eee bah gum

I’d been looking for a small sub-notebook for a while, something I could take away with me to magic conventions, on holiday, and generally use around the house, that would have wi-fi so I could post updates on the move, check e-mail etc. uptil just recently the price point of these sub-notebooks has been restrictive, but late last year I stumbled upon the fact that Asus where about to launch a small notebook running linux with wifi etc. at a very resonable price. As soon as these launched in the UK I put my order in, beating the Christmas rush! I have had a good chance to use it and have posted some photos over at Flickr.

The sheer size of this thing suprised me when I saw it and I thought it might be restrictive to use. The keyboard does take a little getting used to but is very usable even with my largeish hands, as reported the arrow keys are a little clunky compared to the rest of the keyboard, and the track pad takes a bit to get used to, however Asus have now released some add-ons along with a range of optical mice.

A lot of useful advice can be found on the eeeuser site on the forum and wiki. I managed to change my settings so it automatically starts up in the advanced mode which looks just like windows, and changed the size of the start icon etc. Also in firefox I am using the advice on the wiki using the whitehart theme and the fullerscreen add-on to get a full screen when pressing F11.

I plan to change the 512mb of SODIMM to 1G as Asus now say this will not invalidate the warranty. Other than that I am happy with Xandros install although you can install Windows XP or even OSX but the Xandros install has been tweaked so that it doesn’t constantly write to the inbuilt SSD and it comes pre-installed with pretty much everything you would need for web-browsing and documents etc., with Firefox, Pidgin IM, Skype and Openoffice your pretty much set.

The small size also means it will fit in portable DVD bags which you can pick up quite cheaply, I haven’t really bought any accessories for mine yet, but probably plan on picking up an extra MMC card for the external slot, and maybe a USB key for any offline working.

Asus have announced the launch of an 8G model, along with their 4G (which is what mine is) and their 2G surf models, with XP coming installed instead of Xandros. So look out for those, also this is bound to introduce competition for low-price sub notebooks, which can only be a good thing, eeeuser have already set up a sister-site for the about to be launched CloudBook apparently it will be sold in Walmart for $399 running gOS slightly larger than the eee and also with a slightly higher processor and an actual 30gb harddrive. Looks like it will be a good year for these mini-laptops and one which I will follow with interest!