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CNet Compares Eee PC Against the Competition

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the and-it-fits-in-the-nape-of-your-neck dept.

Portables 203

An anonymous reader writes "CNet has recently done a comparison of the Asus Eee PC against six bargain laptops that all fall under $1000. Included in the list is the Elonex One, OLPC, EasyNote XS and MSI Wind. "Since the Eee's launch, many of its rivals have begun to create similar alternatives — each designed to pilfer a piece of the budget ultraportable pie. Some are trying to beat the Eee on price, some on specs, but they're all tiny and they're all camped out in the bargain basement." Let the 'race to the bottom' begin."

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I'm here too soon (-1, Offtopic)

carpe.cervisiam (900585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727770)

I am far too lazy to read the article so I'll just come back in couple hours.

Re:I'm here too soon (5, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727852)

I'm not too lazy to read it, but I refuse to read C|Net. Two paragraphs per screen, and each screen is filled with so many blinking shiney flashing ads it takes forever for each page to load.

And under $1000? WTF? They're comparing a $999 laptop with a $250 laptop? Isn't that kind of like comparing a compact car with a mid sized car? One more reason to avoid C|Net like the plague.

It's sad, that used to be a pretty good site.

Re:I'm here too soon (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727986)

...and each screen is filled with so many blinking shiney flashing ads it takes forever for each page to load...
Your Firefox needs a dose of NoScript http://noscript.net/ [noscript.net]

Re:I'm here too soon (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728074)

I'm at work. Not only can I not have noscript here, I can't even use Firefox! )=

Re:I'm here too soon (3, Insightful)

Thorwak (836943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728296)

But you're allowed to read and post on Slashdot, right? ;)

Re:I'm here too soon (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728534)

I'm at work. Not only can I not have noscript here, I can't even use Firefox! )=
Do the computers in your break room have Opera, IE, or Safari? I think all four of them have an option to temporarily turn off scripting for all sites.

Re:I'm here too soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22728472)

Or addblock plus....

Too sketchy (1)

Arkaic (784460) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728038)

I did read the first few reviews. They were pretty superficial, based on solely on vendor supplied info or early prototypes. They need to write another article when they get some actual hands on experience with all of the models listed.

Re:I'm here too soon (5, Informative)

genji256 (1108069) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728104)

Bored with making MacBooks [cnet.co.uk] for Steve Jobs, one day Asus decided to create its own stylish laptop and flog it on the cheap. The result was the Eee PC [cnet.co.uk] -- a Linux-based ultraportable notebook that wowed consumers, shocked rival manufacturers and is slowly but surely revolutionising an industry.

But Asus is no longer alone. Since the Eee's launch, many of its rivals have begun to create [cnet.co.uk] similar alternatives -- each designed to pilfer a piece of the budget ultraportable pie. Some are trying to beat the Eee on price, some on specs, but they're all tiny and they're all camped out in the bargain basement. They're all real products, and a few are already available, so we've included links to our full reviews for those.

Asus Eee PC 701, £220
The Eee has racked up hundreds of thousands of sales in a relatively short space of time. It's portable, attractive, versatile and has completely flipped the laptop world on its head with a stupidly low price point.

In exchange for a touch over £200, the Eee provides a Pentium M 900MHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, Wi-Fi, a 7-inch 800x480-pixel display, and enough Linux software to keep you busy for weeks. It's awesome value.

Okay, the hype overshadowed the fact that it's rather slow, sometimes unreliable and nearly impossible to type on if you had grown-up fingers, but these are minor details. In the long run it'll be recognised as one of the decade's most important pieces of tech design. Its rivals -- including the Eee PC 901 -- will have a very hard time topping it.

Elonex One (aka GeCube Genie), £99
Let's kick things off with the Elonex One, which many geeks will also know as the GeCube Genie Jr [gecube.com] . It's designed for school children, but will no doubt attract a much wider demographic thanks to its ludicrously low price.

The One is an attractive little unit that weighs in at 900g. Elonex says it's designed to be kid-proof in that it's shock resistant, has no moving parts and is very reliable. The main components are housed behind the 7-inch 800x480-pixel display. You get a 300MHz LNX Code 8 Mobile CPU -- no, we've never heard of it either -- 128MB of DDR2 memory and 1GB of flash memory. An enhanced version of the laptop, called the One Plus, ships with 256MB of RAM and 2GB of storage.

What else do you get for fewer than 10,000 pennies? Well, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi is standard, as is wired 10/100 Ethernet, two USB2.0 ports, built-in speakers, and the keyboard's removable so you can use the One like a tablet PC. The display isn't touch-sensitive, so you'll have to use a 'mouse emulator' -- aka nipple -- round the back. The whole thing runs on the Linux Linos 2.6.21 operating system, which comes with a variety of productivity, media and education software.

The One is never going to be the fastest computer in the world, and we're sceptical that it'll be without its problems, but you really can't go wrong for £99. It's available in pink, green, silver, white or black, and will be released in July 2008. Pre-order yours from the Elonex Web site [elonexone.co.uk] now for a £10 deposit.

Packard Bell EasyNote XS (aka VIA Nanobook), £399
Originally the Everex Cloudbook, this petite laptop now goes by many different names: 'EasyNote XS', 'VIA Nanobook', and courtesy of some potty-mouthed Cravers: 'horrible pile of turd'. That last bit is very unfair -- the XS is pretty accomplished.

