A closer look: Eee PC 901By Frank Ohlhorst | Print
Asus shows that a funny name doesn’t make something a funny product. The Eee PC netbook offers style, battery life and performance for the ultraportable crowd, at a price anyone can afford.
The Eee PC 901 has a few claims to fame that other netbooks don’t, such as battery life near 8 hours and a solid, quality construction. While the display may be a little on the small side, the resolution offered should prove good enough for most Web-based applications and general Web surfing. The integrated Web cam lends itself well to Skype video phone duties, or just capturing video in general.
Most users will quickly get used to the small keyboard and sensitive touch pad, but those with large fingers should expect to be frustrated until they spend a bit of time with the unit. The display proves to be bright and crisp and easy on the eyes, although the native resolution is just 1024-by-600, a small dot pitch is needed to cram that resolution onto the 8.9-inch TFT. That helps to make images sharp, but for those with trouble seeing smaller items, text and images may be a little too small for comfort.
The unit features a pair of small stereo speakers integrated into the front, which offer surprisingly good sound, clear and loud enough for most environments. The use of an SSD hard drive helps improve speed and reliability, but storage space is severely limited, leaving only about five or six gigabytes available for storing documents, videos and photos. Luckily, the unit offers three USB ports, so external storage can readily be used. The unit’s integrated Wi-Fi offers decent range and was able to connect to a variety of access points with no difficulties. Bluetooth offered equal ease of use and reliability. The Eee PC 901 also offers a 10/100 Ethernet connection, which worked flawlessly with a wired network.
All of those communication features add up to the ability to be readily connected to the Web and that is one area where devices like the Eee PC 901 will shine. With fast connections to the Web, most of a user’s applications can be offered via hosted services, such as Google apps, salesforce.com and so on, and that may very well be the sweet spot for netbooks in general and the Asus Eee PC 901 in particular.
For solution providers, hosted applications may be the business model to pursue when selling netbooks such as the Asus Eee PC 901. The idea would be to use the portability and low cost of the device to replace traditional desktop or notebook systems and then sell the services and solutions that help a company move over to AJAX, Web 2.0, SAAS and other hosted technologies.
Compared to a ThinkPad T series, the Eee is indeed tiny!