Asus EeePC 901

The Eee is now faster, looks nicer, and has better battery life. It's also heavier and the keyboard is still too small, but we like it. A lot.


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The EeePC 901 is here. Its mission: to re-establish the Eee brand as the number one in the netbook space. It's based largely on the hugely successful EeePC 900, but has several improvements, including a more stylish chassis, a better mouse, better battery life and more powerful components.

Asus says it'll go on sale late June. Windows XP and Linux versions will be available for the same price — AU$649 — although the specs will vary slightly. As a consequence, previous models will be dropping in price — the original 701 will be sold for AU$479, and the 900 for AU$549, the previous Windows/Linux price discrepancy gone.

Design
The 901 is approximately the same size as the 900. It's 100g heavier, thanks to some new additions like a 6600mAh battery, but the 1.1kg chassis is still barely noticeable in your bag.

The new shortcut buttons live at the left side of the keyboard, opposite the blue, LED-backlit power button

Overall, it has a very contemporary aesthetic — all its edges are now noticeably more curved, making the 900 look toy-like in comparison. Black and white versions are available, both of which have a glossy, pearlescent lid and wrist rest, which is a nice alternative to the matte white plastic used on its predecessor. On our white review sample, however, the keyboard, underside, battery and screen bezel are all slightly off-white — and that clashes with the glossy bits.

Asus has removed all 'Asus' branding on the EeePC 901. Instead, the branding reads simply "Eee" at the top left of the lid and on the lowermost part of the screen bezel. We're presume this is because Asus wants to completely separate its high-end laptop portolio from its super-cheap netbook line-up.

The EeePC 901 also sports a new hinge. This one seems fatter than before and has large silver-edged rings at each end. The lower section of the laptop has also changed slightly — as you'll see from our pictures, it now has a larger vent designed to expel more hot air generated from its internal components. The more eagle-eyed among you will also notice twin microphones, or array mics, which helps the 901 better understand voice commands.

The 901's keyboard is exactly the same model as used on the 900. This isn't great news since the keys are small and fiddly, but it's possible to get used to them over time. Just above the keyboard, the 901 has a range of shortcut keys that weren't seen on its predecessor.

One lets you deactivate the screen backlight instantly — perhaps to help you improve battery life when you've stepped away from the machine. Another changes the on-screen resolution — like a makeshift zoom function — and another cycles through pre-set performance modes — super performance, high performance, auto high performance and power saving.

Features
While the two use the same 8.9-inch, 1,024x600-pixel display, there are many notable differences between the features on the EeePC 900 and 901. The most important change is the move to an Intel N270 Atom CPU, clocked at 1.6GHz — an improvement over the 900MHz Intel Pentium M on the 900.

The Atom logo, in all its finery. Notice, also, the mouse trackpad is now framed in shiny silver bezel

Atom chips promise improved performance as well as better energy efficiency and longer battery life, but you can find out exactly how it compares later in this review. Both versions of the machine use 1GB of RAM, but since there's one DIMM slot, this can only be upgraded by switching to a 2GB DIMM.

The EeePC 901 will be sold in two varieties. The Windows XP model gets 12GB of storage, while the Linux model gets 20GB of storage. We'd recommend buying the Linux model, and if you already have a valid licence installing a copy of Windows XP. The Linux operating system used on the Eee is fine for most purposes and there are even more pre-installed applications than on the 900, but it still lacks the flexibility of Windows XP. There are no parental controls on the Linux model, for example; you should be aware of this if you're letting young kids use the machine.

Wireless 802.11b/g is standard, as you might expect, but the EeePC 901 now sports 802.11n Wi-Fi. For those of you who have an 802.11n router, this means data transfer speeds that are up to 70 times faster than traditional 802.11g. We've yet to test this particular implementation, but we'd estimate approximately 150Mbps in real-world scenarios.

Bluetooth is included this time round, which is good news for anyone wanting to establish wireless links between their mobile phone and the 901.

Performance
As mentioned, the 901 uses an Intel Atom N270 CPU, a chip designed specifically for machines of this ilk. Overall, we're very pleased with the performance. Switching between application tabs in the Linux OS is quicker than before, as is the speed at which applications launch. Even multi-tasking isn't a problem — the EeePC 901 is perfectly happy playing movies or music while running other apps in the background or foreground.