It's tiny: just 230x171x29mm and it weighs 950g. It uses a 7-inch display with an 800x480-pixel native resolution, a 1.2GHz VIA C7-M CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 30GB 2.5-inch hard drive, which puts the 1GB or 2GB models in the Eee or Elonex One to shame.

It's disappointing, then, that it costs a relatively hefty £399. The fact it uses Windows is no excuse -- the Dell Vostro uses Vista and costs £200 less. Still, it's the only 7-inch uber-portable that comes with a decent amount of storage right off the shelf. If you can put up with the frankly unusable mouse thumbpad, it's worth glancing in the EasyNote XS's general direction.

Read our full Packard Bell EasyNote XS review [cnet.co.uk] here.

MSI Wind, £225
If there's one laptop that could seriously end the Eee's reign, it's the MSI Wind. We believe it could be the perfect blend of portability and usability, due to the fact it's slightly larger than an Eee PC, with a bigger keyboard and a choice of screen sizes.

Eight- and 10-inch versions are available, as are Silverthorne CPUs ranging from 1GHz to 1.5GHz. You even get a choice of hard drive types: there are solid-state models for anyone prone to dropping things, and 2.5-inch models for anyone who wants to store lots of multimedia files.

Best of all, the entry-level Wind is set to cost just 299 (£225), or 699 (£530) for the high-end model. Like all good uber-portables, it's available in a variety of colours including blue, silver and pink.

Read more about it here [cnet.co.uk] .

Dell Vostro 1400, £233
You're probably wondering what the hell the Dell Vostro is doing in this list. It's big, comparatively heavy and it's, er, a Dell. But let's not lose focus here, people. It costs a measly £233 -- less than you pay for an Eee PC -- and it'll spank the backside off the rest of these wannabEees in performance terms.

The Vostro range is available in a variety of form factors, the smallest of which has a 14-inch display and a chassis weighing 2.5kg. Okay, so it isn't especially portable, but it does have the advantage of a full-size keyboard and a screen you don't need ophthalmic surgery to read.

The basic package includes a 1.86GHz Celeron M CPU, 1GB of DDR2 memory, a 120GB hard drive, Intel GMA X3100 graphics, a 1,280x800-pixel display and the luxury of all luxuries: an 8x DVD rewriter!

802.11b/g Wi-Fi comes as standard, and you can customise it to hell and back to eke even more performance out of it. That's probably just as well, since it uses Windows Vista Home Premium edition. 'Downgrading' to Windows XP Professional will set you back an extra £30, which is pretty outrageous. It's available now direct from Dell [dell.com] .

Update: Dell also offers a 15.4-inch Vostro 1000 [dell.com] series laptop for £210 plus the cost of shipping, which is based on AMD processors.

Asus Eee PC 900, £300
The Eee PC 900 is the bigger, badder version of the original Eee PC 701. Announced officially at CeBIT 2008, this comes with an 8.9-inch widescreen display, an 800x480-pixel resolution, and up to 12GB of solid-state memory.

The chassis is very similar to that of the previous Eee PC 701, which we reviewed here [cnet.co.uk] , so it's still highly portable and the keyboard is still a tiny bit... tiny.

Still, mustn't grumble. The Eee PC 900 is an attractive proposition. It might be a tad expensive compared to the MSI Wind, but we're sure Asus will stay competitive. Watch for a release later this year, or read more here [cnet.co.uk] .

OLPC XO-1 (aka One Laptop Per Child)
Finally, we should mention the XO-1, formerly the '$100 laptop', which is designed as part of a charitable project for children in developing nations. As the concept has been kicking around for a few years [cnet.co.uk] , it's arguably the inspiration for the Eee. It's not currently on sale to the public, but last year's Give One Get One programme meant for £200, you could keep one and they'd send the other to a starving-but-surprisingly-IT-capable child. Hopefully the offer will be back soon.

The OLPC is undoubtedly one of the weirdest-looking contraptions known to man. It has a rotating 7-inch 1,200x900-pixel screen, runs off an AMD Geode LX-700 CPU, 256MB of super-slow 133MHz RAM, and has 1GB of flash memory, which you can add to via an SD card slot under the screen.

Its quirky ear-like aerials work in conjunction with its 802.11s wireless card to create a mesh network, which means you can piggyback off another XO-1 to share its Internet connection if you're not quite within range. We couldn't get this to work in the congested streets of London, but it'll do better in countries where wireless interference is virtually non-existent and terrain is flat.

You might find the X-O1's Linux user interface tricky to master, but that wasn't much of a problem to us, since we wouldn't be seen dead with one in public anyway -- convenient carry handle or no convenient carry handle.

Read the full OLPC XO-1 review [cnet.co.uk] here.

'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds... (5, Interesting)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728564)

MSI Wind, £225
If there's one laptop that could seriously end the Eee's reign, it's the MSI Wind. We believe it could be the perfect blend of portability and usability, due to the fact it's slightly larger than an Eee PC, with a bigger keyboard and a choice of screen sizes.

Eight- and 10-inch versions are available, as are Silverthorne CPUs ranging from 1GHz to 1.5GHz. You even get a choice of hard drive types: there are solid-state models for anyone prone to dropping things, and 2.5-inch models for anyone who wants to store lots of multimedia files.

Best of all, the entry-level Wind is set to cost just 299 (£225), or 699 (£530) for the high-end model. Like all good uber-portables, it's available in a variety of colours including blue, silver and pink.


