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Review of Asus Linux-Based Eee PC 701 227

Posted by kdawson
from the two-pounds-of-power dept.
Bongo Bob writes "CNET.co.uk has up a review of the Asus Eee PC 701 that runs Linux. According to the reviewer. 'It's hard to fault the Eee PC, mainly because of its price. It can be difficult to use because of the cramped keyboard, but it's better than similar-sized laptops like the Toshiba Libretto. If you're in the market for a second PC, or looking for something you can take with you almost anywhere, the Eee PC is definitely worth buying.'"
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Review of Asus Linux-Based Eee PC 701

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  • by mrbill1234 (715607) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @03:19AM (#21146271)
    This is just what I want - a small, cheap thin client. I think this one will be on my xmas list.

    Being solid state - i'm thinking that this thing will be ultra quite too.
  • by mrjb (547783) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @03:20AM (#21146273)
    Yes, it does run Linux.
    • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @04:52AM (#21146649)
      Seeing as everything from a battleship to your grandparent's electric blanket will run Linux, I think we need a new meme...
  • Just want I've been wanting, something that's super light/portable but has enough facilities to let me reconnect to the world and/or do service work, throw it in the brief case or the car. Price is a nice change too (usually expect things like this to be 2~4x the price).
  • Student market (Score:4, Interesting)

    by meatflower (830472) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @03:28AM (#21146317)
    If they advertise this right they could see big sales among students. I'm going to be taking some programming classes next semester and this looks like it would be great to carry around to practice with.
  • by creimer (824291) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @03:32AM (#21146329) Homepage
    For general word processing, how would the Asus Eee PC 701 compare against the Alphasmart Neo [alphasmart.com]?
    • by OrangeTide (124937) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @03:54AM (#21146405) Homepage Journal
      Eee PC is slighty more expensive and has a shorter battery life. And the Alphasmart's keyboard is better for normal adult sized hands.

      But the flexibility of applications and significantly more powerful wordprocessors available for the Eee PC makes it pretty attractive. Plus the ability to use wireless internet to have access to very complete online dictionaries, thesauruses and encyclopedias makes the EeePC a bit more versatile for writers. assuming you can get used to the keyboard.

      I'm planning on getting two EeePCs, one for a writer and one for a programmer(myself).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MBHkewl (807459)
      Do you really use a laptop to just type" nowadays?

      You're more likely to have a copy online (GMail?), to keep it in a safe place, and/or share it with certain people. So, the wifi comes in handy.
      Having a general purpose tool is better than a restricted one, especially when they come at the same price.

      Then again, you might have issues with the keyboard.
      • by creimer (824291)
        Do you really use a laptop to just type" nowadays?

        No, I got a manual typewriter. :)

        Then again, you might have issues with the keyboard.

        That's something I'm concern about. I want something that's small enough to throw into a bag without worrying about it too much. But I also don't need another gadget/paperweight to add to my collection.
        • That's something I'm concern about. I want something that's small enough to throw into a bag without worrying about it too much. But I also don't need another gadget/paperweight to add to my collection.

          I used a Toshiba Libretto (with Debian, naturally) for years, and loved it. You very quickly get used to a small pitch keyboard, and within a couple of weeks will be touch-typing on it without difficulty. Keyboard feel, of course, is another issue, and I'd need to actually type on an EEE before I will kno

    • Since it is a full fledge PC and runs any text editor that you may think of along with software like TeX and LaTeX without a single problem, not to mention WYSIWYG office suits like OpenOffice and KOffice, I'd say that that the Eee PC deprecates that little toy in every single category possibly imaginable.
      • Except for the 700 hours of battery life (versus up to 4 hours) and desktop-sized keyboard parts.
      • by vtcodger (957785)
        ***I'd say that that the Eee PC deprecates that little toy in every single category possibly imaginable.***

        I don't know about the Alphasmart Neo, but when I did school IT, we bought the old Alphasmarts instead of real laptops for Special Ed students for one reason. The Alphasmarts are virtually indestructible. Like military computers, they may be mediocre at computing, but they are still mediocre rather than dead after being dropped, stepped on, used as weapons, or otherwise abused.

    • by DrXym (126579)
      For general word processing, how would the Asus Eee PC 701 compare against the Alphasmart Neo?

      It probably wouldn't compare at all if the one and only thing you want to do is write documents. I would hope that any word processing device is going to focus heavily on keyboard comfort, text input because it doesn't have much else to worry about. I would expect a $220 word processor to feature a very comfortable keyboard.

      Whereas the Asus eee pc is a small form factor PC that runs a word processor amongst oth

    • The two things which have kept me away from Alphasmart have been. . .