Left to right: SD card reader, USB ports, D-Sub video output, and a nice, chunky, metallic hinge

One of the Atom CPU's biggest selling points is its energy efficiency. With the addition of the large 6-cell battery, it helped the EeePC 901 rack up an impressive battery life. In our movie playback test, it lasted approximately 4.5 hours with the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adaptors enabled and brightness set at near maximum. That's a definite improvement on the EeePC 900, which lasts anywhere between 1.5-3.5 hours depending on what you're doing. We estimate battery life could stretch close to the 6-hour mark for those willing to deactivate wireless features and reduce screen brightness.

Conclusion
The EeePC 901 is better than the 900. It looks nicer, has a faster, more efficient CPU and better battery life. It's 100g heavier, and larger, but it's the better machine, for sure. Its keyboard is still too small for our liking, but currently it's the pick of the netbook litter.

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gabadines
9
Rating
 

gabadines posted a review   

The Good:portability !!! For my intended application ...it does almost everything !!

The Bad:nothing ..really ...

I have bought mine last June 2009 for my daughter and since then I have never looked back.

It is doing everything I expect for the intended application we are looking for - that is internet surfing, wordprocessing and mostly school homework applications.

For wireless LAN connnectivity - I have never seen any issue concerning compatibilty with ours - I've simply set its internal Wifi setting to our LANS SSID and security - assigned static ip address, assigned the default family printer and basically BOB's your Uncle :-)

I felt the machine can do more so I've decided installing Ubuntu 9.04 through Wubi - Now I have 2 machines in one enjoying the benefits of Ubuntu and Windows Xp.

I can conclude, for such a small machine, it has definitely exceeded my expectations.

jtkv
10
Rating
 

jtkv posted a review   

Its Asus, mini, and does what I bought uit for. If I wanted a laptop (bigger) item, I would have boughten one. i wanted a small quick surfing minilaptop and it does it.

Fconnect
10
Rating
 

Fconnect posted a review   

The Good:Battery life, design, light weight, small size, everything inside!!

The Bad:Nothing - the keyboard size is fine!

Really really really great little thing!! It's perfect for a day at uni, so light and you don't even need to bring the charger cord! Fits inside just about any bag you might be carrying, does everything that you need to do on a day to day basis, great wireless capabilities, I'm in love!!

bargle
9
Rating
 

bargle posted a review   

The Good:Very portable, light good, battery life,
ideal for checking e-mail, using skype etc

The Bad:Keyboard a bit small wouldn't want to use it all day because of that. Small foldable keyboard will be my next buy.

Ideally as a secondary laptop
or something for use in a hotel or when
travelling

ak1
6
Rating
 

ak1 posted a review   

The Good:Runs and runs - with standby mode kicking in, can easily last a working day.

The Bad:End up using the wife's wind, cant take the 9 inch screen for long...probably I need glasses.

Bought one a few months ago - hardly use it. Screen size too small, but keys ok...anyone who can type on their mobile phone wont be complaining about the keyboard.

Jim
9
Rating
 

Jim posted a review   

The Good:Light,quick to boot and shut down. All the included apps appear to work as expected. Battery life is a real treat compared to my HP

The Bad:Touch pad is very sensitive.
Couldn't find my Sansa MP3 player when I plugged it in. Don't know yet what the cure for that will be.

Bought mine from Amazon for ~$480US as a travel replacement for a 14" HP. This a true travel friendly machine and I certainly don't miss Vista.

Ines
6
Rating
 

Ines posted a review   

The Good:Small, portable, light, beautiful (I have the white pearl one, would have prefered red though)

The Bad:Very hard to type as quite a few keys have to be hit very hard before they react

While I really like my 901 I do have to say that typing is rather difficult. It's not so much the smaller keyboard, I guess I can get used to that,but rather that I have to hit many of the keys very hard. As I wanted to use it for e.g. going to a cafe to write this is very negative. Have others the same problem or is it just my machine (I'm typing this now from my 'real' laptop).

Sensualpoet
10
Rating
 

Sensualpoet posted a review   

The Good:It simply does everything as advertised and then adds surprise and delight like the very well thought out short-cut keys.

The Bad:1024x600 screen means less vertical real estate and a little more scrolling than I'd like.

