Asus EEE PC 4G Review

I don't know how they did it but a few weeks ago CIMB bank gave me a credit card with my name on it. And then the next day I went to Low Yat Plaza and bought myself my first very own notebook, the Asus EEE PC 4G. Weird stuff.
The Asus EEE PC notebook family comes in 4 models, the 2G, 4G, 8G and 900. I've searched Low Yat Plaza high and low that day and I came to the conclusion that only the 4G unit is available in this country. The basic 4G unit costs just RM1299.
This subnotebook came with a notebook sleeve, charger and an installation DVD, that's all. For RM1299 I get a 7" screen, 900Mhz Intel M processor, 512MB DDR2 RAM, 4GB solid state hard disk, 0.3 megapixel webcam and wireless LAN.
It also has 3 USB ports, one SD card slot, one VGA port, Kensington lock port, VGA port, Ethernet port and no CD-ROM. 4GB hard disk space is definately too small to store anything so I bought a 8GB SD card and an external DVD-writer for RM90 and RM317 each.
The Asus EEE PC has only one memory slot so I decided to upgrade the RAM to 2GB for RM110 on the spot. Overall I spent RM1816 for the notebook plus accessories. I know I can get a decent Acer notebook for that price but then it's going to be HUGE and heavy and everybody knows Acer sucks. The reason I chose the EEE PC over others is the size, weight and mobility. Other subnotebook with this size should easily cost between RM3000 (a Dell) to RM8000 (Sony VAIO).
I was tempted to buy the pearl white colour but I thought with my line of work, it'll get all sumdgy and dirty within weeks. Design-wise I think the EEE PC is quite okay. I wish the would put the speakers elsewhere instead of flanking the screen like that. The plastic casing felt rather cheap too and the touchpad key makes quite a noise when clicked.
The 4 cell Lithium-Ion battery can last over 3 hours when left idle, around 1.5 hours when watching a full length movie from a thumbdrive and only 45 minutes when using the external DVD drive. I think you can purchase the optional longer lasting battery pack somewhere according to their website.
The default operating system for the EEE PC is Xandros Linux, a propretiery Linux system that is not too popular among the open-source community. Anyway this notebook is fully compatible with Windows XP but with only 4GB of disk space, you'll have to install most of your application into a SD card or an external hard drive. I've successfully installed Windows XP on this notebook before attempting to install Mac OS X Leapord and finally Ubuntu 8.04. I aborted the Mac OS installation halfway cause it takes too much time. Besides, I think Mac OS X will literally crawl on this machine with its low-low specs.
The icon-based Xandros Linux is quite okay (for a 4 year old) but for serious users like me, I'd prefer to use a real OS like Ubuntu. Actually installing and using Windows XP is a lot easier than Ubuntu because all the drivers is provided inside the installation DVD and all the hardwares (wireless, webcam, sound) worked without any problem. Using Ubuntu on the other hand, presents me with a couple of problems. First the wireless and microphone jack didn't work and then I just cannot shutdown my notebook properly.
Fortunately I got them all fixed thanks to the EEE PC fixes page found at this Ubuntu Community page. The solutions is not that hard if you just follow the instructions properly. Yes it's quite challenging downloading, compiling and installing the drivers all by yourself but I get an enormous sense of satisfaction when I get them all working in the end. After installing Ubuntu,, Thunderbird, Audacious, Audacity and VLC media player I got about 900MB of disk space left. Despite clocking only 900MHz, running applications, music and videos felt really light partly thanks to Ubuntu but mostly because of the 2GB DDR2 RAM.
Except for the super-small 4GB hard drive, I must say I'm quite satisfied with the Asus EEE PC. Listed here are some pros and cons of the notebook.

Pros: Lightweight, compact, affordable.

Cons: Small screen, short battery life, cheap plastic, limited disk space.

Obviously the EEE PC is not a notebook for everyone. If you're looking for an affordable entry-level notebook for common tasks such as typing documents, spreadsheets, surfing the Internet, blogging or stuff then the EEE PC is right for you. Of course you can also watch movies, listen to music and burn DVDs using an external DVD drive or hard drive. Then again some people will find the 7" screen and the 800x420 resolution to be too small or the keyboard too little for their huge fingers. It all depends and you really and what you plan to do with the notebook. As for me I'm quite happy with my little baby here :)

Asus has realeased the EEE PC 900 model in Europe, North America and some partd of Asia (but not yet in Malaysia). This model has up to 20GB of SSD+flash hard disk and it comes bundled with 8.9" screen and Windows XP. So if you're thinking of getting yourself an EEE PC anytime soon, I suggest you hold on for this model.


  1. Actually, the Xandros OS is pretty powerful itself and it is best suited for the EeePC 701. I did a full review of the Eee 701 before and what I can tell is that by far the best OS is still the EeePC's version of Xandros because it still supports all the hardware.

    Maybe you weren't aware that there is an advance interface for the Eee which unlocks the full GUI. What I did was to do that and install Fluxbox which is an excellent minimalist GUI for a debian based system.

    You can get Eeebuntu which is the stripped down version of Ubuntu for the Eee, but because of all the configurations you have to mess with. It's not perfect out of the box.

    Also, the Eee 701 while having a 900mhz chip only runs it at 566mhz because the FSB is underclocked. You need to tweak your settings for the chip to run at full 900mhz.

    What I concluded in my review was that the Eee 701 was meant for either the first time users or the hardcore modders. Because it runs a debian based Linux, its easy to run and configure many things on it of you know how to.

    Also, if you're new to the EeePC, you might want to go visit which is an community driven EeePC resource site.

  2. Maybe you're right, but I'd still prefer Ubuntu over something else. Anyway, thanks for the comment kamigoroshi. You own an EEE PC yourself I presume?

  3. I was tempted to buy the EeePC under the Digi EeePC Package where I only had to pay a monthly installment of RM123 which includes Digi Wireless EDGE and an ASUS 3G modem.

    There was a higher RM198 package where it was bundles with an ASUS Pocket PC phone which I really like.

    Unfortunately they didn't accept monthly installment using CIMB Bank credit card. This was all before I bought my Compaq Presario laptop though.