      1. The small LCD screen. --I find it very hard to write on something where I cannot see the whole paragraph I'm working on. And. . .

      2. Their outrageous prices. $600 for a keyboard and a very small LCD screen? What's that? Like $10 in parts? --It was obviously a greed-inspired ploy to sell lots of units to schools on government contracts. This seemed criminal enough that I swore I'd never buy one of their products until their pricing
      • by faedle (114018) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:21AM (#21147971) Homepage Journal
        To defend AlphaSmart:

        Part of the reason why the machine had an "outrageous" price is mostly because it's a specialty device manufactured in small quantities, and AlphaSmart provides a whole lot of support to their purchasers. They never intended to market the device to end users: it was designed, marketed, and sold primarily to the educational channel. A lot of the larger educational customers weren't paying full list for the product, but even so, it's been priced at under $500 for quite some time.

        The Neo is currently $219, which seems totally in line with a mature product based on a low-end 16-bit CPU (IIRC, the Neo is a 68000-derived chip) and Flash memory. While the parts might be $10.. I don't know if you've ever done small-run production before, but it would not surprise me if it cost them (today) $50 per unit to build at a typical job shop. That margin is totally in-line with a lot of other specialized electronics.. you think the $3000 plasma sets at Circuit City cost more than $600 to make? They don't.

        Additionally, AlphaSmart used to be very "friendly" with repairs and returns. A lot of the cost of the device included after-sales support. I worked in their repair shop (at least a number of years back, they did ALL of their repairs here in the US), and you'd be surprised what kids can do to these things in an educational environment. Often times, we'd be rebuilding machines for free, or for parts-cost if it was a broken display. We also refurbed the units for schools on a regular basis (send us your entire stock, and we'll clean them up, put the latest software, etc.) dirt cheap.

        Lastly, to AlphaSmart's credit, the machine isn't a sloppily assembled Chinese piece of crap toy. It is sturdily built, well thought out, and well supported by the company...
  • Link to the photos (Score:5, Informative)

    by cerberusss (660701) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @03:48AM (#21146385) Homepage Journal
    Here's a .

    And if it's slow, here's the coral cache: pic1 [nyud.net]
    pic2 [nyud.net]
    pic3 [nyud.net]
    pic4 [nyud.net]
    pic5 [nyud.net]
    pic6 [nyud.net]
    pic7 [nyud.net]
    pic7 [nyud.net]
    pic7 [nyud.net]


    I've gotta say, this is one lovely machine. Full Linux installation etc. What irritated me was the comment that 'you can install Windows XP, for those of us who don't have beards'.

    Ha. Ha. Ha. It's funny. Laugh.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by eddy (18759)
      How about some videos, complete with size comparison against a 15.4"'er... [notebookreview.com]. Note the funny 'hey, a USB-memory just works on linux, huh?!' stuff in there. Hilarious if it weren't so sad.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Darundal (891860)
        They didn't note that a USB Thumbdrive was instantly recognized (which it would be) but that a wireless mouse was recognized and was working immediately upon insertion of the mouse's wireless adaptor. Which ultimately does seem to be the kind of thing that one would note if that person was not a Linux user. While you say it is sad that they note that, it is actually sad that it is worth noting. When I got my current mouse (an Ideazon Reaper which I won at QuakeCon) Windows refused to recognize it until I ha
    • by dominux (731134)
      my kids aged 3,5 and 7 all use Linux and have never used Windows. None of them have managed to grow a beard. I don't have one myself. Neither does my wife.
    • by muyuubyou (621373)
      I wonder why didn't that guy use a real camera. Horrible pics.

      Few nit-picks about this machine:
      - a lot of real-estate wasted to the sides of the screen. Couldn't they put there thumb-pointers like those in the VAIO UX50? or at some cursor buttons? For reference: http://www.engadget.com/2006/06/08/unboxing-the-sony-vaio-ux50/ [engadget.com]
      - a second, fanless, merom-based generation is already coming in April. If they keep the same price I'm in. http://www.digitimes.com/systems/a20070904PD215.html [digitimes.com]

      Going down to 7W from 11W
      • - a lot of real-estate wasted to the sides of the screen.

        It may not show up clearly in the pics, but that's where the speakers live.

  • User Site (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrCopilot (871878) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @04:00AM (#21146427) Homepage Journal
    http://www.eeeuser.com/ [eeeuser.com]

    Great Unboxing / Hands on review.

    Can't wait for them to go on sale stateside.

