Saturday, February 2, 2008

A New Revolution: Part II

2.1.08

This being Friday morning, since I woke up early, and since it's almost one week since I purchased my EEE pc, I figured it was time for and update of what life is like with it. I gotta say, this little wonder is small! Honestly, not as light as I was expecting, I was expecting closer to “feather weight” but it is light enough. i can really feel the difference between it and my Sony TR which is about 3 pounds. Compared to that it really does feel like I just have a small book in my bag, even with the power supply (which the TR has a brick like any other computer).

In usage, the EEE pc is totally usable. Some folks have complained of it's small 7 inch screen and the need for a bigger one. I would say the screen is almost perfect. Yes, I would like to see a higher resolution which can't be changed right now in the Linux operating system (which I am sticking with) but I'm sure I'll find another desktop program or OS that will allow me to change that sooner or later. Also, a bigger screen means a higher price. I bought the EEE because it's so gosh darn cheap!

I eluded to something else here, The OS or Operating System. I really like the Xandros linux operating system so far. It resembles Debian in commands and usage which I have a little experience with from my work in the Web Hosting business. I have gotten a greater crash course in it though since I've gotten this pc. It's fun though. I started programming when it was all on the command line and linux happily brings me back to that. I've got more than a handful of commands under my belt now and the speed and information that the command line gives me is something that was missed in recent years with windows. On that note, I am one of those folks that happily refuses to put Windows XP on my EEE. I've been searching so long for a way to get rid of that bloated and prone to blue screen product that this has been my answer that I have been fearful of accepting on my windows pc's (because of lack of experience). I do have a Vista computer as well. That is a worse off product than XP, but I digress. Let's bring it back to the EEE. Linux actually is very easy to use and much more customizable after learning a few commands. For those who want that windows feel, the EEE is able to go to advanced mode which enables a KDE interface that really resembles windows greatly so that users that like windows won't loose any ease or productivity.

Next, I wanted to say something on the keyboard. A lot of folks say it's small and that's no joke! It really is. Another reviewer said that's probably as small as you can get for a keyboard and still be able to touch type reliably. That's so true. Anyone can adapt to it though. Only those few people where your finger is actually the size of a key (and that is totally possible) will have a terrible time with the keyboard. Definitely, anyone looking to buy an EEE with larger hands really needs to go to a store and try the keyboard out. I have what I would like to call normal hands and I went over to Microcenter to make sure the keyboard was usable for me as well. To give you an idea of how fast I've adapted though, I've typed this much with only 5 or 6 mistakes, pretty average and not because of the keyboard. I have a full size keyboard on my desk for my “home” system and I can switch back and forth without much of a problem.

Now, battery life. So far in my tests this week, on full screen brightness, with a beautiful screen I might add, I get about 3 hours of battery life on my 4G Surf model which was supposed to only get 2.5 hours. I find that great, it beat the estimates. I was working on the PC at the same time as well on a network line (not wireless). The sad part is that it takes just as long to charge. If you use 3 hours of battery life, it will take 3 hours to charge if you leave it on and work wirelessly. I guess it might be faster if you charge it with the wireless or the computer “off.” I'll definitely be picking up another battery as soon as I can get one for a decent price. Price estimates are 100 bucks for an extra battery when it comes out. There will have to be a better deal than that I hope later on in the year.

If there is one thing I need now it's a carrying case. I know the more expensive model comes with a sleeve but I've heard it was pretty cheap so I passed on that. I also didn't care for a .3 megapixel camera. That's just weak. I'll just use the webcam I bought 6 years ago and get the same resolution or better! I gotta say, I haven't found a good case yet though. My techie friend who also bought one of these little wonders bought a case logic case for portable dvd players and it seems to fit perfectly but it is a little bulky. I want to find a sleeve that is reasonably priced. I found a neoprene case as I was surfing around that seemed to be perfect but it was 30 dollars. I think I can do better in the near future but I may end up getting one of these because I like their style. You can take a look at one here: http://www.thepouch.com/asus-eee-701.html.

For a little humor, right now my case is a bubble wrap lined envelope one of my video games came in when I ordered online. I do most of my shopping online so I have a few of these, it's a perfect size! You can see one in the 1st picture. Take that Macbook air! I take my Asus around in that envelope and just pull it out when I need it. Very eye catching and funny, I hear people on the other side of the room laughing when I pull it out. That's reason enough to keep this as a case. People seem to leave the presense of the EEE pc in a happier mood, either because of my “case” or because the pc is “soooooo cute.” That is probably the most common comment this device gets. It doesn't help that I have anime backgrounds on my desktop.

Moving onward, memory wise, my model only has 4 gigs of memory but then again I've found most programs to be quite small. I've only used about 300 megs installing all the programs I think I would ever need. And that is without deleting the .tar.gz files (compressed form programs come in) to save even more memory. In other words, I have enough. I have a 1 gig SD card in there right now too that came with my older camera, perfect for saving files to as well. An 8 G usb drive is always on my key chain as well so as you can imagine, I definitely have enough memory for most things. Even music and movies, those run great too.

In all, if I was to rate the EEE pc, I would give it a 4.8 out of 5 because it is perfect for what I need it for, it's really really ultra mobile and has good battery life. I can't give it a perfect 5 because I sure would have liked 5 hours of battery life for an ultra mobile pc (the thinking is that it will never be around a plug, it will be mobile). Also the keyboard being a good size has keys that are a little too deep, you have to try it to see what i mean. It's not bad at all but that is what you need to get used to I think. For example, the Sony TR that I refer to is an 11 inch screen computer, it's an ultra portable but the key strokes are not as deep allowing you to type faster. The Asus keyboard would benefit as well with just a millimeter or so less travel in the keys up and down. Hopefully you get the picture. All in all the EEE is really an awesome machine though and so convenient to have around, I really love it.

3 comments:

Randolph said...

That settles it! Friday after next I'm getting an EEE! I get the feeling I'll be making that sound as I excitedly snatch it from the delivery guy's hands.

I'm a writer (I'm self publishing 6 titles before June), and not having something to bang an idea out on while my muse is chasing me around has gotten really annoying. Just needed to see someone else say; "hey, this keyboard is good enough!"

Thanks mate! RL of www.nightbynight.net

Hunter said...

Yes, thanks for posting Randolph, I think you'll be pleased. Just a tip, do try out the keyboard when you get it. My first eee was a first run and although I had just minor problems with the keyboard, I decided to exchange it for a newer model and all the problems are gone!

Btw, your books sound exciting, especially First Light Chronicles, I encourage all to visit nightbynight.net.

Marcelo Escobal said...

I know it has been almost a year since the last comment but though it would be useful: Asus EEE keyboards are NOT the same in everry model. Had a 700 model w/ a perfect keyboard (extremely accurate) later bought an italian 900 model and the keyboard sucks (writing this post for example is a pain somewhere). After a mod found in a forum it's slightly better but far from the first keyboard.