The Eee PC with 10.1 inch display is on its way
Asus will be selling the Eee PC 1000H as of the 4th of September. With this machine, Asus is clearly staking out its territory against the growing competition in netbooks: a large and bright display, longer battery life, and a 160 GB hard drive. The Eee PC 1000H is initially only be available with Windows XP. In the UK the Eee PC 1000H is already on sale, but with an 80GB drive at a cost of £349.99. That makes it the most expensive netbook on the market.
The price aside, this netbook looks quite like the Eee PC 901, but slightly larger. First-generation netbooks would almost fit onto a DIN A5 sheet, but the 7 inch displays were almost unusable. The Eee PC 1000H, with its 10.1 inch panel is among the largest netbooks and this just a couple centimetres shy of DIN A4 format. Asus has made optimal use of this space for the keyboard. The slightly square-cornered keys are some 90 per cent of the size of normal desktop keys. Unfortunately, Asus' keyboard is clearly too unstable. The three mounts on the upper and lower sides do not hold adequately, resulting in an unnerving clatter. Placing a single-layered paper towel underneath the keyboard remedies the problem.
All of the previous Eee PC models were afflicted by displays that were too dark. Users who didn't mind taking a risk could use the eeectl hacker tool to double brightness, but Asus advised against this as it caused the display controllers to overheat. The bright 1024 × 600 matte surface display in the Eee PC 1000H is good enough even for summer days – as long as the netbook is plugged in to the mains. Asus has throttled back brightness when it is operating under battery power, but it is still good enough for a shady spot on a sunny day.
Another plus of the Eee PC 1000H is its large battery, which can hold out for up to 6 1/2 hours. Under high CPU loads, this drops by an hour; graphic-intensive applications cut operating time by up to two hours. Wireless networking needs 1.5 W and reduces operation time by up to an hour.
The Intel Atom processor used is currently the best for netbooks, because it usually provides more computing power than other platforms in this device category, while still keeping power consumption low. Graphics applications can be run as long as not too many RAW images are converted; the system decodes videos reliably. The Atom hardware can also handle Open Office, emails, and flash content.
The 2.5 inch hard drive will hold 160 GB of data. No other netbook offers more space for data, but this is neither due to the competition nor to Asus, but rather to Microsoft. In previous netbooks equipped with Windows XP, Microsoft required manufacturers to limit drive space to 80 GB – they happily obliged. Starting in September, Microsoft will generously allow installation of hard drives up to 160 GB. Although Eee PC 1000H on sale in the UK now are still limited to 80 GB. Netbooks with SSD flash memory have at most 12 GB of memory and are miles away in memory capacity from a hard drive – and by the way, also from their data transfer rates.
The large battery in a somewhat larger device drives up the weight somewhat. The Eee PC 1000H weighs in at 1.43 kg, making it 150 to 200 gm more than the other 10 inch netbooks (Medion Akoya Mini, MSI Wind U100, One A450). But the Eee PC 1000H imposes fewer limitations than any of the currently available netbooks. While the other 10 inch models do not cost as much as the Eee PC 1000H, they also offer less. The 8.9 inch display netbooks are even cheaper. The only one that can hold its own is the Eee PC 901, but it has a disappointingly small keyboard.
The Eee PC 1000H will not be around long without competition. While the list of announced netbook launches is longer than the list of devices that actually end up in the shops – see Fukato – still, the heavyweights in the sector are unlikely to let down their guard, and should offer their previously announced netbooks soon in stores. Lenovo has its IdeaPad mini computer up its sleeve. Two models are scheduled for October launch: the IdeaPad S9 with an 8.9 inch display and the IdeaPad S10 with its 10.2 inch display. Both have a resolution of 1024 × 600 pixels and have an Intel Atom on board. HP is already selling its 2133 Mini-Note PC in some stores. Fujitsu Siemens will also soon be mixing it up in this booming market segment.