Thursday, November 1, 2007

Unboxing the Asus Eee PC

I went ahead and bit the bullet. Here are my first few moments with the Asus Eee PC.



The battery is charging up right now, but I have taken a few minutes to play with the tiny, tiny PC.

Here are some initial thoughts:
  • It's smaller than you think. I've typed on small keyboards before, but this one's going to take a little getting used to.
  • The trackpad also takes a little getting used to. I think I'll invest in a tiny mouse for traveling with the Eee PC.
  • The 800 x 480 pixel screen is a bit small for viewing many, if not most websites. But it certainly beats the heck out of most PDA/phone browsers. It will be interesting to see if Asus makes it easy to install Opera or another web browser that's capable of auto-scaling web pages.
  • The operating system and preloaded applications take up about 62% of the 4GB of memory. When Asus begins shipping the 2GB versions of the Eee PC, the company will obviously have to strip off some of the applications.
  • While initial reports were that you could either use the simple Xandros-based user interface or a complete Xandros desktop, I don't see a way to access the complete desktop yet. For most users, this is probably a good thing. The Eee PC is very easy to use right now, and includes Office software, a web browser, some games, an e-mail client. What more do you need?
  • The add/remove software feature links directly to an Asus server. Right now there are only three or four applications available for installation. And several of them are actually just updates for applications that are already installed. I would like to see an option to install 3rd party software like Audacity, but it's not a high priority at this point.
Stay tuned for more videos/photos as I put this puppy through the paces.

18 comments:

Dave Zatz said...

You know, I'm sooo tempted to get one too. But I've been borrowing a 10" Vaio from work the last month, and as long as I have it I (hopefully) won't pull the trigger.

Brad Linder said...

All I can say is if you buy one, do it on a weekend. It's amazing how little real work I've gotten done today. :)

But seriously, this thing is awesome. I mean, it's not a full fledged computer. Web sites look a little funny on the small screen. (F11 is your friend), but this is the low-cost portable PC I've been waiting for all my life. You know, until I get really frustrated at its inability to do X, Y, or Z next week.

Mike Cane said...

You said you tried the kyeboard in a store?! What store?! They had a demo model to fondle?

Brad Linder said...

J&R in New York had 4 units this morning, plus a sample model.

Mike Cane said...

Oh bloody hell. J&R! I'd heard they had them in, but couldn't believe it. Just 4? They're gone, I'm sure, plus the demo model.

Just as well. I am cash-strapped right now. As usual.

Looking forward to your reports. By the way, what's your home address and security alarm code and what time will you be out to walk the cat? Heh-heh.

Chris said...

Brad, about the keyboard, try typing one-handed. You should be able to position your index and ring fingers on the J and F keys, or maybe your middle and index, and use either your thumb or pinky to hit Shift and such as needed. It's a typing technique that I learned on the Toshiba Libretto, which also had a 7" 800x480 screen and a similar keyboard width to the Kohjinsha and EeePC units.

Brad Linder said...

Thanks Chris,

I actually used to have a tiny PDA keyboard that had keys about this size. And I actually tried touch-typing on a Jornada 720 once upon a time. My hands aren't too large to type on this keyboard, it just takes a little getting used to.

And I find the secret is usually six finger typing. If I don't use my pinkies, I'm all set.

The hardest part is getting used to the placement of the arrow keys, backspace, delete, and everything else that's not in the same spot as on my larger laptop.

alflennierlandsen said...

Already ordered one myself (across the planet). I know it will extend my capabilities in the wild concerning blogging, promoting my work etc.

Btw what do you mean by "Its inability to do x, y and z"?

Nice unboxing. Gonna do one later mee self.

Brad Linder said...

Oh, I'm just certain at some point that I'll want it to perform some task that's just beyond it's ability. But now that I've had my Eee PC for a full day, I'm starting to think that it's more likely that human error will prevent it from doing advanced tasks than computer limitations. There's a full fledged PC packed in that tiny little case, you just need to know a bit about Linux.

JJ said...

Hey Brad,

Is there any photo editing software for this thing? Curious if you can do basic photo editing and uploading for WIN stuff. Haven't seen it mentioned in any reviews.

JJ

Brad Linder said...

There's super-basic photo editing capabilities in the Paint program (like saving a PNG as a JPG).

I tried installing WINE to install Irfanview, but it didn't really take. And I'm intimidated by GIMP.

So for now my plan is to upload images to www.picnik.com or www.snipshot.com for editing.

Mike Cane said...

I was right. J&R did indeed sell even the demo model! They got 100 in and sold out in just two days. (I don't know the breakdown of in-store via website sales...)

I'm interested in basic photo editing on it too:

1) Cut palette
2) Cut resolution
3) Crop
4) Resize
5) Red-eye reduction

That'd be VERY helpful. Keep us posted on your investigations.

Brad Linder said...

Hey Mike,

The unit doesn't ship with any advanced photo/image editing software, but it should be pretty easy to install GIMP. Some folks over at Eee User have done so with some success. The only reason I haven't yet is because I'm a bit intimidated by all of that application's options. I'd really like to get WINE configured properly to run my favorite editing/viewing application, Irfanview.

In the meantime, I've been able to use Picnik.com to do some basic image editing. I've written several blog posts using my Asus Eee PC and in fact I'm typing on it right now. There's a built in screen capture utility, which is great. But I use Picnik for cropping and resizing images.

Anonymous said...

eiuzztzNice cat !!!
What about Internet connexion: easy to configure ? quick to connect ?

(from Paris - France)

Brad Linder said...

Honestly, I've never had such an easy time setting up an internet connection on any Windows computer. The Eee PC easily recognizes any WiFi networks in range and lets you connect and save your settings.

Now, if you want to use a mobile phone as a modem, that's a whole different story...

Anonymous said...

I just got mine yesterday from JR. So far, I love it using my LAN. I cannot get Wireless to work. Any ideas? It sees the connection, starts to run, does not ask for a passcode or passkey, but get hung up somewhere and ends in "pending". I don't know what I'm missing or what default is set incorrectly. Of course, I'm not that computer savvy. I've tried my home fios, Starbucks, and more. Any advice is appreciated.

Brad Linder said...

That's odd. Mine recognizes WiFi with no problem at all. You do have to wait a few moments for it to connect sometimes.

Have you tried removing the password from your home network? It might be easier to connect to an open network.

Anonymous said...

I just got mine yesterday from JR. So far, I love it using my LAN. I cannot get Wireless to work. Any ideas? It sees the connection, starts to run, does not ask for a passcode or passkey, but get hung up somewhere and ends in "pending". I don't know what I'm missing or what default is set incorrectly. Of course, I'm not that computer savvy. I've tried my home fios, Starbucks, and more. Any advice is appreciated.

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