Friday, October 10, 2008

One week with the ASUS EeePC 1000H

I received my new ASUS EeePC 1000H last Thursday and I've now had a full week to work with the machine. When I picked it up from last week, I was very skeptical about how useful the netbook (what these devices are now being called) could really be.  As far as laptops go, it was pretty low powered sporting only a 1.6Ghz processor and I doubted that it could be used for any serious work. Still, I thought it'd be nice to have an easily portable device so that when I went on presentations, I could leave my hefty notebook at home.

All-in-all, I'm very pleasantly surprised.

The 1000H is a speedy little devil that handles just about all of the non-development work that I do throughout the day. Whether I'm creating a proposal or presentation or I'm chatting on Seesmic or Eyejot, the 1000H can seemingly handle anything I throw at it.  Sure, I'm not going to install Visual Studio on it, but that isn't the point. That's better left for my work laptop or my desktop. The 1000H was designed for people who need to do basic to semi-advanced task on the go and it does that incredibly well.

Some of you probably noticed that I mentioned Seesmic and Eyejot in my last paragraph. That's right, the 1000H has a built in 1.3 megapixel web camera built right into the unit. Combine that with built in WiFi and you have instant video conferencing capabilities from anywhere with a wifi hotspot. Perhaps most shocking of all, the wireless card even supports wireless N!  The built-in microphone is surprisingly sensitive and can pick up your voice clearly even in noisy environments.

Other specs for the 1000H include 1 gigabyte of RAM, an 80 gigabyte hard drive, and room to expand your memory through the use of SD/MMC slots, and a whopping 6 cell 7 hour battery. Yes, you read that right: 7 hours.  Even on a good day running very minimal applications, my higher end Acer can only manage about 4 hours. How's that for incredible?  The system rounds out with 3 USB ports so you can easily connect just about any peripheral  you want to it including printers, flash drives, and external webcams and mics.

About the only thing I don't like about the EeePC 1000H is its incredibly small screen. It's fine for occasional use, but if you're going to use it for more than an hour, the 10.2 inch screen can quickly strain your eyes to the point of exhaustion. I believe that other EeePC models offer the option of a larger screen but this was the only size available for this model when I ordered.  It's not a deal breaker for an otherwise solid unit but it certainly would make life a difficult for someone trying to use this netbook  as their main PC.

The system runs on Windows XP Home but I've been told it's fairly easy to install Ubuntu Linux on it and have just about everything work right out of the box. I'm going to try that this weekend but I'll probably go the dual boot route, keeping Windows XP Home and installing Ubuntu Hardy in an extra partition.

Personally, I don't think the EeePC 1000H lives up to all of the hype surrounding it; I think it surpasses it. For under $500 you get a pretty rock solid little PC that you can easily take anywhere with very little trouble. It's so easy to use and so reliable that I'm seriously considering equipping our entire sales staff with 1000's so they can quickly and easily connect from the field.

Like I said, it's not your high end laptop or desktop.
But if you wanted that, why would you have bought the EeePC in the first place??

The beauty of this PC is indeed, its elegance, simplicity, and rock solid design.
It's one of the few PC hardware products I'd give 4 stars to.


David said...

Sounds cool Anthony. Interesting that you went the Windows route - and that it's performing well. If you try the Unbuntu distro I'll be curious to know if Eyejot works. It will all depend upon whether there are drivers available for the USB webcam chipset used and whether Flash recognizes the combination. I suspect it will. But, let me know either way, if you decide to try Linux on the device. - David Geller

Anthony Papillion said...

Hi David,

I've spent the better part of this week researching and making sure I covered the possible 'gotchas' of installing Ubuntu on the 1000H and it looks like everything should work. The only thing I've been told might experience some problems is the built-in webcam but I think there's a fix for that now too.

So I'll be installing Ubuntu on this bad boy tonight and will post my results to the blog. Not too sure why I didn't go with the Linux version to start with as it would have been much easier to get everything up and running.

Maybe I'm just a glutton for pain. lol

Anthony Papillion