ASUS Eee PC 900 (Linux version)
Affordable ultra-portable notebook
- 1024x600 resolution, 20GB solid-state hard drive, easy to use, quiet, very easy to carry
- Hard to type on, no Express Card slot, mixed results when playing video files
Even if you've never used Linux before, the Linux version of the Eee PC 900 is worth considering. It's more expensive than the Windows XP version, but it does have a larger internal storage capacity, and we feel that it's easier to use.
Price$ 649.00 (AUD)
While it's physically identical to the Eee PC 900 (Windows XP version), this Linux version of the Eee PC 900 has a larger internal storage capacity and is therefore more expensive. Who would have thought that a Linux-based notebook would ever be more expensive than a Windows XP-based notebook? Not only that, the Linux interface that ASUS has employed is clear and well-laid out; in fact, it's actually easier to use than the Windows XP version, but it does feel a little slower overall.
It's the tabbed interface that makes the Linux version so easy to use (it runs the Xandros distribution), as it keeps all of the notebook's different functions in groups. The Internet tab, for example, has the e-mail, Web browser, chat and networking shortcuts, among others, while the Work tab gives quick access to the installed OpenOffice applications. The Learn tab has maths, science, paint and English programs, and the Play tab provides quick access to photo, music and video folders, as well as games.
We didn't have any problems getting on the Internet with the Linux version — it recognised our wireless network and connected to it at 54Mbps using WPA encryption (it also supports WEP). We were able to browse our Windows network without any problems, although we weren't able to stream video comfortably. Instead, the video had to be copied to the Eee PC first, at a rate of around 1MBps, before it would play. But this is a minor quibble and all the networking functions we tried (including network printing) worked well enough.
For watching video, the Eee PC 900 isn't too bad. With dimensions that are similar to a portable DVD player (22.5cm wide and 17cm deep), it's very easy to carry, and its 8.9in screen has relatively good contrast and brightness. Its viewable angles are also wide and it doesn't suffer from noticeable motion blur. However, while playing XviD-encoded videos, we did notice some tearing in the picture. It also struggled to play some WMV files. The Windows XP version was much better viewing videos overall.
Nevertheless, the 18.1GB of available space on the Linux version is plenty for pre-loading a few movies and TV shows to take on the road with you, and the notebook's built-in speakers are so good, you can even watch videos and listen to music without resorting to headphones. Its 4400mAh battery lasted 2hr 10min when looping a video, with the screen brightness all the way up; this is a little short of the Windows XP version, which lasted 2hr 32min in the same test.
Entertainment aside, the Eee PC 900 is an even better tool for education than the original (Eee PC 701 4G), and that's because of the larger screen (which has a 1024x600 native resolution), slightly bigger dimensions and higher storage and memory capacities. The Linux version actually feels a little slower while browsing files and playing with its network settings, but its applications load quickly and they run very well. Unless you're hoping to roll out the Eee PC in a Windows-only environment, the Linux version is well-worth considering. It also boots and shuts down much faster than the Windows version.
Because it's small, it's not very easy to type on. Typing long documents will be tiring. You do get used to the cramped keyboard after a while, however. It has the same touchpad as the Windows XP version, too, which recognises gestures, but unlike the Windows version, the one on the Linux version didn't 'stick' as often. Like the Windows version, the unit got warm while it was crunching data, but not so warm that it would get uncomfortable while using it on your lap.
For connectivity, there are three USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone ports, a D-Sub port, a 10/100 Ethernet port and an SD memory slot. A 1.3-megapixel webcam is built-in to the top of the screen, and it does a good job of capturing video, even in low-light conditions. The only thing it could use is an Express Card slot, but there isn't any space for it in the chassis.
Despite the few problems we faced while playing video, we think the Linux version of the Eee PC 900 is still worth considering. Not only because it has a larger internal storage capacity, but also because its interface is nice and easy to use.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
- Lenovo's Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has futuristic touch panel keyboard
- In PC comeback, ARM will battle Intel in Chromebooks and Windows 10
- Dell: Mainstream laptops with wireless charging are still years away
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCSenior Project Manager - Regulatory/Compliance - BankingNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)WA
- FTLevel 3 Support AnalystVIC
- TPSOE AdministratorQLD
- FTDigital Sales Account Manager - Global BrandNSW
- TPTest AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)NSW
- CCApplication Services Administrator (Linux)NSW
- TPChange and Communications CoordinatorQLD
- TPSolution Architect - Transport DomainVIC
- CCProject Support OfficerNSW
- TPService Desk ManagerVIC
- FTSenior Security Sales SpecialistVIC
- FTJunior Software Engineer - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- TPSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Manufacturing and Trade & Logistics Modules)QLD
- CCData Migration Consultant - LeadNSW
- CCSenior Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- CCTest Analysts - MainframeACT
- FTSalesforce Technical Consultant/Architect Global IT Company - SydneyNSW
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerVIC
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant - SQL Server programming skillsACT
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXWA