Asus EeePC 900

The Asus EeePC 900 is an excellent update to the EeePC 701, and a fantastic purchase.


8.7
CNET Rating
8.0
User Rating

View more from Asus »


UPDATED | We now have pricing details for the EeePC in Australia. Note that an updated version of the EeePC containing Intel's Atom CPU is slated to hit Australian shores between July and August.

The ASUS EeePC 701 has earned a permanent place in history. It almost single-handedly defined the sub-notebook — a genre of PC that made slow, inexpensive laptops the hottest properties in the computing world. Many have tried to emulate its success, and most have failed miserably, so it's left to ASUS to push the envelope with a new version of its product.

Step forward the EeePC 900. This brings with it several improvements including a high-resolution 8.9-inch screen, more storage, more memory, a multi-touch mouse trackpad and an improved webcam. In other words, it's a far more attractive proposition even than the original. But is it enough of an evolution to stave off competition from its rivals?

The ASUS EeePC 900 will be available late May, with a Linux version available for AU$649, and a Windows XP Home version for AU$599.

Design
The EeePC 900 isn't too different from its predecessor, at least aesthetically. In comparison to the EeePC 701, it's still ivory white and is still the size of a hardcover book. It is, however, 6 millimetres longer and approximately 100 grams heavier. The speakers that sat on either side of the screen have been removed to accommodate the larger panel — an arrangement that immediately makes the laptop more attractive.

The speakers now live at the bottom of the laptop below the wrist rest — an arrangement that adversely affects sound quality, particularly if you're using the EeePC 900 on your lap. We'll forgive it this oversight, however, because the quality of the speakers on the original EeePC 701 was rubbish in the first place.

We rather hoped the EeePC 900 would have a larger keyboard than that of the 701, but that isn't the case. We still had the same trouble typing on it as we did before and had to adopt a four-finger — index and middle finger — approach to typing instead of our standard all-action, all-digit touch typing. It slows you down, but you'll get used to it after extended use.

The mouse trackpad has been improved, and notably so. It now has a wide aspect ratio to match that of the screen, meaning your finger inputs will more closely mirror what's possible with the on-screen cursor. The left and right selector buttons have also been improved. They now sport a silver finish and are easier to press.

Best of all, though, is the addition of multi-finger input, often referred to as multi-touch. The trackpad now lets you scroll horizontally and vertically through documents by swiping two fingers up or down across the surface of the trackpad. You can also zoom in or zoom out of pictures by making pinching or stretching movement with your fingers — just like on the MacBook Air.

The selection of input-output ports on the EeePC 900 is identical to that of the 701. The left side consists of an Ethernet port, a single USB port, mic and headphone jacks. The right is home to a D-Sub VGA video output, two additional USB ports and an SD card reader. The latter can accommodate third-party SDHC cards for up to 32GB of additional storage. Larger cards are expected to emerge in due course.

Features
The aforementioned 8.9-inch display isn't simply for making the laptop look nicer. It's also of a very good standard. It runs at a native resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels, which is significantly higher than the 800 x 480 pixel screen on the old 7-inch model. The quality of the display is also commendable, especially given the price of the laptop. The vertical viewing angle is a little limited, so you'll need to adjust the horizontal tilt to get the picture just right. Still, the horizontal viewing angle is wide enough to allow two users to watch a movie side by side in relative comfort.

Anyone expecting the new Intel Atom CPUs in the EeePC 900 will be sorely disappointed. This iteration uses the same Intel Celeron 900MHz CPU as the old 701, but it now has the backing of 1GB of DDR 400 RAM — twice as much as you got in its predecessor. The geek inside us yearns for an Atom — or similar — CPU, but we'll have to wait until at least the summer before Asus updates the Eee again. In the meantime, we'll thank our lucky stars Asus didn't opt for a VIA C7-M CPU as seen in the HP 2133.

The amount of storage you get in your EeePC 900 depends on whether you opt for the version containing Linux or Windows XP Home as an operating system. The Linux model comes with a fairly capacious 20GB of storage, while the Windows XP model has just 12GB.

