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Asus Eee PC 904HD

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    1 Review
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      15.02.2012 20:53
      Very helpful



      A product better off left as part of computing history - a stepping stone for the netbooks to come

      This an old netbook - and as a result nowadays not a great one. It was also part of a plan/promotion on T-Mobile and 3 a few years ago (when it was first release, around 2009) so there are quite a few in circulation - going for about £200 on Amazon, and around the same on gumtree and Ebay - no doubt around the same in second hand shops - and in my mind that far to much to pay. If you come across one of these hold out, save up and but something newer.

      Not that it was always a bad product - its just aged. It comes with a an 80g hard drive and a 900mhz processor, as well as windows XP. This is not that poor in netbook terms, especially processor wise (newer netbooks of similar price will pack about a gig or so) but the hard drive is poor compared to the nearly half terabyte in newer models and the Windows 7 operating system, leaps and bounds better than XP. Using XP nowadays feel archaic - like something from the mid-90s, let alone late 00s.

      As it a netbook its smaller punch can be forgiven as it not built to be a powerhouse, but much more powerful netbooks are available at only slightly more cost wise.

      A big problem leveled at netbooks, due to their portable nature are the poor screen and small keyboard. While both these problems are understandable, some netbooks are better than others. This netbook, the EEEPC is a mixed bag. The screen is terrible. Not just small but very grainy and dull - it seems like a screen was not a prority when building this netbook, and that shows. Videos nor webpages look that good, bad even when compared to even a half decent smart phone - and its just not fun to use.

      The keyboard on the other hand is not that bad. Its as feature rich as it can be, and though restricted by the overall size, the buttons are not overly shrunk and you won't be searching too long for the key your looking for - having memorized it through use on a standard keyboard. It has some shortcut keys at the top, and in the same way as my home laptop, I seldom use these. They only key I find useful being the sleep key, which both my laptop and this netbook both have. Just hit it and netbook goes into sleepmode, hit it again and wake it up. As this is a portable device this is handy - I would use this on the go lots and powering it on and off was a pain if I was just whipping it out in a coffee shop its nice to just wake it up.

      Now, not only does Windows XP make this netbook feel sluggish, it generally feels sluggish anyway. Its slow to respond, slow to boot up (2-3 mins, a lifetime in out instant on Macbook world) and menus and widows just take slightly too long to open you can notice a lag. The keyboard has a small trackpad that has a left and right key underneath it, and the tackpad itself clicks - but this is quite small and this coupled with a sluggish operating system, the overall experiance can feel almost like a chore. Not the free flowing, almost passive experience my laptop, which is about a year older than this is capable off.

      The reason I picked this up is it portability. I was traveling a lot and I wanted the interent on the move. I didn't want to lug my laptop around, and needed more functionality than my phone could give - a netbook seemed ideal (iPad were not invented yet)

      I was right, it was portable - and as I picked it up with a broadband dongle I had the internet on the move with few problems connection wise - but I found myself just browsing sites rather than do anything more indepth, so all in all I didn't get a huge amount of use from it. It came with a little cover that was quite nice, but was quite heavy - especially consider how lightwight everything is only a few years later. Its not too much at a kilo and half, but you'll feel it in a bag. Carrying it around was something I did a lot, but less and less the more improved whichever smart phone I owned at the time had - as the functionality of the netbook was less and less outweighed by its weight.

      It has an OK battery life, but you will need a power cable with you for tris out of the house longer than 5-6 hours. It will run for 3.5-4 hours before it dies - which is much longer than most laptops that came out around the same time as this, and it was only the occasional long train journey where it cut out.

      I once took this with me on a trip to Helsinki, where it proved its most useful. It is Wifi capable (whats not these days?) and the various hostels had Wifi (what doesn't have a WiFi connection these days?) and this was access to a much needed life line as only one of the 4 hostels I stayed in had internet access . I also loaded the 80 gig hard drive with music and it became my portable music device after the 2 gigs worth of music on my phone became unbearable upon it 3rd day of repeats. All in all though, as the netbook is a little bit of a chore to use, it was only used for base functions - such as listening to music or updating Facebook. I distinctly remember trying to sync my iPhone to this before, giving up after it slowed down so much it was unbearable. Its stand to reason this is no good for games, even low end ones - with the exception of the preinstalled solitaire or minesweep.

      One common theme of netbooks due to their size and intended function is a lack of disc-drive. You can't use disc in this so if you wan't software it needs to be downloaded, the same goes for video or music. This can be a bit of a problem with this EEEPC as you'll find the 80 gig being eaten up fast. You can plug in a portable disc drive to one of the 3 USB ports but obviously you'll need to own a drive for this. It would be great if netbooks had DVD drives, that would give them an extra selling point especially on long journeys.

      All in all, I wouldn't recommend this. Unless you can pick one up very, very cheap - its just a chore to use. Its OK if you just want to have very basic interaction with the internet - like Facebook or using Amazon, but at times I've had it struggle with those. I picked this up with reading up on it, and whilst the spec was not that bad at the time, I should have trialed one first and found out its a poorly executed product. I would have liked it to have been more taylored to interent use, as the new Chromebooks are - quick boot up and an operating system designed for browsing, that way the item would function more for its intended use.

      This was one of the first netbooks to really set out to make a dent in the market - but looking back it serves much better as a stepping stone to the netbooks to come, taking what this wanted to do, and actually doing it.


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