View Full Version : Review: Asus eeePC 901

11-20-2008, 05:52 PM
I haven't seend any eeePC reviews here so i thought I'd do one. I wrote this review for one of my college classes and I thought you guys would enjoy it here.

I recently got an Asus eee PC 901. And I have to say that these new netbooks are pretty cool. It took me awhile to decide what kind of netbook to get. Acer, MSI, and HP all make a netbook, or subnotebook, but none of theirs can really compare to Asus'. Asus first introduced the eee PC at Computec last year and since then it has gone through alot of improvement.

The original eee PC, from now on just e, was called the Surf. It came with 512mb of RAM, ran an Intel Celeron-M, and had an 7" screen, a battery that lasted almost 3 hours, and every machine came preinstalled with a derivative of the Xandros Linux distribution on a 2gb solid state hard drive(ssd). They also included the normal, wireless, usb, etc.

The newest series of e, the 901, features 1gb of RAM, the Intel Atom processor, an 8.9" screen, a battery that lasts almost 7 hours, a 12gb ssd for models with XP and a 20gb ssd for those with Linux, a webcam, Bluetooth, and wireless N capability, plus all the other stuff, usb, etc.

Enough of the specs, on to the review.

I got my galaxy black 901 on Monday while I was at work. I unboxed itand was completely surprised with how small it was, even though thats what I was expecting. I mean, compared to the other notebooks we had at the shop it was lilliputian. So I plugged it up and let it charge for an hour before I turned it on( I was at wwork so I had to make it look like I was working).

Everyone says an ssd boots much faster than a hdd, its an understatement. I hit the power button, glanced at a machine I was working on, and this thing was already in the OS. Now about the OS. Asus took a perfectly good distribution of linux, and tried to make it as Windows like as possible. And in doing so they may have made an OS that alot of people find easy to use, but it frustrated the hell out of me. The OS does nothing for someone who is the least bit computer literate, even the guy I work with that organizes all his icons into folders so they're easier to find thought it was too simplistic.

So after about an hour of screwing around with it I decided it was time for a real Linux distribution, and since I'm partial to Ubuntu thats what I went with. Now one thing to note about these netbooks, they don't have CD-ROMS, so installing anything from a CD is not an option. So after an hour of googling and messing with my USB drive, I was finally into Ubuntu Live and installing.

But things are never easy at a computer shop. The second I booted into Ubuntu I noticed something was wrong, I couldn't connect to our shop network, wirelessly or otherwise, that and the camera didn't work, not that I was going to use it much anyways. So after anoter hour of googling I found some nice people that have made a fix for Ubuntu to get all the hardware on my e running in Ubuntu.

And after all that I find this thing really is amazing. It great to have a laptop to take to class again, and one that doesn't weigh me down a whole lot, plus it fits into a small carrier bag I carry around other places. It runs Ubuntu like a charm, and after awhile I might feel adventurous and put XP on it....not, but it would probably run a cut down version just fine. The wireless has great range although I haven't had a chance to test the wireless N. The LCD is a little small but looks great. We watched Iron Man on it at work and it looked amazing for such a small screen, even better than some of the LCDs we have there. And then the battery. While I never believed the claims of +7 hour life, I was surprised to be getting 5+ hours after the Ubuntu install, and that's with wireless, blluetooth, webcam, and full screen brightness. I'm sure if I dimmed the screen and turned off bluetooth and the cam I could get almost 7 hours.

I only have 2 complaints. For something that was built for Linux, it seems Asus went out of their way to make something that would only work with an Asus version of Linux. But like I said, some helpful people have found a way around that, it just take some coding to get it working right. And 2, the keyboard is just too damn small for someone with fat fingers like me, but after a week of using it I've gotten used to its size.

All in all the Asus eee PC is a pretty nice machine(once you get rid of Xandros). It was a great buy for the price. Asus really has made a nice little machine thats still really ahead of the competition.

For information about the eee PC look here: