The New Asus Netbook the Eee PC 901 | Easy to learn, Easy to Work, Easy to Play
For Asus, clearly the market leader in the netbook niche, the new Asus netbook the Eee PC 901 is a renewed attempt to maintain the lead the industry in the face of other models such as the Acer Aspire One whilst ironing out the problems of the previous model Eee PC, the 900.
Better In Every Way?
The Asus Eee PC 901 is a beefed-up variant of the original Eee PC 900 with much improved looks over the previous model but the improvements are not just on the surface.
The build itself has been reinforced, a much ‘meatier’ hinge fitted as well as the edges smoothed over to create a less box-like, toy-like appearance than that of the 900./
Previous Asus netbooks have been a little on the delicate side but Asus have seemingly gone all out with the durability of the 901 and done a very good job.
The screen remains at 8.9” with 1024x600 resolution which at this time represents the standard for this size of netbook. This provides a good compromise between screen size and usability. It's fine for browsing, emails, video and light office duties.
Inside, the battery is greatly improved with 5 hours or more battery life thanks to the standard 6-cell Li-Ion, 6600 mAh 7.4V common with the large 1000 models. A common failing of many low end netbooks is the poor battery life rendering them almost useless for using for any amount of time away from a power point but those days are gone with the 901.
The processor is different; the former 900 MHz Intel Celeron gives way to the more powerful and energy efficient 1.6GHz ‘Atom’, noticeably boosting performance with several applications open. That's not to say performance is blistering but once again its fine for the type of work the 901 is designed for.
The enhanced processor coupled with the solid state hard drive and the absence of moving parts results in a cooler and quieter machine with smaller air vent also cutting down noise, leaving the Eee PC 901 almost silent in most situations.
Other extras on the Eee PC 901 include bluetooth and wireless networking as standard.
All the improvements and extras however, particularly the battery pack, make the 901 fractionally larger and heavier than its half-sister at 1.1kg, although the extra weight shouldn’t really be that noticeable.
The keyboard hasn't changed a bit. One the whole it’s adequate for the job, although the height of the keys are somewhat limiting. None the less they’re just wide enough to touch type on (with practice) but we couldn't really recommend using an Eee PC 901 for prolonged periods of writing.
Windows XP or Linux.
The 901 is available in Windows XP or Linux versions and while the Linux version is cheaper we would probably have to say that most users will be happier with the windows version, not because its superior but simply because its what they are familiar with.
The Linux based operating system has an excellent boot-up time (compared with the Windows XP version) of around 20 seconds, or 5 seconds from standby. It comes with a range of pre-installed applications that cover most of the basic functions you would want from a device such as the 901.
Among the included applications is Skype which works with the 1.3 megapixel webcam and microphone allowing for video conversation. There is also a selection of OpenOffice programs.
Perhaps a more exciting feature is ‘Play’ which has all your music, videos, games (including some pre-installed, although they lack imagination), photos, webcam and sound recorder.
In general the Asus Eee PC 901 linux version has a very simple and easy-to-use interface. In fact, Asus are so confident in its user-friendly interface that they’ve scrapped the technical manual. After all, the ‘E’s in Eee PC stand for “Easy to learn, Easy to Work, Easy to Play.”.
Overall, the Asus Eee PC 901 is excellent value for money and makes the use of an Asus netbook for serious work a distinct possibility. Previously any smaller screened Asus netbook has been great for on the move computing but in all honesty they have not been the easiest of PC's to use due to the compromises in screen, keyboard size and battery life.
With the 901 you have a superb package that is truly usable for most of the tasks you might use a full size laptop for but with a fraction of the size, weight and cost you associate with the 'grown up' versions.
If we have to find something negative then typing for long periods is still a chore but we think with the 901 Asus may have hit the bullseye in the dartboard of compromises matching size and usability perfectly.
This is one Asus netbook we will be using for a long long time.
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