to scroll left/right. I have yet to try to install software, will be doing that soon.wastan: The Xandros Linux that comes on the Eee works with no problems on my Linksys router with wireless and wired. There is a wizard to walk you through the different types of networks. I did a manual setup and found it as simple as doing it with the wizard.Brandon: Yep, more info is coming.Ellen: Thanks! See my response to Alex on the keyboard. The screen is nice and bright, but I still need to try it in varying lighting conditions. Uh, sorry to disappoint… I currently have no interest in installing Windows XP. My major draw to the Eee was the Linux. On the eeeuser.com forums there is tons of chatter about installing every OS out there.reidme: I am sorry to hear that your experience with the Eee was not a good one. So far I am happy with the battery, though I have wondered why it does not get more time. SSD should use less power than a platter based hard drive. The screen size and bezel does not bother me. Maybe I am used to a small screen from playing Nintendo DS all the time. I am not having any problems with the wireless setup with my Linksys. Weird that you would have to reset your router to establish a connection. I have not tested standby mode yet. Oh, a touch screen on a Eee, that would be the ultimate!
- 7 Allen Hong Dec 12th, 2007 at 9:37 pmFYI, I just learned the official color names for the Eee PC.
They are:Blush PinkPure WhiteLush GreenSky BlueGalaxy BlackPearl White
- 8 reidme Dec 13th, 2007 at 7:43 amAllen,I liked the ee, and wrestled with returning it, but with a gadget graveyard in my closet the buyer’s remorse got to me. Certainly I think it’s worth the price.I have a linksys router also, so the connectivity problems may not have been the ee’s fault. I never took the time to properly diagnose it.Of course, the screen size and lack of touch screen were features I was aware of before buying. I’m used to small screens because my current favorite device is my Palm Centro. It just got to me that so much more screen could be packed in the same size device (which would probably make battery life even worse.)I’m still happily searching for my dream device. Maybe this dream will come true: http://www.brighthand.com/default.asp?newsID=13557Thanks for the great review.Mark
- 9 wastan Dec 14th, 2007 at 10:04 amHow is the build quality (sturdy hinges, tight seams, etc.)? I’m hoping eee would be useful for a category of device “more than PDA, less than laptop” which would entail frequent opening and closing, occasionally tossed into a bag, quick boot and shutdown and the like. If the materials and construction won’t hold up to this, then you might as well use a more full featured laptop.
- 10 Allen Hong Dec 31st, 2007 at 8:47 pmwastan: After a couple of weeks with the Eee PC, I can say that the build quality of the unit is good. The hinges on the screen look to be sturdy to hold up to daily opening and closing for some time. Seams are tight and lined up too. Boot up and shutdown times are very quick compared to an Windows XP laptop. I will include boot and shutdown times in a follow up post on the Eee.
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