While in the UK ASUS has kept the price identical, using the extra 8GB storage on the Linux version to bring its price in line with the cost of the XP licence, in Australia ASUS has clearly done a better deal with Microsoft, significantly undercutting the cost of the modified Xandros system.

Both versions of the EeePC 900 use Samsung flash memory chips rather than an actual off-the-shelf hard disk drive. The only drawback here is that it's not as large as the 32GB or 64GB SSDs in fully-grown laptops like the MacBook Air, but that's not a massive issue. The Eee PC 900's storage is still of the solid-state variety, so you can hurl the machine to the ground in frustration, safe in the knowledge that your data won't be lost. The screen and the keyboard will likely shatter into a million tiny pieces (don't worry, the machine is actually quite sturdy), but your data will be safe.

Those who opt for the Linux version of the Eee PC 900 won't be disappointed. It uses the same Linux-based OS as the EeePC 701, and comes with some 40 applications pre-installed. You can add your own applications as you might expect, but we found pretty much everything we needed was already on the system, including the OpenOffice productivity suite, Firefox browser, a media player and more. Applications are logically arranged in tab groups labeled "Internet", "work", "learn", "play", "settings" and "favourites", so everything is easy to find.

The Eee PC 900 isn't designed to replace your primary PC — it's at its best when used as second PC or a Web access tool, and is well-equipped for doing just that. It has an Ethernet port, plus an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi adaptor so you can jump online regardless of whether you're in your lounge, your garden or a local Starbucks. Unfortunately, there's still no support for 802.11n high-speed wireless, but we can't say we really miss this feature.

Performance
The EeePC 900 feels swifter in everyday use than the previous model — something we put down to it having twice the memory. The 1GB of DDR 400 RAM also helped the system cope better with running multiple applications simultaneously. We were able to, for example, browse the Internet while watching a movie in a window without it dropping frames. It must be noted that this capability is only possible now that the EeePC has a larger screen size and higher resolution.

The Eee PC 900 still isn't the ideal candidate for playing games. Yes, there are some titles with modest enough system requirements to be compatible, but these are few and far between. It's also important to note that you'll need to install Windows XP in order to run the vast majority of these, and even then you'll only have a limited amount of space to install your favourite games.

ASUS claims the EeePC 900 will last approximately three hours on its standard battery — half an hour less than its predictions for the EeePC 701. In our own DivX movie playback test, it ran for 1 hour 29 minutes, which was just about long enough for us to enjoy a feature-length movie or a couple episodes of our favourite TV show. Your own mileage will vary, but expect it to last slightly longer if you run applications that are not CPU-intensive and with the wireless adaptor switched off.

Conclusion
The EeePC 900 is a likeable update to the EeePC 701. We're disappointed its keyboard is still so difficult to use, but the addition of a larger, high-resolution screen, multi-touch mouse trackpad and better storage gives it the edge over just about all of its rivals. It falls slightly short of a wholehearted recommendation due to the rumoured touchscreen version and the huge likelihood that ASUS will begin using newer Intel Atom CPUs, but for those who can't wait, it's a fantastic purchase.

Previous Story

ASUS M70SA

Computers
Next Story

ASUS Lamborghini VX3



Add Your Review 14


* Below fields optional


Post comment as
RugbyDude98
4
Rating
 

"r u joking"

RugbyDude98 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:size and thats abbout all

The Bad:2mp camera, no memory, slow,hard to read tiny screen

to slow.... Don't waste your money on a computer that comes in a little pouch

13 year old
7
Rating
 

13 year old posted a review   

The Good:cute and tinyy + usefull

The Bad:tiny mouse and no CD DRIVER thingy

i want to get games on it ( linux ) i donny noe howw!! plz help


contact me on marwabouladgirl@hotmail.com

TANx :]

Max
8
Rating
 

Max posted a review   

The Good:Tiny little as much as easy to handle it.
Stylish and compact.
Wight is great.

The Bad:Keyboard is lil small.
Not for professional networking.
System is much buggy.

Asus EeePC 900 is best for business. Its faster and reliable but lil tiny from its previous brands. Its wight color is very graceful. This mini system is used for tech talk. Me and my friends also used it for tectalk which experienced was great.