That sounds like the cream of the crop. MSI is a fairly quality manufacturer, and they are offering multiple configurations. The Cloudbook was promising up until I got my hands on one, however, and UGH! You can't get around that funky micro trackpad on one side and clicking buttons on another, and the damn thing gets hotter than my MacBook when crunching video. And that wasn't under any load at all.

Really, what people need to compare the Eee and its progeny to is not full-sized laptops but PDAs. The Eee, the Wind, the OLPC, etc. are more like overgrown Palms than mini notebooks. If you look at them that way, suddenly their uses present themselves. If you expect full-sized laptop performance, particularly desktop replacement laptop performance, from one of these, you are in for a rude awakening.

Re:I'm here too soon (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728144)

What ads? I never see no ads and if you don't know how to get rid of ads then you need to hand in your Geek License.

Re:I'm here too soon (1)

k33l0r (808028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728276)

Ads? The interwebs have ads?

Re:I'm here too soon (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22728910)

WTF? You're comparing comparing a $999 laptop with a $250 laptop with comparing a compact car with a mid-sized car? That's like comparing comparing apples with oranges with comparing watermelons with grapes!

lazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22727938)

I'm lazy and crazy.

The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (4, Insightful)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727778)

It is obvious that there is room for a larger screen on the Eee PC that wouldn't make it any bigger. So if you want to beat the Eee PC, just make the exact same screen with a screen that is as big as it can be.

I should really charge a consulting fee.

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (5, Informative)

Dude McDude (938516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727818)

The new 900 model has an 8.9" screen. http://www.asus.com/news_show.aspx?id=10302 [asus.com]

You don't say? (2, Funny)

PPCAvenger (651410) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728626)

From the press release that was linked to:

"Although petite in size, this high performance miniature computer truly performs and comes with a durable, shock-proof solid-state design - making it easy for housewives, office ladies and student alike to carry and connect to the Internet."

So what you're saying is that women are as weak, frail, clumsy and careless as children.

  Who comes up with this stuff?

Re:You don't say? (2, Funny)

MorpheousMarty (1094907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728926)

To be fair they say housewives and office ladies need a durable, shock-proof solid state design as much as students, not children. Thinking back to my college buddies I'm sure this implies that women are alcoholics, not weak or frail (definitely clumsy and careless though).

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22727822)

The newly announced models of the Eee do almost exactly that. 9in display as opposed to 7in prior.

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (5, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727842)

Maybe the screen is that small for battery conservation purposes?

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (5, Informative)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728280)

That and they're using the cheaper 7'' screens from portable DVD players. Those things have had big price drops, so that helps the price tag on the eee.

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (4, Insightful)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727876)

The trick isn't just getting a larger screen on the unit, it's doing it without putting additional drain on the battery and additional burden on the pricetag.

Like many other incremental steps to today's technology, it's certainly possibly, even feasible, but nontrivial to implement. It'll take engineering, expense, and a new fab process and business relationships to mass-produce an appliance such as this.

Per the summary "Some are trying to beat the Eee on price, some on specs," and this would be an example of beating it on specs while likely yielding on the price war.

I believe there's plenty of room in the market for such competition since the EEE falls into a very small niche of quick-reference usage and ultra-portability. More an appliance than a personal computer, and as individual needs vary, people will buy the device best suited to the expected usage.

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727880)

I dont think it's too small it NEEDS 1024X768 at a minimum for screen resolution.

Physically small is ok. A substandard resolution is not ok.

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (2, Interesting)

dr_canak (593415) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728192)

If you head over to the EEE user forums (google it), you'll find that someone has already worked up an application that allows the user to select from a wide variety of screen resolutions. The issue is the native size of the screen (which i believe is widescreen cause it's the same one used in portable DVD players). If you go with certain screen resolutions, the fonts become unreadable as they become squished or stretched. However, this application that was developed allows users to select a screen resolution that is the proper ratio to the actual screen size. So the readability is much improved, and you get more desktop realestate.

          I should mention this is for an XP install on the EEE only. I have no idea if someone has worked up a similar app for the stock linux install.

hth,
jeff

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728976)

There is a Linux solution using VNC. Not perfect but it works.

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22727922)

There are various of theories why the screen is so small. Price (the released Eee is already more expensive than the initial target), power consumption, fear of cannibalizing their more expensive ultra-portables. My favorite rumor was that they had warehouses full of cheap 7" displays left due to the non-demand for UMPCs.

Goatse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22727962)

Goatse in your face! Goatse up your ass! [twofo.co.uk]

You nerds love it.

Asus Eee hardly groundbreaking (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727982)

The assertion that Asus "flipped the laptop world on its head with a stupidly low price point" made in this article simply isn't true. Sub-$500 laptops have been around [walmart.com] for some time now. And, for the money, the Asus really isn't even a particularly good deal. For $100 more, you can buy a laptop [walmart.com] with an actual 60GB hard drive and much more muscular processor. The main advantage to the Eee isn't its price point, but the fact that it is very small (and the screen is perhaps too small as the parent points out), light, and durable (since it has a solid-state hard drive).

Re:Asus Eee hardly groundbreaking (4, Interesting)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728094)

Ultraportables was luxury before the EEE pc came along. Now everyone can own one. That is the main advantage. I've used computers for the last 25 years (and worked with them for 10 years) but I have never owned a laptop. To me they are just bulky, or very expensive if you want small. I'm very excited at these new computers and will buy me a EEE 900 when they are released. Small footprint, and very lightweight does it for me. CPU specs is of no importance for me on a laptop, as long as a webbrowser and the terminal is zippy I don't care.

Re:Asus Eee hardly groundbreaking (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728514)

Ultraportables was luxury before the EEE pc came along. Now everyone can own one. That is the main advantage. I've used computers for the last 25 years (and worked with them for 10 years) but I have never owned a laptop. To me they are just bulky, or very expensive if you want small. I'm very excited at these new computers and will buy me a EEE 900 when they are released. Small footprint, and very lightweight does it for me. CPU specs is of no importance for me on a laptop, as long as a webbrowser and the terminal is zippy I don't care.


Admittedly, you and I are in different markets. But I haven't used a desktop computer (barring my HTPC) in almost 2 years. In the long run, I see laptops as the replacement for desktop computing, and want a good balance between performance and portability. Ultraportable is all well and good, but not when it comes at the expense of useability, and to me that means having decent enough specs for applications like gaming. To that end, the Dell is the only one of those reviewed that I'd even consider buying. And in fact, did consider buying when it came time to buy my latest laptop. I'd rather spend that extra $300 and get something that I can actually use for more than just e-mail/surfing.

Re:Asus Eee hardly groundbreaking (3, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728824)

Utraportables are *companions* to desktops or desktop-replacements (that's what you describe). Utraportables are "just enough to do something on the move", but that's it. I mean this from a usability perspective, not from power since you can get powerful (but expensive) ultraportables.

You mention gaming, this means that the Dell is out of the question too by the way. (Integrated Graphics: forget it)

You are simply not the target demographic for an ultraportable. Cheap or not. I am, but I'm not shelling out 2000€ for an Ultraportable as they have been costing the last few years.

The Asus EEE is for me: small, usable for browsing, small text editing, etc, while I commute to work with the train. No way in hell, I'd lug around my 15.4" desktop replacement.

Packard Bell? (1)

alcmaeon (684971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728396)

Am I the only one who had to do a double-take on this one? Then I £ sign.

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728560)

I'd also go as far as making the keyboard 1" wider (making all buttons similarly slightly larger). The keyboard is bordering on being unusable.

Re:The Eee PC's Screen is too Small (1)

vonhammer (992352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22729132)

I have one and it's not the small screen (although as many have mentioned, the newer eeePCs will get a 9" screen). It's the small keyboard. That is the biggest problem. I have small hands and fingers and it's still too small for me. The right shift key is impossibly placed - resulting in either a down or right arrow press. Also the touch pad and space bar cause problems.

Many years ago, I bought an Apple Newton. I still have the keyboard and I stacked it on top of my eeePC to see the difference. The Newton's keyboard is a couple of inches wider and the keys are much larger (and fewer to be fair). But the Newton's keyboard was very easy to use, while the eeePC has a lousy keyboard. Fix that and you will have the eeePC killer.

URGENT (1)

Mipoti Gusundar (1028156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727782)

I am two years experience in ee pc. Please send codes.

Patch TUESDAY has come and gone !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22727788)


Have you patched? It's past patch TUESDAY !!

DO it NOW or DON'T bother !!

The Elonex One??? (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727798)

I love new laptops with new CPU's that nobody's ever heard about... don't you? Anyone know what a LNX Code 8 Mobile CPU is?

Re:The Elonex One??? (0)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727874)

Anyone know what a LNX Code 8 Mobile CPU is?

Google knows [google.com] .

Re:The Elonex One??? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22727976)

Uhm, do you read what you post? Every single hit on that search were posts in webforms complaining that that Elonex hasn't released any information about it.

Re:The Elonex One??? (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728044)

No, I didn't. Gees, Google is usually so helpful too =(

Re:The Elonex One??? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727924)

I love the smell of MIPS early in the morning (most likely the non-patent-encumbered Chinese "Dragon" subvariety). Can't really see anything else being able to hit that price point.

Re:The Elonex One??? (2, Informative)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727998)

Checking, the current V-Dragon is a PowerPC licensed from IBM.

Re:The Elonex One??? (1)

argiedot (1035754) | more than 6 years ago | (#22729172)

Perhaps the Loongson [wikipedia.org] series is what the OP is talking about. They say it's MIPS-compatible.

Big price diffrence there (4, Interesting)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727806)

All fall under a $1000? What kind of standard is that? MY laptop was under $1000 when new, and similar laptops are now in the ~$750 range. Why get an underpowered ultraportable when a normal laptop costs just as much?

Re:Big price diffrence there (2, Informative)

stjobe (78285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727866)

Maybe if formfactor is more important than power?

Personally I love ultraportables (or palmtops, or subnotebooks or whatever the nome du jour is). For me, it's more important that the device is very portable than that it is equipped with a multi-GHz CPU and a top-of-the-line GPU.

Re:Big price diffrence there (4, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728034)

I'm very satisfied with my thinkpad x40 in that regard. I guess that's about as small as you can get while still having a keyboard you can use for hours, daily.

Re:Big price diffrence there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22727892)

Some people want ultraportables because of the size and weight. Ultraportable is a feature that raises costs.

Re:Big price diffrence there (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727902)

Why get an underpowered ultraportable when a normal laptop costs just as much?

Maybe because "normal" notebooks are overpowered, overheating beasts? They aren't "laptops" because of that heat, they seem to feel like they burn through jeans when used for longer than 15 minutes on a lap, even on max power saving mode. I think that's a lot of why the marketing literature almost always calls them "notebooks".

