I’ve been toying with various flavors of laptops to use on my travels for a while (I’m not really a road warrior but my wife just can’t stop booking holidays).
Most of the time I get by with my trusty Blackberry for emails but sometimes you need a real computer… So I’ve always had to take a clunky laptop, normally dual boot Windows XP / Ubuntu (only need the XP as my current 3G card is somewhat flaky on Linux.).
For me one of the most annoying things on small laptops is battery life (especially when my son watches DVDs on a plane). I’d been keeping an eye on the Asus Eee PC reviews and when I saw that the 901 had 8 hours battery life I thought what the heck I’ll give it a go!
I didn’t expect much as last time I bought a laptop on a whim it was a MacBook (which I couldn’t stand, and flogged to a web designer friend who loved it.).
When the shinny new Eee PC 901 with 8.9″ screen turned up I thought it was far too small, but it was incredibly light and feels rugged enough. I didn’t get much time to test it before my holiday in Rhodes so I just copied over a load of films in Ogg format (the 20GB flash is plenty of space when films are 500-800MB compressed.) and put it in my hand luggage (again small and light as a feather).
My 6 year old son Joshua loved it on the plane, he watched a couple of films and played Super Tux & Frozen Bubble , then he got addicted to Mr Potato Head. He had no problem with the navigation but didn’t understand why the Internet didn’t work on a plane!
I only got to use it in earnest a couple of times to view and edit documents with urgent deadlines and yes the screen and keyboard are a little bit small, but the important thing is that it just worked, USB 3G dongle worked (only works with Huwaei 220 though), Wifes Ipod worked, WiFi worked, Movies worked, Documents work… and the battery life is just awesome.
2 problems though:
1) Certain people who saw it, particularly air hostess, holiday reps, and any girl under 13 couldn’t help staring and asking questions about the Assu Eee PC and then wandering off muttering I want one of those…
2) I can’t get it back off my son.
One little niggle, the sound is loud enough but you would probably want a decent external speaker for music or movies.
Oh and I wish magazines would stop slating the new higher price (I paid £300), I didn’t want a cheap laptop I wanted a simple, small, light and powerful one with great battery life.