I’ve had my Asus Eee PC 1000HE for a couple weeks now. I’ve used it for some real work at this point, so here’s my take on this machine.
Before I dig into the specifics of the Eee, remember what a netbook is. It’s a mini computer. It can do virtually anything a full-size machine can do, except it has limited processing power and screen size.
I purchased the Eee to use as my travel computer. I have a beefy Dell Inspiron laptop for in-office computing needs. But it’s too heavy and bulky to easily carry around. I wanted a lightweight computer that I could take to court with me, grab for a quick meeting at Business Playce, or easily use on an airplane. The Eee meets my needs.
Since your needs and wants are probably different than mine, here are some specific observations about the 1000HE.
I need a netbook that can easily make it through 3 or 4 hours at court. Ideally, I wanted something that could last longer for an all-day meeting or seminar.
The Eee’s battery easily lasts six hours, and it’s supposed to go for 9.5 hours. The best gauge I have is when I bring the Eee to the living room in the evening for some light catch-up work. I bring it down around 6pm and head to bed around midnight. The battery lasts all that time and still has more than an hour left on the meter.
As with any laptop, you can squeeze more juice out of the battery by turning things off. Right now I have wireless and Bluetooth off. The screen is set to about 45% brightness (which is my usual setting – plenty bright). I’m typing this blog post in Word. I’ve had the Eee running for about 15 minutes, and the meter shows 8:12 hours remaining.
In addition to the awesome battery life, the Eee recharges fast. I use it all day on some Saturdays. A couple of 30-minute breaks to recharge give the Eee enough juice to make it. If you had an all-day seminar, you could easily use this machine with a quick charge-up on your lunch break.
The Eee’s screen isn’t big, but it’s quite workable. I’ve started using a couple tricks to maximize what I see:
- Minimize the Microsoft Word ribbon (right click to the right of the toolbar titles and select “Minimize Ribon”). This gives you plenty of space to see the document you need to manipulate.
- Use Firefox in full-screen mode (F11). The window title, toolbar, Awesome Bar, tab list, status bar, and Windows task bar take up a lot of screen space. Do you really need all that when you’re just writing an email or browsing Facebook? Nope. You can still use keyboard shortcuts in full-screen mode: CTRL+Tab to change tabs, CTRL+L to go to the Awesome Bar, etc.
Small computers come with small keyboards. The Eee’s keyboard isn’t full size. But it’s perfectly sufficient.
I’m a fast typist with large hands. I use a regular keyboard at my desk. But I can easily type just as fast on the Eee.
Admittedly, it’s hard to quickly switch back and forth between the Eee and regular keyboard. But I only stumbled with that while I was customizing the Eee, installing programs, etc. Typing is really no problem whatsoever.
One caveat: the Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down buttons. I use Home and End quite frequently to go to the start or end of a line or input field. I didn’t realize how much I used them until I started using the Eee. And they weren’t there!
The Eee keyboard has these keys assigned to the arrow keys. You press the “Fn” button and the appropriate arrow key. It took me a while to get used to this, but it’s workable.
The main programs I use on the Eee are Firefox, Word, and Acrobat Reader. They hum along just fine.
I haven’t upgraded my RAM, so it’s still at the default 1 GB. But I’m very happy with the performance I’m getting. It sometimes takes a second for Word to open, but that’s to be expected.
The one performance issue I’ve noted is with Remember the Milk in Firefox. I guess RTM is using lots of AJAX or something because it bogs down a bit on the Eee. It’s still usable, but annoyingly slow sometimes. It runs fast on my Inspiron, so I think the Eee is just a little under powered for it.
Since netbooks are primarily for travel, how does the 1000HE stack up? It’s great!
I’ve written this entire blog post on an airplane in a cramped non-first-class seat. I’ve tried using a regular laptop on a plane, and it just isn’t easy. The screen and keyboard are too big to fit on the tray table and still leave room for typing.
The Eee easily fits on the tray table, leaving plenty of room for my long arms to reach the keyboard comfortably. And my drink still fits on the table too!
The Eee has a matte screen. This was one big reason I went with it instead of a Dell Mini (in addition to the Eee’s superior battery life). My Inspiron has a glossy screen (as do the Mini’s), and it’s impossible to see in bright light. I wanted a netbook that I could take outside and use on the patio or wherever.
I used the Eee on our patio a couple days ago. It was awesome! I sat there, enjoying the morning breeze, checking my email, and drinking my coffee. That’s a good life.
I now take my Eee with me every time I go to court. All my client files are on it. I take notes on it right in front of the judge’s bench. It’s small and light enough to hold in one hand to review a document. And you can hunt-and-peck with the other hand to type a quick note. Plus, it’s discreet.
That’s about all I can think of to write for now. Do you have any specific questions about the Asus Eee PC 1000HE? I’d be happy to answer whatever I can.
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