Re:Big price diffrence there (2, Interesting)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728520)

I own a 'overpowered, overheating beast' of a laptop because _it is_ my only computer. I primarily use it like a desktop, but since I'm currently in college (and a comp sci major) I need something I can lug around when necessary to do work. My point is, different people have different needs. Your parent sounds like he/she has similar needs to me whereas you sound like you need something on the go. That is, assuming you're not playing devil's advocate. ;)

Re:Big price diffrence there (1)

vally_manea (911530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728284)

Nowhere in the TFA it says anything about under $1000, just in the summary. Oh and BTW: the EEE PC is ~$300, so no quite as expensive.

Re:Big price diffrence there (5, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728458)

Why get an underpowered ultraportable when a normal laptop costs just as much?

Because it's ultraportable.

My real ultraportable is a Zaurus SLC3000 [mobiletechreview.com] . It will fit in my back pocket. I use it for writing, it can also be used for emergency SSH sessions and cramped web broswing. It's usually in my backpack, ready for when poetic inspiration strikes. That's ultraportable. (The only thing more portable is my Centro [palm.com] . The neat thing is, my Centro becomes a modem, my Zaurus runs a terminal, and bam! SSH or browsing from anywhere I can get a cell signal, with gear that fits in my pockets.)

My ultraportable-as-this-article-is-using-the-term is an old Sony Vaio SRX77 [pcworld.com] that I've fitted with a solid state harddrive, and installed Puppy Linux on. Good sized keyboard, adequate power, under three pounds and smaller than a standard looseleaf binder. I take it when I'm headed down to the cafe to sit and write or browse for a while. Not pocketsized, by easily portable.

My full sized laptop is heavy, big, and sucks battery. It's a full-featured beast that goes with me on long trips, to replace my desktop.

Re:Big price diffrence there (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728896)

My full sized laptop is heavy, big, and sucks battery. It's a full-featured beast that goes with me on long trips, to replace my desktop.

That's exactly why you usually don't call them "laptop" or "notebook", but "desktop replacement [wikipedia.org] ".

WOW (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727828)

a Linux-based ultraportable notebook that wowed consumers

Another WOW...but probably for a good product this time.

He is Ex-Apple...and must be well aware of how a good product smells like.

Re:WOW (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727904)

a Linux-based ultraportable notebook that wowed

Yeah, but what about flutter and harmonic distortion? ;)

Re:WOW (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728314)

And cowbells. Can't go wrong with cowbells.

World of Whatcrack? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728580)

a Linux-based ultraportable notebook that wowed

Yeah, but what about flutter and harmonic distortion? ;)
How much do the MMORPGs "FLuTTeR" and "HaRMoNiC DiSToRTioN" cost per month to play? Are they more expensive than WoW? Do they need a beefier PC? Or can they scale down to run on a subnotebook like these?

Re:WOW (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727920)

OOPS, forgot to mention, HCL in India also has launched a similar product [business-standard.com] last month. It looks cute, but I was not very happy with 2GB of flash.

It costs 12000 (less than 350 US$... Thought the TFA reports it 13990, The price tag I saw was Rs 12000 in their outlets.).

Under $1000? (4, Insightful)

Evro (18923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727862)

That's not exactly "bargain" space, Apple's Macbook is almost in that range, and last week I configured a Dell Vostro 1500 with a Core 2 Duo T7500 2.2 GHz, 3 GB ram, XP Home, a 256 MB GeForce 8600GT, and a 15" SXGA screen for $833.

Re:Under $1000? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728036)

Is it an ultraportable? No? Then why'd you even bring it up?

Re:Under $1000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22728218)

Perhaps because a Vostro is actually featured in the article. Which you'd know if you'd read it...

Re:Under $1000? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728366)

I did read it, and I think it's silly they brought it up in the article, too. 'course, it's a CNet article, so the fact it's poorly written is no big surprise.

15" screen? misses the point of the article (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728050)

the article is about the 'ultraportable' notebook (whatever that means, I guess just "small notebook, bigger than a PDA") market. anything with a 15" screen need not apply, unless that screen folds in / rolls up into a smaller package.

Once you go to a smaller form factor (not just the screen - but the entire device), costs tend to go up for almost all of the components of the machine, as well as designing things so that they'll fit in there, without overheating problems / too much RF interference, etc.

Re:Under $1000? (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728108)

last week I configured a Dell Vostro 1500
Your Vostro weights 6+ lb. Eee PC is 2 lb 1/2 oz

Dell vostro. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728120)

The dell price is lowered by a lot by the 60 pound delivery costs DELL charges. You do not see that amount until you continue in the ordering price. Something to keep in mind, because there is no option not to pay those costs. ever.

Re:Dell vostro. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22728420)

You do not see that amount until you continue in the ordering price.

I ordered a (UK) Dell about 1 week ago and the first price quoted that I saw for each model was the full price including VAT and delivery.

Try going to www.dell.co.uk and selecting 'home desktops'. You get things like this:
INSPIRON

Price From £269

Includes VAT & Shipping

Now if you're choosing from the business section, VAT and shipping are excluded; but I'd say that's normal practice.

Re:Dell vostro. (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728656)

The dell price is lowered by a lot by the 60 pound delivery costs DELL charges. You do not see that amount until you continue in the ordering price. Something to keep in mind, because there is no option not to pay those costs. ever.

So buy from the Inspiron line of product, instead of the Vostro. 2 weeks ago my mum took delivery on an Inspiron 1525 that, taxes included, cost about $700 CAD. About 325 pounds, if my math is right. Delivery was free, and it had 2GB of DDR2, 120GB HDD, DVD-RW, 1.6GHz Core2 Duo.... And, oddly, she actually likes the Vista Home Premium it came with. *shrugs*

Old School (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727878)

I like my PDA with flip-open keyboard/Bluetooth for those rare occasions when a thumb drive and the ubiquity of freely-accessible PC's won't do.

