Product Type: Asus Netbook
Newest Review: ... charger and adapter, but the computer itself has not had to have any repairs in five years, which is more than I can say about many othe... more
i've been waiting for this laptop for the last 10 years
Asus Eee PC 901
Member Name: abergeek
Asus Eee PC 901
Advantages: small, light, powerful, nice screen, long battery life, cheap
Disadvantages: not as cheap as the 701, keyboard not the best
I bought this to replace an older eeePC 701 which I absolutely loved but often wished it hand a longer battery life and bigger screen. I actually think this is the best laptop i've ever owned and in many ways i've been waiting for something like this to come along for the last 10 years. Its the perfect compromise between something which is small and light enough to carry round with me all day everyday and something which is powerful enough to do pretty much anything I want. After owning several laptops with larger 14" and 15" screens its so nice to travel with this machine instead, especially when flying.
Its great for using when travelling. Its small size means it fits even on the smallest of train and plane tray tables. Its quite practical to use in the back of the car and I even took it offroading in the back of a land rover to use it as a satnav system. I usually take it with me each day to work and its light enough to carry round all day and even if i'm in meetings all day the battery can last all (or at least most) of the day.
The 9 inch screen is big enough for most applications and because its a matte screen not a glossy one you can actually see it in sunlight! Unlike so many other laptops which may look great in a darkened room but as soon as you use them outside they just become a mirror. Occasionally (like when doing photo editing or having lots of windows open) it would be nice to have a bigger screen but for most day to day tasks its more than adequate.
The 1.6ghz processor is more than fast enough for most day to day tasks. I've used my machine for browsing the internet, watching videos, editing photos, editing videos, programming and running satnav software and its been more than adequate. Unless you want to do high end gaming or serious video editing you really don't need anything faster! The 1gb of ram has also been enough for most occasions although running google earth for too long seems to make it run out of memory. I think I read you can upgrade the RAM to 2gb just by opening a door on the bottom of the laptop but i've not tried.
The built in speakers are reasonable quality for a laptop but don't compare to most external speakers. I often use the laptop to stream TV programs while cooking and it works great for this although sometimes I struggle to hear them slightly if there is water running or something is boiling away.
The battery life was excellent when I bought the battery often in excess or 4 or 5 hours depending on screen brightness and the wifi. However my laptop is now nearly 2 years old and I now only get about 3 hours but that is still far better than the 1-2 hours my old Sony Vaio got.
I bought the Linux model which includes a larger 20gb SSD instead of the 12gb that comes with the Windows model. The Xandros Linux distribution that ships with it is actually quite nice and i'd recommend it for somebody new to computers. However I found it a little restrictive, some USB devices didn't work out of the box and updates seemed to lag behind other distributions. I've since installed Ubuntu which works brilliantly. I often use a Three E220 mobile broadband (have tried a tmobile and o2 E160 as well) dongle without any problem. The 20gb SSD is actually a 4gb and a 16gb one. I put the operating system in the 4gb one and have about 1gb left. Then I put all my documents and photos on the 16gb one. I do find that only 16gb means I can't have all my photos on there but its enough for a decent subset (I often put my latest photos on before going to see my grandparents so I can show them recent photos) plus a few films. If you need extra storage the SDHC card slot allows an extra 32gb to be installed or you can just bring an external hard disk.
My only compliant is they keys on the keyboard are a little small and can be a little difficult to type on at times. But, they are more than bearable and I wouldn't not buy this laptop because of them. I also managed to damage my keyboard when I dropped some marmalade on it and then cleaned it with a spray solution I had that claimed to be keyboard cleaner. This cleaning fluid seemed to dissolve the tracks to some keys and only half the keys worked afterwards. I bought a new keyboard off ebay for about £10 and replacing it was pretty simple.
I don't really think that any laptop produced since this one has come close. I think the size/weight/price and solid state disk of this laptop was the perfect combination. Unfortunately the manufacturers seemed to have started make netbooks which weight more, with bigger screens and hard disks.
Summary: Great little laptop for daily use and carrying around anywhere.
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