I’ve been waiting a while to see the new ASUS Eee PC and whether it matched my desires for a portable machine that’s light and usable. My primary criteria for choosing a laptop is weight. I’ve travelled a fair bit for work, whether it be interstate or international, and both my current laptop (IBM T60 Thinkpad) and my old one (IBM T41 Thinkpad), were a wee bit on the heavy side. Moreso the T60 as it’s nearly half a kilo heavier than the T41. What I want is a small computer with a reasonable screen and a full keyboard. I like to write. Also something that can manage my calendar and such.
After a fruitless hunt yesterday, Myer at Macquarie Centre had them but they were all reserved for customers with none for display, I popped into the city store after work today. They had several and I played…and played. Sizewise about what I expected, the keyboard was small but not too small, and I got the hang of it within a couple of minutes. The screen is a good size with a crisp display. Touchpad worked ok and what initially looked like a single mouse button is actually a bar with left and right touchpads, thus emulating a 2 button mouse. Underneath however it felt really hot, no way is this sitting on my lap. It also felt warm on top to the left of the touchpad. It had been running on mains all day which is probably not how I’d use it.
Most importantly, it’s light, it weighs a mere 900 odd grams, about a third of my T60. It feels light, and it would have been nice to have tried it in my shoulder bag but alas that was not to be. Standing there looking at it, I remembered my last attempt at a portable computer, the lovely Psion 5mx. In 1999, I paid around AU$1000 for the 5mx which weighed about 300g, had 16Mb of memory and I had a compact flash card with another 64Mb, a greyscale screen, small keyboard. The Eee PC costs half that and has a good size keyboard with a respectable amount of memory. It also has a slot for an SD card so I can easily double the storage memory when I like, not to mention plugging in an external hard drive via one of the three USB ports.
I want. I was way tempted to buy one today. Tempted to go back tomorrow. Tom Worthington has done a detailed review. The main things holding me back are the suspicion that the price may drop after christmas and I’d really like a black one. There is a black one coming but I don’t know when. On the way back to the station, I saw a couple of folk in a cafe with one each, typing away. It looked really good with plenty of table space to spare.