PENIS PENIS HAHAHAHAHAHA PENIS LOL ROFLCOPTER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22727898)

Slashdot Compares EPeen Against Black Cock - Film At 11!

Re:PENIS PENIS HAHAHAHAHAHA PENIS LOL ROFLCOPTER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22728088)

Slashdot mods waste points on any AC post that mentions BLACK COCK - Film at 11!

Get one free on the table at the bank (0)

sammyo (166904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727914)

Just like pens, never buy a pen, just ignore the tacky logo. Actually I kinda like pens with a message from an industry I'll never have any associatiation.

At one point the coolest schwag was a thumb drive, maybe in a year or two a tacky branded wifi computer will be coolest.

Then we'll have flicker shots from 3rd world countries where kids hold up computers that match the corporate logo on their tee, zoom in on the high rez photo and see the spam script running on the free computer...

Very nice but not going to get one yet... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727916)

I think I'll wait a year. By then these should be available for £150 or so and the mid-range ones will have dropped below £200. It will be interesting to see if anyone develops software for these that they're not designed for.

Wow, talk about insightful (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727950)

The article is, basically, a few specs and pictures from press releases lifted out and spread over 7 ad-filled pages. The same information could've been provided in a small table with some pictures next to it. No insight, no investigation, nothing that isn't public knowledge. They didn't even (as an example) do a google search for the phrase "Elonex One" which would've told them that it's a variation on a rather old unit which has been on sale in other markets for a while, so there are lots of hands-on reports (that way they could've commented on the need for a kickstand on that machine, and other useful tidbits). Heck, they reckon that the "VIA Nanobook" and "Easynote XS" are rebrandings of the "Cloudbook", without the vaguest notion of the real relationship between the machines. Just another bit of "news" accomplished by rewriting the press releases with as little thought as possible.

Re:Wow, talk about insightful (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22727978)

It doesn't actually qualify as a comparison, come to think of it. They list the different devices without ever actually comparing any of them to eachother.

Re:Wow, talk about insightful (2, Informative)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728040)

...Heck, they reckon that the "VIA Nanobook" and "Easynote XS" are rebrandings of the "Cloudbook", without the vaguest notion of the real relationship between the machines.
Just FYI, both the Easynote and Cloudbook are based off the Via Nanobook design.

Re:Wow, talk about insightful (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728152)

That's my point exactly! The Nanobook is a reference design, not a commercial product, and the Easynote XS and Cloudbook are just two of the more conservative of the variations upon it. The article implied that all three are rebrandings of the original Cloudbook machine. That there are Nanobook variants with removable screen-side modules, touchpads in different places, and whatnot didn't seem worthy of a mention.

Re:Wow, talk about insightful (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728188)

I should say, it's more of a reference design than a commercial product. I appreciate that VIA seem to want to release their own some time, although it doesn't exist yet.

EEE pc is less than a mobile (0)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728042)

The EEE pc only matters because it is less expensive than similarly-featured smartphones. A pc that costs more than a smartphone but is small doesn't have the same value to the consumer. Conversely, if fully-featured smartphones (i.e. pc-equivalent) come down in price, one could expect to see laptop sales dwindling.

Re:EEE pc is less than a mobile (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22728562)

You can't touch type on a smartphone. Contrary to what you might assume, most of us were able to touch type on EeePC after about a week of ownership.

Re:EEE pc is less than a mobile (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728630)

Conversely, if fully-featured smartphones (i.e. pc-equivalent) come down in price, one could expect to see laptop sales dwindling.

Really? How do you intend to get a PC class keyboard and display into a smartphone?

I love my Centro [palm.com] . I love my Zaurus [mobiletechreview.com] . And I love my little old Sony Vaio "ultraportable" notebook [pcworld.com] . They all hit different points in the tradeoff between keyboard and display size versus portability.

Anyone have a real comparison? (1)

Raleel (30913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728060)

No really... I'm interested in seeing a real comparison between many of these boxes. Yes, I'm also too lazy to go do the research myself :)

history repeats? (2, Interesting)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728090)

It reminds this old timer of the early 8-bit pc wars on the 1980's, when Atari/Commodore/Apple/TI/Sinclair and others were slugging it out. It was brutal - TI dumped their load and got out of the market - Atari was tanking big time - Timex/Sinclair eventually came out with a minimalist Z80/ROM BASIC box with a membrane keyboard for ultra cheap - then came the crash of 1983.

Re:history repeats? (4, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728620)

Timex/Sinclair eventually came out with a minimalist Z80/ROM BASIC box with a membrane keyboard for ultra cheap - then came the crash of 1983.

In America, maybe, but Sinclair made an absolute killing with those machines in the UK. The ZX80 and ZX81 pretty much established the home computer market, and then the Spectrum turned up with colour graphics and became the standard machine for a generation of gamers and hackers. It was a long time before Nintendo managed to break that market; even as late as the 16-bit era, the Amiga was serious competition for the SNES and Mega Drive.

