(Source: Notebook Review)

  (Source: Notebook Review)

  (Source: Notebook Review)
It appears that ASUS has a winner with the Eee PC 701

ASUS has surely struck a nerve when it comes to the new Eee PC 701 notebook. When the device was first announced in June, a price tag of $199 USD was slapped on its LCD lid and people began to take notice.

Over the past few months, official specifications for the device were revealed and the $199 USD price tag was shown to be the price of entry for OEMs, not consumers. ASUS relayed to the public earlier this month that the base Eee PC 701 would retail for $299 USD and would be available at retailers like Best Buy and Newegg in the coming weeks.

Even with the $100 USD price increase for consumers, interest in the device has still remained high. Keeping that in mind, LAPTOP Magazine and Notebook Review have both issued reviews for ASUS' low-cost alternative to traditional 15.4" notebooks that usually reside in the sub-$400 USD market.

LAPTOP Magazine tested a Eee PC 701 4G which comes standard with an Intel Celeron M ULV 900MHz processor, 4GB of solid-state memory for storage, 512MB of RAM, 7" 800x480 screen, three USB 2.0 ports, Atheros 802.11g WiFi and an Asus Xandros-based Linux operating system. The device measures 8.9" x 6.5" x 1.4", weighs just 2 pounds and has a battery life of 3.5 hours with its standard battery.

LAPTOP Magazine notes that the low price tag meant that some compromises had to be made with regards to the Eee PC. One area which didn't receive much attention was the keyboard/touchpad.

"The keyboard is cramped but is just big enough to touch-type on; the biggest annoyance is the proximity of the Up arrow key and right Shift key; we accidentally moved up a line on several occasions while trying to capitalize a letter," said LAPTOP Magazine's Mark Spoonauer. "And although we didn't mind the unified, slightly chintzy-feeling touchpad button that you can left- or right-click on, our kid tester found it confusing at first."

Despite the input challengers, Spoonauer was able to bestow much praise upon the device. He noted the plethora of built-in applications including Firefox, Skype, 2.0 and various multimedia applications.

Spoonauer was also impressed with the WiFi performance and relative zippiness of the Celeron processor backed with 512MB of memory and the SSD. "Most apps loaded quickly, and the 512MB of RAM is more than sufficient for an operating system with such little overhead," Spoonauer continued.

Notebook Review expressed similar optimism and reservations for the Eee PC 701 4G. The keyboard once again was singled out.

"Okay, so the keyboard is far from being a ThinkPad keyboard, but it's not (quite) the worst keyboard we've ever experienced on a notebook That said, we have to be honest and say it's a real challenge to get used to this keyboard if what you want to do is fast touch type input," remarked the Notebook Review team. "Some of the keys are a little wobbly, most of them are undersized and your fingers will most definitely strike the wrong keys as you get used to the weird size and positioning of the keys."

Notebook Review, however, praised the device’s multimedia playback and its ability to recognize a multitude of USB peripherals without issue.

Notebook Review also went further than just text for its review and posted numerous pictures of the Eee PC 701 4G along with video of the device in action.

It appears that ASUS has a winner on its hands with the Eee PC 701 series of notebooks. Although its price tag is barely cheaper than bargain-basement Celeron-powered 15.4" notebooks that can be found on a regular basis at Office Depot, Staples or Best Buy; the portability factor and Windows compatibility of the Eee PC 701 4G is hard to beat at this price point.

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