  • This ASUS EEE looks to be very promising, small, light, it fills the gap between PDAs and UMPCs. And it's all about reliability, low power, almost no moving parts, and Linux (Xandros). A lot of people (like me) are getting really impatient, some are about to get mad. This site has also neat reviews of the thing : http://www.blogeee.net/ [blogeee.net] (translation) : http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.blogeee.net%2F&langpair=fr%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tool [google.com]
  • So, yeah, how simple would it be to install another distro and what distro is on there now? I mean, would ubuntu run well on it or would I have to use DSL (which I'm tinkering with right now)
  • There's my new support laptop sorted out. This looks very well targeted at the ever expanding groups of people who always just might need to get to a PC at any given time. I spend half my life on out-of-hours support for various systems.

    There's a 15 minute response time so I can normally just throw the laptop in the car boot - as a result I've got a fantastic 17" laptop which is great for working on. But it's more luggable than portable. The occasions when I'm going to be more than 15 mins from the car,
  • I saw the news about this a while back before it was released. However I was recently bought a laptop by my sister for £300 from Tescos here in the UK. Its a Gateway ML3108b [gateway.com] and runs Linux just fine (although the soundcard doesn't seem to work). When you look at the price of fully fledged laptops now, this doesn't seem much of a deal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mrbill1234 (715607)
      I think the issue here is the size of the Eee, not the features. You won't find something of the Eee's side for that price.
    • Apart from the fact that I wouldn't touch a gateway with a barge pole. Yeah, you can pick up a reasonably specced laptop for hardly any money these days from some manufacturers - I still wouldn't spend MY money on one. Asus, on the other hand, are a brand I DO trust.
    • by glwtta (532858)
      That's twice the price of the Eee thing.

      Also, you have an impressively flexible definition of "runs Linux just fine".
  • by DrXym (126579) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @04:46AM (#21146609)
    The Asus EEE is the perfect device for using on planes, coffee shops, lecture halls, holidays etc. It has a decent suite of apps, has wifi, can (in theory) run anything Linux has to offer, it's tiny and it's very, very cheap. I imagine you could even use one of this on an airline tray which is impressive in itself.

    The price is also important. It sucks if it gets dropped or stolen but not as much as if it happened to a Vaio costing 4x as much. I expect people will be tossing these eee devices into backpacks rather than hauling around enormous laptop cases. If I were Microsoft I would be very scared by the trend these ultracheap laptops will start. Not only do they demonstrate that Windows is not a necessity, they'll act as a wedge for Firefox, OpenOffice, and Linux too.

    The same applies to the OLPC assuming they produce a commercial variant. They really should since I predict there is a lot of money to be made if they did.

    • by Alioth (221270)
      I can use my 12in PowerBook on an airline tray (in steerage). But it did cost 4 times as much :-)

      My trouble with airline trays is that I usually have some kid sitting in the seat in front, who insists on not slowly reclining their seat, but slamming it back to the stop at close to relativistic speeds. I've nearly had my display broken by that (trapped between the seat and tray), and nearly had my airline dinner on my lap because of that too. They should put a damper in the seats to limit the speed at which
      • by vtcodger (957785)
        ***My trouble with airline trays is that I usually have some kid sitting in the seat in front, who insists on not slowly reclining their seat, but slamming it back to the stop at close to relativistic speeds.***

        They should ship those things (kids) as luggage -- or, at the very least, tie them up and stuff them into the overhead bins. It'd make air travel much less stressful for non-related adults.

        • by grumling (94709)
          I think it would make a lot of sense for airlines to divide up the plane into family and non-family sections, just like McDonalds. Forget about 1st class seating and service, just get me there without having to hear screaming and having the "cute little munchkin" in front of me play the turn-around-and-stare-at-me-for-2-hours game and I'll pay the 10% premium.

          Besides, anyone who can afford first class these days is using NetJets [netjets.com]
          • I think it would make a lot of sense for airlines to divide up the plane into family and non-family sections, just like McDonalds. Forget about 1st class seating and service, just get me there without having to hear screaming and having the "cute little munchkin" in front of me play the turn-around-and-stare-at-me-for-2-hours game and I'll pay the 10% premium.

            Pay extra so you can sit next to the bozo who tries to get his 17" laptop on his tray (and yours) while simultaneously trying to get his cell phone

  • I'm thinking about buying the Nokia n810 for something to dork around with while bike touring. The advantage to the Eee is the large keyboard and possibly lower cost. It looks slightly sturdier too. The advantage with the Nokia is the built in GPS and longer battery life.

    I'm conflicted.

    Btw. It would be cool if someone sold a battery powered external usb DVD drive. Like say if I bought a DVD on the road but I didn't want to run my main battery down.

