First Thoughts on Asus EEE PC

decided to take a chance on the Asus EEE PC to see if it would be an acceptable ultra portable for doing some of the routine things in my schedule like updating posts on my site, responding to email, reading articles and ebooks, and possibly acting as a portable video player while riding on a plane. Toting a full sized laptop everywhere is often impractical. I figured if it could work for what I need, the $399 price is absolutely amazing. Two things seemed like potential roadblocks I'd need to overcome: Linux as the operating system and a screen resolution of 800x480. So far, I haven't been bothered by either.

Linux has come a long way since the last time I used it in a desktop environment. Sure I've inserted a Knoppix disk in a CD tray a few times, but that doesn't really count, because you blow that away every time you reboot. With so many online apps available, like Google Reader and the Google Desktop suite, I barely need to deal with installed software. Installed apps have gotten surprisingly better. Firefox and Thunderbird are standards now. RealPlayer is a really great media player for Linux. Skype and Pidgin offer all the IM support you could ever want. Since I use Plaxo for Contact and Calendar management now, I don't even really need to worry about whether I can access all the information sources I need (at least as long as I have an Internet connection.

At just about 2lbs, this is the most portable PC I've owned, weighing less than the Fujitsu P1510D I was using at about this time last year. I hadn't paid attention to the fact that the EEE PC includes a built in Webcam, which is a nice surprise, because in addition to Webcam functionality the software bundled records video. Because it has a solid state drive, this is by far the quietest PC I've ever owned; you can't hear anything coming from the case. And Everyone should take a lesson from ASUS on power cord design - the wall wart plug is slender enough to fit between other power chords in a power strip, while supplying all the functionality of one of those annoying power bricks you usually have to put on the floor. Speakers are integrated to the left and right of the screen, which is far better placement than most laptop designs. We'll see if I'm still enthralled after the newness wears off, but so far, I'm really impressed.