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  (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, OpenOffice.org 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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No option for internal optical drive
By jak3676 on 10/26/07, Rating: 0
RE: No option for internal optical drive
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 10/26/2007 12:58:27 PM , Rating: 2
DVD drive = more weight and more $$$.

I'm seriously thinking about getting one of these and installing Windows XP on it. Would make a great machine. Toss in an 8GB SD card ($56) for additional storage and you're ready to roll :)

I currently have a Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC and I've used my external DVD-RW once, and that was to install Office 2007. I rip my DVDs to DiVX for my Q1.


By Chris Peredun on 10/26/2007 1:07:47 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
DVD drive = more weight and more $$$.

And less battery life. For movies, the high-capacity SD card suggested by Brandon is the perfect solution.

For XP, the usual caveat of flash media + swap file = bad applies. Disable swap and WFP, and use nLite or LitePC to pare down XP as far as it will go.

Or just wait for ASUS to release their officially-sanctioned XP machines. ;)


RE: No option for internal optical drive
By Screwballl on 10/26/2007 1:23:07 PM , Rating: 2
XP??? why???

It has linux which is much more capable than anything MS can put out on this hardware. If you do that you may as well go with Win2000 because this is a sub-1GHz processor.


RE: No option for internal optical drive
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 10/26/2007 1:28:48 PM , Rating: 3
B/C I own a legal copy of Windows XP Home SP2 and all of my software is Windows-based and always has been?

That could be a reason... ;)


RE: No option for internal optical drive
By tacoburrito on 10/26/2007 1:48:47 PM , Rating: 2
This machine is intended for you to compose a note, some light accounting work, and surf the internet. If you are planning to use Photoshop or Nero Recode, this machine is not for you. There is no reason to install Windows on this thing.


RE: No option for internal optical drive
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 10/26/2007 1:57:44 PM , Rating: 3
That's what people said about my Samsung Q1 Ultra with its "puny" 800MHz processor running Windows Vista ;)

900MHz is plenty to do some serious work in Windows XP.


By swtethan on 10/26/2007 2:16:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah my P3 1ghz runs XP with 256MB ram..... hmmm what to choose


By darkpaw on 10/26/2007 2:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
XP runs fine on a 500 mhz machine with at least 256 MB RAM. There is no reason it wouldn't run great on this system.

I think I might get one for wireless audits. Light weight and atheros chipset is a nice combination. Getting everything running well on hand helds tends to be a PITA, but this may work out very nicely.


By Oregonian2 on 10/29/2007 3:02:38 PM , Rating: 2
I think there are things between the choices of Photoshop use and composing a note.


By MonkeyPaw on 10/27/2007 12:59:32 AM , Rating: 2
You can easily run XP on less than 1.0ghz. When I had my 500mhz P3 thinkpad, I ran XP on it. It was pushing the system, but that had more to do with the limited RAM and IGP. Besides, it's not WinXP that loads down a basic system, it's things like websites that have lots of poorly written flash content or high-bitrate video.


Keyboard
By ChoadNamath on 10/26/2007 2:07:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"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."


Maybe I'm weird, but I don't recall ever using the right shift key. I don't see this being a problem for most people.




RE: Keyboard
By Johnmcl7 on 10/26/2007 7:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
I think it depends on the keyboard, on a normal keyboard touchtyping I'm fairly sure I only use the left shift key which is actually quite odd as I was sure I used the right hand side one.

On a smaller keyboard (such as the one on the Sony UX) though I do find I need the right shift key as I'm generally only using two thumgs to type.

I think you're probably right for the keyboard on the EEE, well at least for me.

John


RE: Keyboard
By rgsaunders on 10/26/2007 7:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously you don't generate many documents or you aren't a touch typist. Those of us who do and are touch typists find little "features" like this annoying. None the less, I too may pick up ones of these for its on the road utility.


RE: Keyboard
By ChoadNamath on 10/26/2007 8:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
I am a touch typist, but I exclusively use the left shift key. Maybe that's weird, but that's the way I've always done it.


RE: Keyboard
By mickyb on 11/9/2007 1:01:14 PM , Rating: 2
Quick...think of a sentence that requires the right shift key.

Any letter that requires the left pinky to be used in a capital form requires the right shift key.

We use the right shift key when it is more comfortable to use it to type a letter. Not necessarily due to the standard practice.

The first two sentences of this reply requires it. The third sentence feels more comfortable. I use the left shift way more than I am supposed to for real touch typing. Any letter on the left hand is supposed to be capitalized with the right shift key, but I usually use the left shift key for a capital T.


Impatiently waiting
By kileil on 10/26/2007 1:01:46 PM , Rating: 2
Until they're able release the (rumored) 10" screen model at the $299 price w/ around 8GB HD. Once that day comes, I'm snatching one up quickly.




RE: Impatiently waiting
By Chris Peredun on 10/26/2007 1:09:21 PM , Rating: 2
The 10" model is currently dead. The "second generation" Eee (801?) that's slated for an April 2008 release is going to get a processor upgrade, thermal output decrease, and possible fanlessness - but I haven't heard anything about a larger or higher-resolution screen.


RE: Impatiently waiting
By kileil on 10/26/2007 1:34:02 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully it gets revived or the 8" receives a decent resolution. Anything smaller than 800x600 is just a pain to use IMO


RE: Impatiently waiting
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/26/2007 7:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
I know the guys over at www.citrusmicro.com have been working with Asus for a long time on this product. They said it will be near impossible to get a unit unless you have a pre-order in place. They said they volume coming in will be steady and increasing over time, but being a new product, it will take time to get up to full production speed. They are taking orders for the 701 model now as they will ship first, only taking pre-orders on the 700 models.


Grab 'n' Go laptop
By TheDiceman on 10/26/2007 1:14:04 PM , Rating: 2
I am seriously considering one of these just to simply have a good grab and go notebook wihtout having to drop a lot f money. I like a small form factor notebook that I only will use for internet and work processing (maybe a little music) that I can take with me when I am on the go and only really need that base functionality. Most other small form factor laptops tend to be way too pricey and have more performance than I need from them.




RE: Grab 'n' Go laptop
By SunAngel on 10/26/2007 1:26:19 PM , Rating: 1
reads as if you really need a pocket pc pda/smartphone, not a mini-notebook.

my 2 cent. your welcome.


RE: Grab 'n' Go laptop
By TheDiceman on 10/26/2007 3:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
I am not about to do word processing on some handheld piece of junk.


Palm product
By howtochooseausername on 10/26/2007 1:24:52 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't there a product from Palm, announced a few months back, that was similar to this?

They pushed back its release because of some software issue, but I remember they wanted to sell it for about 499$.




RE: Palm product
By mechwarrior1989 on 10/26/2007 1:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
You're thinking of the Palm Foleo which was annoced later than the EEE PC and was then killed as it was a bad idea in the first place. It wasn't as full functioned as this is and it was more expensive.


Students welcome
By tspinning on 10/26/2007 3:00:30 PM , Rating: 2
This looks like a wonderful classroom size note taker/student laptop! And as this price, should a beer find its way onto it, I wouldn't want to kill my roommate!




RE: Students welcome
By zander55 on 10/26/2007 7:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
i'm a cash strapped college and would love one of these things for $200. i was sorely disappointed when i found out it would be more. i only have a desktop to last me the next few years but something like this would be a perfect supplement to just throw in my backpack and take notes and type papers and such on the go. i'll probably get one or something similar when the price is right. looking forward for spring refresh.


I'm impressed. Asus is good at fishing...
By Vim on 10/27/2007 8:01:27 AM , Rating: 2
I'm hooked. The price tag it has, the size of the machine and the features it has, makes me wanna buy one even if I'm not gonna use it.




By Vim on 10/27/2007 8:10:57 AM , Rating: 2
Wonder how long till Dell or HP follow suit.


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