The interesting thing about that era was that these machines were largely incompatible with each other, but that didn't matter so much - they were cheap. Vastly cheaper than the contemporary IBM and Apple machines. Will the mass market accept compatibility troubles from a non-Microsoft machine, if it means they can have it for peanuts? Quite possibly.

it just works (5, Informative)

pgfault (796282) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728100)

Cnet writes:
"Okay, the hype overshadowed the fact that it's rather slow, sometimes unreliable and nearly impossible to type on if you had grown-up fingers, but these are minor details."

Minor details, perhaps, but I disagree. 900MHz is adequate for web, and text processing. Unreliable? Hardly. Zero crashes on mine. The keyboard is quite usable, once you teach your right pinky not to hit the UpArrow when going for the '/' or Shift keys. The three drawbacks I see are:
1) It's rootable out of the box (samba) http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2008/Feb/0117.html [seclists.org]
2) Asus didn't provide an easy way to obtain updates for the masses.
3) The fan runs continuously after about 10 minutes of use.

I installed eeeXubuntu along with compiz-fusion and now it's a great little machine.

For the money and it's size, it certainly gets the job done.

Re:it just works (1)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728778)

Can you tell me a little bit more about your experience with eeeXubuntu? Does everything work? How hard was it to install and configure? Did you blow away the existing OS or install it to another drive? How easy is it to upgrade/patch? I'm considering getting an Eee PC when the 8.9" version comes out but I'm not crazy about the built-in Xandros OS. I was considering FreeBSD or PCBSD but it looks like there aren't drivers yet for all of the hardware so eeeXubuntu looks like the best bet.

Re:it just works (1)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728920)

Any idea how it compares to a Fujitsu P2120? I've had my P2120 for several years and have replaced both of its batteries so I still get about 8-10 hours of battery life on a charge but I am starting to get dissatisfied with the speed.

I just tried using Thunderbird again for email, but will probably revert back to using mutt over an ssh session because Thunderbird is so damn slow on this machine. Firefox is also a pig. I've got my P2120 maxed out with a half a gig of RAM but I still have to restart Firefox every week or so because it just grinds to a halt if I leave it running longer.

My suspicion is that the Eee PC is probably not significantly faster than the P2120 and might even be slower.

I read stories but have never seen one. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728114)

I have been hearing people saying how the Eee PC will bring Linux to the personal user, How it is really popular... But I havent seen any evidence of this is Real Life. I see more people eyeing MacBooks and MacBook Pros, and Lenovo ThinkPads.

For my ultramoble computing I am happier with a Sub $500.00 iPhone (Even without Jail Break or the new custom software coming out) then with those other systems. It is small and Ultra-Ultra Portable it fits in my pocket. It is goog at web browsing, email, taking notes, Heck it works as phone too... And you get Wireless via 802.11g or Threw a Cell Service. Which gives me more connection to the internet then I had with any laptop without having to pay an additional $100 for.

Smartphones in general do a better job as ultra portibles then ultraportibles do.

Re:I read stories but have never seen one. (1)

IkeTo (27776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728392)

I've seen one during a ride on the train, the one just besides me pull out his Eee and start editing his homework during that 2 hour ride. I think there are quite a lot of things that those little PC-like devices do much better than a smartphone or even than a palm. This is especially true for those of us who are not addicted to listening to music or watching movies (even if they have to resort to tiny screens).

Re:I read stories but have never seen one. (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728654)

I used to have a Highscreen Bluenote [science.uva.nl] in 1994. That was what a full-size laptop was back then! I used to do use it on my 2h ride on the train to go to University each week.

It was pretty compact, probably still a bit larger than the EEE, and the screen was a 8" colour LCD at 800x600. You could work quite well on it (OS/2 ran on it wonderfully) One of the RAM modules went back, and back in those days laptop RAM was proprietary.

It sure was heavy and thick though.

So, why this post: to tell you, yes, I am toroughly convinced that the EEE PC is just right for train-travelling people wanting to type in an assignment or read some webpages/PDFs. Back in the time we all did (at least those that could afford it *grin*)

Re:I read stories but have never seen one. (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728598)

Smartphones in general do a better job as ultra portibles then ultraportibles do.

For basic web browsing and email (not convinced of even note-taking) and entertainment purposes, yes I can agree with that statement.

But try and do any real work involving full document processing or spreadsheets, etc. and a smartphone doesn't cut it. Neither does a Nokia N800/N810/whatever is in the pipes. And that's where these devices are attractive: they weigh 2 pounds or under and are easily thrown into any bag. For people who travel often for business this works.

Re:I read stories but have never seen one. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22729012)

I guess you don't do the same type of spreadsheets I do. I usually Max Out an entire Core (Excel doesn't work multi-core) on some of my calculation. Those Ultra Portibles wouldn't be useful for me. Because by the time my train ride as ended... It may have finished processing my sheet.
Even many word processing documents that I make often will get slugged on these ultraportible. When I give a document it is often filled with Highresolution Printing Press graphics.

Now I am not disagreing with your statements... I tend to push the stuff to as close of the breaking point I can and for average user they would just do basic stuff like that. But it is an issue of if they are doing Spreadsheets and Documents and they have those ultra cheap and portible laptops then they are probably a student and not using it for professional work. (As work needs 100% MS OFFICE compatiblity) and Office is a pig anyways.

Re:I read stories but have never seen one. (2, Insightful)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728834)

I have been hearing people saying how the Eee PC will bring Linux to the personal user, How it is really popular... But I havent seen any evidence of this is Real Life.

I'm not sure I understand your argument there. Are you comparing sales figures from e.g. Amazon and other companies (see e.g.: http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/07/12/29/1959244.shtml [slashdot.org] ) with anecdotal evidence observed amongst your acquaintances?