  • except it comes preloaded with xandros, and i wont buy the Asus Eee because Xandros signed a deal with Microsoft...

    i refuse to support any Linux Distributer that signs deals with the enemy of GNU/GPLed FOSS software, the friend of my enemy is my enemy too...
  • Eclipse (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bloater (12932) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @08:33AM (#21147409) Homepage Journal
    But can I run eclipse on it? and fit the gcc/g++ toolchain and all the intermediate build files for my projects on its flash storage?
    • On the 4GB version the OS itself uses 33% of the storage space, so fitting eclipse wouldn't be to hard.
    • by glwtta (532858)
      Yeah, and AutoCAD - anyone know how well it will run AutoCAD? And what about POV-Ray, that's gotta run pretty well, right?
      • by Bloater (12932)
        POV-Ray should run fine. I used to run it on a DX4-100 with 4MB ram and only about 100MB spare disk.
  • I'm in Australia. Does anyone know how I can get one within the next few weeks?
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      I'm in Australia. Does anyone know how I can get one within the next few weeks?
      I'm sure there is some sort of international delivery service in place to Australia via FedEx or whatever similar global corporation.
      Just buy it wherever it's currently being sold and have it shipped.
      (Asus typically has worldwide warranty, your keyboard might have amusing characters on it depending on country of purchase, you may have to pay customs tax)
  • I'm buying this. I'd be crazy not to: small form factor - check, runs linux (HW completely supported) - check, totally affordable price - check, I needed a laptop anyway - check ("how did you survive so long without one?"), looks cute (chicks will dig it) - check. Latter is important in classroom environs.
  • I will buy this on one condition.

    Does anybody know if it has a glossy screen or a matte finish?
  • The review says:

    Battery life was quite impressive. Asus claims it will last approximately 3.5 hours depending on what tasks you're performing, and this was in line with our own experience. With very light use, the machine lasted as long as four hours, though your own mileage may vary.

    Not bad, but my 2005 iBook (G4, ca. 2kg) is rated at "up to 6 hours", and in real use I still get at least 4.5 hours out of it (provided I'm not playing DVDs or running the screen at max brightness or compiling Emacs). I'

    • Addendum: having said the Eee PC 701's battery life (given its weight, size and price) is not at all bad - the question is will it support a UNIXy OS without too much hassle, and looking at the ZDNet review [zdnet.co.uk] mentioned elsewhere, it looks like the usual story: looks like more trouble than it's worth (for me at least).

    • is there any reason why "PC" laptops generally pack that much less juice?
      It's not that they "pack" less juice, it's that they suck it up faster. Windows tends to do a lot of busy work, while Linux more frequently runs out of things to do, at which point it idles the processor until the next interrupt triggers, saving power consumption.

      If I'm using my laptop under Windows, I don't get as much time on battery as I do under Linux.

  • by ealar dlanvuli (523604) <froggie6@mchsi.com> on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:02AM (#21148231) Homepage
    "The Eee PC is theoretically fast enough to run Windows XP, which is great news for those of us without beards."

    This is not the quote of a professional review. This is what I would expect to read in a slashdot post written by a astroturfer or a troll. CNet has become increasingly worse, but now I think it may have jumped the shark into tabloid land. I can't believe any competent editor allowed this drivel through, and even worse a professional writer thought it was acceptable if it wasn't put there by one of the editors.

    I think it might be time for /. to stop linking to CNet. At least, ones with Rory Reid, Jason Jenkins, and Shannon Doubleday involved in any way.

    Sean
    • by Anonymous Coward
      All sorts of professionals use humour in their work, even those working in far more serious, far more dangerous lines of work (eg. doctors who dress in funny clothes when working with children, pilots who tell jokes over the intercom to put passengers at ease). If you are so humour impaired as to not understand that there is room for a bit of humour in nearly all lines of work, please try to stop being such an emotionless robot and join the rest of us out here in the real world.
    • Do us a favor and get yourself a sense of humor, pal.
    • by hey! (33014) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @04:21PM (#21150509) Homepage Journal

      "The Eee PC is theoretically fast enough to run Windows XP, which is great news for those of us without beards."


      Which means ... women can't use Linux. Men of east asian descent like me could use linux, but we don't because people would laugh at the kind of linux use we could manage.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spacezilla (972723)
      Jeez, it's a joke, lighten up! If you're going to go through your entire life being insulted that easily, you're in for a rough ride and you're going to be missing out on a lot of fun!
  • Something small and light like this and that is cheap for when you destroy it is a good thing.

Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so. -- Josh Billings

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