Friday, June 6, 2008

Asus Eee PC 900

  • Pros Bigger screen. More memory. Multi-touch mousepad
  • Cons The extra £130 puts it up against better-specced budget laptops


The Asus 701 has always been a welcome visitor to Stuff Towers, thanks to its tiny footprint and equally miniscule price tag.

So imagine our excitement when we heard rumours of 9in touchscreen wonder-update heading our way. But not so fast – reports of the Asus Eee PC 900’s touchscreen capabilities were a little, ahem, premature, but there’s still a slew of improvements that mean the latest Eee PC is the most pimped-up yet.

First up, is the obvious screen size – stretching from 7in to a very reasonable 8.9in and an increased resolution of 1024 x 600. RAM is similarly beefed up, with the Eee PC 900 rising from 512MB to 1GB, supported by larger solid-state storage of up to 20GB (12GB bundled with Win XP, although both models are Windows-ready).

The processor remains the same 900MHz Celeron M housed in the 701, not the Intel Atom hinted at CES, so there are some concerns over the running of the more CPU-heavy Windows – more on that once we’ve had a good poke around.

The built-in webcam has been similarly pimped to a decent 1.3MP, but the most noteworthy difference has to be the inclusion of the MacBook Air and Pro-esque multitouch track pad. Just pinch and pull your fingers apart to zoom in and out, and twist to rotate.

At 3.5in, the hefty of digit might find this miniature trackpad more of a challenge than the MacBook versions, but it’s still a new enough and neat enough feature to have our digits all over it for now.

The weight remains below the 1kg mark, although it definitely feels heavier than the 701, probably due to the bigger, 12V battery pack.

And as per usual, the winning factor remains the price – while other ultra-portable lappys will have your piggy bank running to the hils, the Asus Eee PC 900 clocks in at an unbelieveably reasonable #329. And with a hard drive and “more stylish colours” promised later in the year, our doors are still very much open to the new Asus addition.