Category: hardware

Asus EeePC 1000H One Month Review

I have been using my EeePC 1000H (WinXP, 2gb RAM, 80gb HDD) for the past month, with dedicated use the past two weeks. My use is mainly on-battery with wifi. Here are my findings:

##Smallest Practical##
The main advantage to this device is that it is about as small as a computer one wants to use as a complete computer. The screen is 10.2″ and the keyboard is smaller than standard, so this pushes the envelope in acceptable interfaces, however it is as good as it gets without upgrading to a 12″ screen or downgrading to a more hunt-and-peck compatible 8.9″ screen. The MSI Wind also has this footprint (see head-to-head MSI Wind vs. Asus EeePC 100H).

I imagine that an 11″ or some kind of futuristic folding screen, such as below, will make this obsolete. For now, it works quite well.

I do have more typing errors with the keyboard, however it is not unusable or too annoying. Having tried the Asus and Dell Mini 8.9″ model keyboards, the 10.2 screen form factor provides a more usable option. One problem is that there is no visual indicator for the Caps Lock, and it sits (as usual) perilously between the tab and the shift key, both much used.

There are well-known issues with the trackpad buttons being too firm for clicking. However, the trackpad allows for finger-tap button-clicking as well as multi-touch. Not bad. I plug in a full-sized microsoft usb optical mouse most of the time. Am considering switching to a bluetooth mouse.

##Wireless support##
The EeePC 1000H supports wifi (802.11a/b/g/n) and bluetooth. I have connected over 802.11n networks and they are very speedy.

A handy software device controller in the Windows system tray allows for turning on and off the wifi, webcam, bluetooth, and switching between the 1024×600 and 1024×768 (which is a scrolling interface). This is a great utility, though dedicated buttons (as well as dedicated audio buttons) would be better.

There is a great SD Card reader. I use a MicroSD Card adapter and just switch between two MicroSD cards in my cell phone/camera. That is way faster than any usb or bluetooth connector and software. Call me old school here.

Three, count-em, three USB.

##Screen and Video##
The screen is sharp and bright. A great screen for watching videos on a desk with another person, or on a lap. My settings are the 1024×600 with top refresh and colors, with fonts at 120% size. This is pretty good and only causes problems on some websites (vertical scrolling) and larger documents. Use of full-screen in Firefox 2 works pretty well.

One issue that arose has to do with the windows dock. After much experimentation, I have set the doc to the left-hand side of the screen with auto-hide turned on. Another issue is that many software interfaces for the web have been written for a 768 width and do not work with 600. Since there is the toggle utility mentioned above, it is not a huge annoyance. However, I would caution all developers to consider 600 as the more appropriate maximum width and consider that the widescreen is here to stay, 4:3, buh bye.

I have not used the external VGA connector, but the video card can support display across multiple monitors and a wide selection of resolutions on external monitors. Since this is largely a low-power shared-memory Intel video card, it is no surprise that a quick foray into Second Life was a rather painful experience (though it did install and run). On the other hand, Google Earth works acceptably well.

Audio is not loud enough in general, and the speaker placement at the bottom front of the computer is trouble, especially when placed on a lap. However, the sound quality is pretty great when using headphones. There is a bunch of equalizer and noise reduction setting options, including various Dolby technologies. Using the [Creative Labs EP-630s]( (a great sounding, tangle-free earbud) produces a great sound experience.

The microphone built into the case just below the screen is flawed. Any times I have used it has produced unacceptable results. This forces me to use a headphone with microphone, which makes everything much better.

There is another issue that has the sound not working after waking up from sleep mode. Reinstallation of the latest Asus drivers fixes this.

The webcam I have had mixed results with. Not the best video, but in certain settings, good lighting, and not a lot of motion, it can work well.

I get about 5 hours with wifi on, and 6 hours with it turned off. This does not include primarily use of video. I think it drops down to 4 hours or so in just viewing video. Not sure about that. Basically, this blows away anything I have had in the past (except the NEC 770, which could last 6 hours, but ran Windows CE and had a RAM drive). The battery recharges fairly quickly. Sorry that I don’t have exact times on this, I haven’t beenn rigorously testing. But it charges faster than it discharges.

##Bottom Line##
This is a game changer. Apparently [Asus has sold a whole lot of these](, and there is no end in sight. There are many other models out there, such as Acer, MSI, and now Dell, as well as a bunch of other lesser-known brands. As a traveler I am seeing quite a few of these and their smaller brothers and cousins everywhere I go. Some are as low as $300. I purchased my Asus EeePC 1000H for $504 with shipping and an upgrade to 2gb ram. A similar model (with bigger hard drive) was available in Chiang Mai, Thailand for about $550 USD with tax.
ASUS  EeePCs in Computer Plaza, Chiang Mai, Thailand


Minimum Computing Environment – Windows Edition

For someone who wantes a minimum (low-cost) computing environment with Windows, here are the recommendations.Total about $1,600 with shipping and tax. Have to shop at Amazon, Dell, and Ebay to get the best prices (but it is worth it for the savings, cannot get what you want at one place and cannot get best prices at one place).

Dell Laptop Model XPS M1330
Processor: Core 2 Duo
Hard Drive: 320gb or more
Memory: 2gb or more
Optical Drive: DVD/RW
Video Card: 128MB or more (NVidia or ATI, NOT Intel)

Go to Dell Outlet
* Min Hard Drive = 320; Optical Drive = DVD/RW; Video Card = 128; Minimum Memory = 2000
* Sort on PRICE – Should be able to get <$1,000

Dell Laserjet 1110 (not the 1100) – ~$69 on Dell Outlet
*Note this is a “cheap” laser but with USB 2.0 (no ethernet), should be fine. I believe the next best price point is a $350 color laser, or double-sided, networked, faster B&W for around $250, but that is so not worth it unless you are in a multi-user office
Monitor: E228WFP 22-inch Widescreen (1680×1050) – These are going for $229 at Dell Outlet, only $30 more than the 20″, so this is the new best value for monitors these days (same resolution as 20″ but bigger screen = easier on the eyes, and don’t have to set the fonts to 120% to see at native resolution)

Optical Mouse/Keyboard – Search in Ebay – $25-30 w/shipping
Note: don’t mess around with wireless, its a big pain

External Hard Drive (Backup) @ – $100

DVD+RW Media (25) @ – $25

Speakers @ – $25