I bought the Asus EeePC 901 as a travelling PC. At this magic pricepoint, it delivers everything I want and need. Windows XP SP2 installed; a full suite of the Star Office if I need to open the occasional file from a work email; 12 GB of solid state storage; an SDHC reader that could easily be used as a "drive e" with 16 or 32 GB additional; and clunkier, but even more convenient, 8 or 16 GB USB flash drives (the former selling for under AU$25 locally). In about a month's use, I can verify getting upwards of 6 hrs battery life, with lots of easy on the fly settings to tweak battery life if needed. In casual use, the N wireless is delivering 135 mbps; it was, in fact, a dream tool during testing in adding a second router, wandering around the house and balcony finding optimal installation settings. For me, the LACK of a hard drive was a big plus; I'm paranoid about losing data, esp. travelling. And cold boot up is under 20 sec; much less in standby. With a little advance planning, you can put ALL data on removable SDHC or USB sticks making it highly secure as well. If someone steals the computer they don't have your data -- try that in a traditional travelling notebook! Plus Bluetooth adds the final touches offering easy connect to an external mouse, unrestricted headphones, and PDA syncing (although I haven't tried that with my Blackberry yet). Power and weight issues mean no DVD drive which adds a level of complexity when installing software but, the intended purpose as a vacation road warrior, it's a minor inconvenience. Highly recommended.

mysarawilson
9
Rating
 

mysarawilson posted a review   

The Good:Guess what, my old diary/organizer was bulkier than my new Eee Pc. i like the pearly finish. the keyboard compliments my small hand very well. plus, i do like the attention everytime i "have" to pull it out of my handbag.

The Bad:well, i did say that i could't have asked for anything else, but i do hope that i can activate my YoStore account. then i'll get an extra 20 GB online storage for free...will call the distributor for this..

For a girl, Eee pc 901 is a dream come true. Lucky me, having small fingers, i have absolutely no problem with the keyboard.I've transfered all the temporary internet files to drive d so my drive c rarely gets jammed with them. i've watched movies and anime without any problem, did hours of online search, it's amazing what the small machine can do! i have absolutely no problem with the limited storage that comes with my window xp version. everyone has some form of external storage...by the way, what's not to love to a notebook that can fit into your handbag? i couldn't have asked for anything more.

Swen
10
Rating
 

Swen posted a review   

The Good:Truely portable.
Powerful applications when needed.
Microsoft free! Hail Linux!

The Bad:Battery-life. Why did the Yanks get a bigger battery? But 2/3 spare batteries cure that. Why isn't there a separate docking-station to charge batteries? ASUS, please do something about that, make it much more practical to charge multiple batteries.

Been reading Eee reviews 'till my eyes fall out. Too many people can't grasp that the Eee is MENT to be ultra portable, this is why it is SMALL. Today's laptops aren't, cost a bomb, and are too easily stolen or broken. The Eee slips away so neatly and easily it's hard to steal and it's sheer lack of size means it will avoid getting hurt. The Eee NOT ment to game on, do photoshop on, watch steaming-video on etc., though it will actually do this. It is ment to write on, keep memo's on, or files for your day-to-day business, and to be a diary/ addressbook, and, when needed, check your emails etc. And, to remind you, for kids at school in poorer countries to do their lessons on. The advantage over a handheld or a cellphone is that it's size is more practical. Not too big, not too small. I solved the short battery-life on my 900 by buying a spare battery. I write a lot, like to have something REALLY portable to have with me all over the place, the Eee replaced my old Amstrad A4 Notebook. And it was a good replacement. (Except the Amstrad ran on AA batteries, available everywhere, anytime).


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User Reviews / Comments  Asus EeePC 901

  • gabadines

    gabadines

    Rating9

    "I have bought mine last June 2009 for my daughter and since then I have never looked back.

    It is doing everything I expect for the intended application we are looking for - that is i..."

  • jtkv

    jtkv

    Rating10

    "Its Asus, mini, and does what I bought uit for. If I wanted a laptop (bigger) item, I would have boughten one. i wanted a small quick surfing minilaptop and it does it."

  • Fconnect

    Fconnect

    Rating10

    "Really really really great little thing!! It's perfect for a day at uni, so light and you don't even need to bring the charger cord! Fits inside just about any bag you might be carrying, does every..."

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