This article is full of flaws (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22728310)

First they say the Eee PC is slow. I have Windows XP installed on my Eee PC and it is just as responsive as Windows XP is on my quad core box. It plays postage stamp flash videos, HD videos, etc. exactly as my larger box does. Except it boots up much faster and generally loads everything faster due to the flash drive. What planet is this reviewer living on?

Next, they say that the 8.9" Eee will have 800x480 resolution. It will not. It will have 1024x600 resolution. Get your facts right before writing an article like this.

Finally, they say the Eee is unreliable. Any computer is as unreliable as the software is. If you use reliable software, you won't have any reliability problems with it. You can drop your Eee, give it to your baby to smash on the floor, and it will come out in one piece and still work.

The only thing they have correct is that the Eee is a huge invention. Not necessarily the price, but the form factor of a 9" laptop is amazing. I have carried mine all over the world with me, and you cannot beat the size/weight. You get used to typing on it.

I also own an OLPC, but it is too heavy to lug around normally. I disagree with the looks - everyone I have shown mine to loves it. Hardcore Linux fans (i.e. Slashdot) will love it. Personally, I don't like the distro on it, but you do have the ability to install other ones on it.

Goofy MSRP vs Retail Gimmicks (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728416)

Under $1K huh? I'll translate. I got a decked out Dell lappy for $600. What they really mean is a $350 notebook.

From a new owner (4, Informative)

dr_canak (593415) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728480)

I purchased the ASUS EEE 4G from newegg about 6 weeks ago. There are several models to choose from, and some idiosyncracies from one model to the next. The 4G has an accessible door on the underside which allows the user to upgrade the RAM module (stock 512MB). In addition to the 4G, I purchased

- an 8Gb SDHC card
- 1 GB RAM module
- XP Home (OEM)
- DVD/CD burner
- Small Laptop Bag
- 4GB USB stick
- 1 set of samsung portable speakers (from WOOT!)

So i'm in for around $700.00 when all was said and done.

What I like:
- Ultra portable and lightweight.
- Very good battery life (around 2.5-3 hours under heavy load). This can be increased by switching off the built in webcam, switching off the wireless internet (assuming you're not browsing), reducing screen brightness, and reducing fan speed
- Ability to overclock. Someone hacked up an app that allows the user to control cpu and fan speed
- Change screen resolutions. Someone hacked up an app allowing the user to select a number of non-native screen resolutions to improve readability and desktop realestate.
- Boot up time. Mine boots XP in around 60 secs, which includes about 10 background apps (antispyware, antivirus, overclock app, screen res app, virtual desktop app, battery monitor etc...). Some people have reported an NLITE'd install of XP booting in under 30 secs.

What I don't like:
- the keyboard is small and awkward. Touchtyping is damn near impossible. Better to use some variant of 4 finger touch typing
- the stock linux install. I've used linux extensively in the past, but just don't use it enough on the desktop to achieve a high degree of familiarity. I used it for the first week, then just decided to switch to XP.
- I would imagine this thing is the opposite of "ruggedized." It feels perfectly fine, but I would hate to drop it from more than a foot. I would imagine it would be in pieces. It doesn't exactly feel sturdy.
- The need to buy a bunch of extra stuff to really make it shine. Right out of the box it's useful, but with the added purchases above, it really becomes a very decent travel laptop replacement. But those added purchases essentially doubled the price of the stock ASUS. I did enough research to know that very few folks are really using a stock machine only.
- The stock speakers are just too soft to overcome any ambient noise.
- Getting XP installed without an external CDROM can be a real challenge.

Going to this website (http://forum.eeeuser.com/) will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about what people are doing with these things, and how to do it.

hth,
jeff

Re:From a new owner (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22728618)

the stock linux install. I've used linux extensively in the past, but just don't use it enough on the desktop to achieve a high degree of familiarity. I used it for the first week, then just decided to switch to XP.
Moron.

Re:From a new owner (1)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728984)

I agree!

Re:From a old owner (2, Interesting)

xzvf (924443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22729116)

I've had mine since December and it has stood up to the rigors of travel. I've added a usb mouse and a bluetooth dongle and upgraded the OS to Ubuntu (I don't see the fascination with putting XP on it). Tough keyboard for extended typing, but a good investment overall to compliment my main work laptop when traveling. I use it walking around data centers for console access.

The article is fascinating... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22728760)

I saw little (if any) favoritism towards Windows-based machines. For once, they compared the notebooks on the basis of hardware alone. The IT press is finally admitting that you don't need ANY particular OS to use commodity apps in the ultramobile world. Also notice how the only time Vista was mentioned at all, it was to discuss the price of an XP downgrade. For all the advertising money MS pumps into IT publications, I expected much more Redmond "flavor" to the article.

I don't understand (4, Interesting)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728804)

Prices for these usable machines seem to start at ~150USD. I don't understand, then, why I /still/ can't find a sub-100USD thin client device with VGA out, understands X11, WiFi and has USB inputs for keyboard/mouse. These seem to start at $250, with $400-500 being more common -- especially among those that can connect to an X11 server. Given that they surely can't be cheaper to make than a fully functional mini-laptop with HDD, why the hell don't they exist?

Under $1000 WTF ? (1)

steelseth (1098843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22728924)

Considering you can get the Lenovo v200 at that price tag, this article is a joke. The MSI wind looks promising for 300 EUR but until the release we just don't know what 300 EUR will get you. Where does the Vostro fit in ???
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