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Asus eee-PC Ultra Mobile PC (4G Model)
Product:Asus eee-PC Ultra Mobile PC (4G Model)
MSRP:$399 (US)
Date:November 20th, 2007
Rating: star star star star star star star star star star

This is probably the first time UMPC (Ultra-Mobile PC) design from Intel has received a product that is well received by the intended market, people looking for affordable PC just for the road. Unlike the earlier UMPC models that tried to put the power and capability of a smaller laptop into the size of a hand-held, Asus eee-PC packs strictly essential parts and reduces both price as well as weight to meet the market demand for price and portability.

The choice of Linux KDE OS and the interface design makes it more akin to the iPhone than a Windows XP Desktop, making it much easier to access on the fly. (For those curious about how the eee-PC performs with Windows XP, there will be a step-by-step tutorial and review for installation, usage and optimization with Windows XP Professional coming soon.) Illustrated paper instructions included in the box make it easy enough for anyone to setup and start using eee-PC's basic features such as Wifi networking.

Physical Dimensions
Asus eee-PC Ultra Mobile PC (4G Model)

Asus eee-PC weights only 2 lbs and small enough to carry even inside a jacket. (This has been tested personally) Measuring only 8.86" wide, 6.30" deep and 1.26" tall at the highest point with the lid closed, this little thing can fit into most ladies' hand-bags and totally removes the inconvenient bulky laptop case from the picture.

Asus eee-PC Ultra Mobile PC (4G Model)

The package in review comes with a soft polyester foam bag which fits neatly around the laptop and protects it from scratches. However the bag is not breathable and despite being equipped with a low-power CPU it is not recommended to put the laptop in the bag while it is running. Some pictures of the eee-PC were taken with a dime, a Samsung M500 cell-phone and HP Pavilion DV2000 laptop with 14.1 inch wide-screen for easier size comparison.

Features and Connectivity
Asus eee-PC Ultra Mobile PC (4G Model)

Asus eee-PC is expected to come in 4 different models. There are two cheaper 'Surf' models without web-cam and equipped with soldered DDR memory instead of upgradeable lower power DDR2 memory slots. Higher models 4G and 8G also have better battery life thanks to higher capacity batteries.

Asus eee-PC Ultra Mobile PC (4G Model)

All of the eee-PCs come with 2GB to 8GB Solid-State Hard Drives, which are pretty much the same as Flash memory based USB thumb drives, and faster than most cheaper USB drives. This makes the eee-PC a very suitable UMPC for On-The-Go use which could involve frequent drops and impacts from accidents. Additional storage can be added via the three USB 2.0 ports on the sides as well as the SD and MMC flash card reader slot. The laptop was tested to work with SD-HC cards which can have capacity up to 32GB.

Wifi wireless b/g capability and wired Ethernet ports are equipped in all models. There is a blocked port for RJ-11 dial-up modem on the model we received for review but it was not built into the laptop.

The CPU for the eee-PC is powered by Intel Celeron Ultra-Low Voltage (based on Pentium M design) running at maximum 900MHz. It is capable of playing back full-screen video or video capture through the Web-cam or editing pictures through a photo editing software. In rough estimate it would be comparable to a Pentium 3 processor running at 1.4GHz. Upgrading the DDR2 RAM to 2GB would definitely improve the performance while running multiple programs. However the unit we received for review had a warranty sticker on the memory expansion bay, meaning memory upgrade by the user would void the 2 Year Warranty by Asus, which is not a common practice among laptop makers. Fortunately, the battery is easily removable and does not void the warranty they way Apple iPhone does.

The Operating System

At the time of the review Asus eee-PC comes with only Linux KDE Operating System featuring a customized user interface but can also revert back to normal desktop mode. The laptop comes with several programs such as Skype, OpenOffice 2.0 pre-installed and users can also add in their own software as well. Asus website provides download for the source code of the Linux OS for people who wish to make further customizations. As for those who want to stay in Microsoft territory a Windows XP equipped eee-PC models are slated to munch later on next year. For now Asus only provide drivers and instructions on their website.

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