Eee PC, 4 Months Later
You may recall about 4 months ago, I reviewed the Eee PC. As it turned out, the computer was actually a gift from my wife, so unlike many of the other products I review, I got to keep it. I'm going to give you the quick rundown of how those 4 months have been with the little lappy at my side:
Early on, I formatted the hard drive, and installed a full version of Ubuntu. I felt the original operating system was too limiting, and I wanted more power. It worked fine, but unfortunately, it did increase the startup time, and a few things never did work quite right. (Mainly, battery notification and hibernation.) I considered the EeePC a full blown laptop, and I wanted it to behave in just that manner. And, it did. The problem was that I really never used the Eee as a full blown notebook, and rather would only use it to surf the web and do some occasional text editing.
So about 2 months ago, I formatted the hard drive again, and reinstalled the original Xandros-based Linux it shipped with (editor's note: Shawn loves reinstalling distributions). The boot time was amazing, and it turns out the simple design worked very well for the things I used the EeePC for anyway! I think my original problem is that I saw the interface as a stripped down laptop instead of a souped up "mobile device." When I think of my EeePC as a Palm Pilot on steroids, it's actually extremely useful...
Pros and Cons from an Old Hand
Here's a quick list of the pros and cons after owning and using the EeePC for quite a while:
- Extremely portable. It's like carrying a paperback book.
- Fast boot time, especially with the original OS.
- Apps, especially games, come pre-configured for small screen.
- Plugging into a monitor gets full size goodness without a reboot.
- Everybody thinks you're super cool.
- The keys really are a bit too small.
- The screen is annoyingly small when browsing some sites.
- The battery life isn't horrible, but it's not great either.
- There's no way to determine the battery charge level externally.
- Updates are awkward at best, and rare to arrive.
So in the end, do I still like the Eee? Yes, for sure. I'll admit that the small keyboard and short battery life has kept it from becoming my full-time laptop, but it's still something that I'll grab if I'm headed to a bookstore or a coffee shop. The thing that surprised me the most, however, is that the EeePC is apparently sized perfectly for my kids! They range from 7-11 years old, and don't seem to have any problems using the keyboard or small screen, except for those few web pages that demand more real estate. Especially the Webkinz site, that one won't even let them scroll side to side. :o)