JakeL19
9
Rating
 

JakeL19 posted a review   

The Good:Expect more out of the machine then you'd expect, it has great potential to become a fantastic line of UMPC's. Its fast at handling the simple tasks and is perfect for anywhere net access.
- Good screen and resolution
-Huge SD card support (up to 32gb)
-Able to install a max of 2gb of RAM
-Very light and small
-Great for travelling
-Everythings basicalling in-built ( Webcam-1.3mp, Mic)
-Handy Multi-touch pad
- Rumour has it that a touch screen is availiable to be installed.(ebay is your friend)
-Relitivly cheap

The Bad:Installing XP on such a small drive and only and extra 3 gb for programs is ridiculous. Though it has a second drive the registry files fill up the main drive quickly and it's hard to install the up-to-date programs. The battery life is average, not totally crap, just average, theres larger battery's availiable on ebay though so its not too much of a worry.

It's a great companion to take with you, does everything you need it to at a respectable pace. I was suprised and Impressed with the graphic compatibilites of the machine, as I've put a few games on mine and had a great out put from such a small machine, much much better then I had thought preiviously. The Cpu is faster then expected, though at times it does lag, but the 1gb of RAM makes up for it. The SD card slot has a great capability of installing up to 32gb SD cards into it, though you would need it from the limeted amount of space onboard.

olivia7_calandra
10
Rating
 

olivia7_calandra posted a review   

great so easy to get arround i would definently buy one
great price small and easy to pack into my bag

moi
8
Rating
 

moi posted a review   

The Good:Excellent value!
Am running XP OS, got rid of bloated MS options, and am amazed at versatility.
This is a fantastic machine for being out on the town, for playing with, and not having to worry so much about the insurance policy.
Is also quite robust

The Bad:Lack of bluetooth and 802.11n (rectified on 901)
The fact that barely get 900, and 901 (+ 1000) are already (supposedly) getting ready to hit market.
Worse thing about it? This computer is just such a quantum leap in terms of balance (especially value for money for the comromises made) that I keep having to argue with myself not to keep buying more and giving away to family, friends, strangers on the street, etc ...

Could say, "What you pay for is what you get", but that is not quite true. This is a UMPC, that has reasonable resolution, good storage options, an OS (in either format) that is workable, is light, and it is small.
Question is whether it is worth waiting for the 901? Answer may depend on whether you need power (900) or battery life (901); want to get going now or later ...

penguinoir
9
Rating
 

penguinoir posted a review   

The Good:Very light, ultra portable

The Bad:Tiny but workable keyboard.

The EEEPC 900 replaces my 701. It has proven to be a fine upgrade in almost every resp ect in particular the screen resolution and power adapter. I'm running the factory installed 'lite Linux' and Ubuntu 8.04 on a separate partition -, a dual boot scenario.

Abdul Kadir
8
Rating
 

Abdul Kadir posted a review   

The Good:Compact size. Good display. Good Wifi response.

The Bad:Low battery life.

I was reluctant to by the ASUS Eee 900 XP version, initially due to the small storage size. But when I bought it, I found it quite adequate. I can use it very conveniently on my travels. Additional 16 GB SD gives enough storage.

ejstech
10
Rating
 

ejstech posted a review   

The Good:Small size, light weight windows xp preinstalled

The Bad:No dedicated video memory, small ssd (hdd) and low battery life.

I own this netbook and I sometimes prefer to use it more than my primary pc. If your looking for a netbook but dont mind the below cons, this thing rocks.

jumeax
6
Rating
 

jumeax posted a review   

You people do realise you can get a 16GB SD card on Ebay for about $70 plus postage,
and also the Eee can boot straight from SD card :P


Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments  Asus EeePC 900

  • RugbyDude98

    RugbyDude98

    Rating4

    "to slow.... Don't waste your money on a computer that comes in a little pouch"

  • 13 year old

    13 year old

    Rating7

    "i want to get games on it ( linux ) i donny noe howw!! plz help


    contact me on marwabouladgirl@hotmail.com

    TANx :]"

  • Max

    Max

    Rating8

    "Asus EeePC 900 is best for business. Its faster and reliable but lil tiny from its previous brands. Its wight color is very graceful. This mini system is used for

CNET Speedtest

Recently Viewed Products