The Trouble with Traditional Laptops:
Modern consumer laptops are just too damn big to actually be realistically portable. Secondly, they’re just too expensive to take anywhere without feeling like you’re babysitting it all the time.
Why did I buy an EEE PC instead of a traditional laptop?
Size matters. Only having to carry around 2 lbs of laptop is a huge selling point. Not to mention that it’s only 125cm wide 90cm long and 15cm thick. It’s just tiny. The trade off is that the screen is even smaller and the keyboard takes some getting used to as well. The 900 model has a slightly larger screen but the jump in price wasn’t worth it. The other nice thing about size is that I can use it in public without everyone gawking at me and my screen. Even at work people will give me that “OMFG U got A Laptopzor! Dya got any games!?”. Nobody will even notice the EEE PC. I can even comfortably turn it on it’s side and read it like a book.
The price. The performance of the EEE PC benchmarks about about half of what a normal consumer grade $1000 laptop can do. The 4G surfer model retails at around $350. The other advantage is that if disintegrates or simply walks away I’m not out a grand or more.
There’s no hard drive. Hard drives are mechanical spinning discs that don’t appreciate being shaken or knocked around. Logic dictates it might be a bad idea to carry such a hard drive around in a laptop. The EEE PC uses static memory like that of an SD card in a digital camera. There isn’t a lot of memory but it won’t crash on you if you slip on the ice while carrying it. Secondly, going back to the disintegration slash walk away factor, if the EEE PC does do this, you won’t be out half a terabyte of your most precious data. I picked up a 16GB usb drive for portable storage I use my desktop at home for primary storage.
I also bought it to plug my gps into but I haven’t gotten that far with it yet. I only bought it a couple days ago. Apparently it works quite well and fits nicely on the dash of my car. I expect it’ll make an excellent mp3 player for the car too. It plays movies well but I still think drivers who watch movies while driving are suicidal.
The one thing I don’t trust about reviews by consumers for consumers is that nobody wants to admit that they paid too much money for a piece of crap because that’s just admitting to their own stupidity. As a result, you get all these rave reviews for crap. So to counter that, I’ll should point out the negatives I found about the EEE PC thus far.
The screen resolution is pretty hard to deal with. It’s native resolution is 800×480 but I keep mine at 800×600 and just accept a tiny bit of distortion.
The touch pad is ok but the button attached is really hard to press. It’s just one button where you press the right side for the right mouse button and the left side for the left button. I generally just tap the touch pad for a left click but I’m still stuck using this really stiff button for the right. Before long, I just grabbed a USB mouse and used that instead. I personally miss those eraserheads from old think pads but I’m probably in a minority there.
I realize that Linux Ubuntu helped keep the price low and it’s great and wonderful to use linux like it’s a free range chicken but I’m fairly new to linux myself. I’m not very eager to try and navigate a whole new operating system via this little machine. I confess that I threw Windows XP on it nearly right away. You can buy a slightly more expensive model with windows preinstalled. I recommend that route for novice users. Installing windows via a USB thumb drive is tricky.
So in summary, I love this little machine and most of the negatives can be worked around with some tweaking. Even the small screen can be worked around by just plugging it into a normal PC screen. For the price, what do you have to lose? If you don’t like it, give it away as a gift or just return it.