It is eleven months since I got my Eee PC, and I have never regretted it for a moment. Admittedly I now find myself coveting my girlfriend’s Eee 901, but my only real complaint with the 701 is the touchpad button is rather worn from over-use.
Unfortunately not everyone has been so lucky with their choice in mini-laptops. Kim has been lamenting his choice of the Acer Aspire One on his blog:
“It wasn’t quite stable on any flat surface.”
“The fan was so loud that I would be embarassed to use my Aspire One in some meetings or conferences.”
Admittedly I was lucky: The Eee PC was the only mini-laptop on offer when I bought mine so I didn’t have to make any tough choices. But as everyone tries to gain a slice of the budget-mini-laptop market some corners will be cut, so you are probably better off buying a brand that has an established reputation in the mini-laptop market rather than one of the newer entrants. If only Kim had listened….
Earlier in the week it fell to me to buy my girlfriend an external hard drive for her Eee PC 901. She needed one for storing all those ‘important’ photographs she had taken over the years, and I wasn’t going to get the chance to put Linux on her old laptop until those world-heritage-photographs were safe.
My first thought, after seeing the price of wireless external hard drives was an XBox 360. The Elite has 120 GB hard drive, plenty of room for a few photos, and with the September price drop it wasn’t too much more. Unfortunately a bit of searching on the web showed that using an XBox was likely to require the physical copying of files onto a flash drive, and wasn’t going to be an easy sell to my girlfriend. It seems to me that Microsoft are missing an angle on this one, yes you could get a lot larger external for your money, but how many people would take the compromise if the XBox just made the hard drive a little bit easier to use?
In the end I bought a 200 GB HandyDrive: Yes I saved myself about £150, but I was disappointed nonetheless. Especially when the HandyDrive turned out to be faulty. Luckily, as there were no more 200 GB hard drives left, those nice chaps at Wolverhampton’s Maplin’s exchanged it for a 250 GB HandyDrive: Photos courtesy of my girlfriend…the world can breath a sigh of relief that these, and others like them, are now safe.
nb. It is also worth noting that I was up until 4am this morning trying to get Ubuntu on the old laptop; it is still resolutely a Windows XP.
I remember a time when being seen in public with my Eee PC 701 would always get people asking questions, these days they are seemingly everywhere. A stroll into Dixons (or whatever my local branch is called these days) at lunchtime found four different mini-notebooks available. The one that really caught my eye, however, was the one in Maplin’s: Whilst it isn’t the most powerful of the mini-notebooks, or the most aesthetically pleasing, with a 7inch screen you can’t argue with the weight: 0.65kg!! That makes the 0.922kg of the Eee PC 701 look decidedly over-weight, whilst the Eee 901 will barely be able to hold its head up in public at 1.14kg.
Maybe I need Maplin’s minibook for those days when I am feeling too lazy to carry my 701…or should I just hold out for the one that comes with a helium filled balloon?
I am also slightly surprised at the claim on the ‘minibook’ trademark, after all, wasn’t the Eee PC 701 first launched in the UK as the RM minibook?
Finally, after weeks of waiting, my girlfriend’s Eee PC 901 arrived this morning. First impressions of the 901 are that it’s very impressive; rather than a cheap budget laptop, it looks and feels like a small quality laptop. Whereas the 701 seemed to be a good way of Linux spreading out to the masses, the 901 with Windows XP is likely to slow Linux’s spread. Comparing the Eee 901 with my (rather aged) 701 finds that the 901 just about wins a boot-up contest.
Yes, the 701 has been around the block a bit, and the 901 Linux is likely to beat the 901 XP, but with the 901 XP booting in around 35 seconds, its seems likely that people will go for the operating system they are used to.
Supposedly the UK launch date for the Eee PC 901 was July 1st, but with less than two weeks to go and no sign of it being available for pre-order I am beginning to wonder.
This morning I made a point of looking on the sites of all the Eee PC UK suppliers ASUS mentions on their web site (http://www.asus-uk.com/eeepc/about/), but not one of them has the Eee PC 901 listed yet. I even looked on RM.com, where I got my original Eee PC. Nothing.
In comparison the slightly delayed MSI Wind is sitting there waiting to be ordered, and will be delivered on June 30th.
If I manage to get an Eee PC 901 delivered on the 1st July I will be very surprised.
Finally the UK launch date of the Eee 901 was announced yesterday: 1st July, £319. Curiously yesterday was the date that RM had said they would deliver my girlfriend’s Eee 900 order, so I am pleased we canceled it as the quick launch of the Eee 901 would have definitely put a downer on the day.
The quick launch has also probably saved Asus one sale, as I had started to look at some of the numerous other mini-laptops available: Acer’s Aspire One Dell’s Mini Inspiron MSI Wind Notebook Without getting to spend a week with each of the laptops, it is difficult to see how people will choose between the options that are now available. The biggest concern with mini laptops is generally the keyboard, but you can’t really tell which you will prefer from reading the laptops spec online.
Whilst I had no problem ordering my Eee PC all those months ago, my girlfriend’s ordering of one of the newer versions has been nothing but trouble. The trouble has been a combination of my girlfriend’s indecisiveness, ASUS’s quickly rolling out of newer models, and RM’s appalling stock control.
When I want something, and if I can afford it, I tend to order it. If my girlfriend wants something, and if she can afford it, she ums-and-ahhs about it until she drives me mad and I am forced to threaten her with being pushed off a cliff. Although she has always liked my Eee PC, she was always concerned about the screen being a little bit too small, and that it ran Linux. The Eee PC 900 with Windows XP seemed the perfect solution. So, back in April, I told her when it was launching (May 12th) and she agreed that she would get one. However she didn’t get around to ordering one until last Wednesday (May 28th), at which point stock was beginning to be a problem.
Although there was already news in mid May of the imminent launch of ASUS Eee PC 901′s (with a better chip), it was still worth getting the 900. Even towards the end of May it was worth getting the 900. But when RM.com informed my girlfriend (a day before delivery was to expected) that the Eee PC 900 wouldn’t be arriving until 13th June, I am no longer sure what she should order. The spec of the Eee PC 901 is much better, but the price and a UK launch date are not yet known.
For now the Eee PC 900 order has been cancelled, and RM has a big black mark against their name for future orders. The only good thing is that my girlfriend has realised that it is best to order things when I first suggest it, rather than when she manages to get around to it.