It was love at first sight when I first started using my eee PC 901 nearly two months ago, and I'm still happy.
Everything about this machine works well from straight out of the box. The build quality feels very nice and the keyboard, though small, is perfectly functional. The Linux OS (complete with other preinstalled goodies such as OpenOffice, Firefox, skype and a few basic games) mean that this really is fully usable from the outset.
The battery life - at over 5 hours - is not to be sneezed at... and, bless them (should you happen to sneeze) the bods at Asus have very kindly provided you with a wiping cloth so that you can keep your Eee PC clean! (although the supplied slipcover case is handier, adding to the out of the box portability of the product.)
Having lived with Windows from 3.11 onwards, I was worried about how well I would cope with Linux... I needn't have been. I turn my netbook on and within seconds of entering my password I'm looking at a fully loaded OS, without an hourglass in sight. I don't feel the absence of Windows at all when using my 901. Instead, I'm pleased that I opted for the larger SSD version and took a chance on Linux!
on 12 October 2008
I was a little sceptical about some of the other reviews I've read about this machine, but was in urgent need of a small portable machine for remote maintenance of a server farm, so I decided to give one of these a try...
The keyboard, though small, is OK, and has a good "feel" to it. The touchpad is just what you'd expect - functional, but I still prefer a trackball! The display is remarkably bright, and can be used outdoors on sunny days. The wi-fi works well, and was able to connect to my WPA2 home and office networks without fuss. The machine feels well made, and I have no concerns about broken lid hinges (unlike with most other laptops). Battery life is not exceptional, but I get 5 hours usually.
The supplied Xandros OS is perfectly fine for 99% of users - it will do all they want. Web browsing, emailing, word processing and all the other basic tasks are easily handled with the supplied software. Adding software (as I had to) is easily done, and the price of software is "just right" (free)!
If you're in the market for a small, lightweight netbook, you can't do better. There is NO POINT in buying the Windows version - it comes without useful software and is crippled by the bloated, insecure and unstable nature of Windows.
PS: All you Windows diehards - there's not much you need to learn to make the move to this type of Linux. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the speed and stability of the operating system and software, and will probably want to migrate your home Windows box to (at least) a "dual-boot" when you've tried this! Remember - there are no Linux viruses to worry about.
on 28 November 2008
Netbooks are always a compromise between size and usability, and for me the 901 is just right. The screen is large enough for comfortable viewing, the keyboard is very usable once you adapt to the size, and the whole machine is very compact - about the size of a hardback book. Battery life is also good - between 4.5 and 7 hours depending on whether you have wi-fi enabled, and the solid state disks are much more rugged than conventional magnetic drives.
All in all I really love this little machine, but the affair only started after I replaced the default Xandros operating system with Ubuntu-eee. Xandros may be OK if you are happy with the bundled applications and don't want to add or change anything, but it isn't designed to be adapted or configured, and overall it is a poor advert for Linux. Many of the included applications are also out of date.
Installing Ubuntu-eee instead transforms the eee PC 901 into a versatile and surprisingly fast alternative to a full-size notebook. Storage is limited (4GB for system and programs, 16GB for data) but you can insert a 16GB SDHC card (around £20) and/or use an external hard drive. I also bought a USB CD/DVD drive which works perfectly and does not need a separate power supply.
So the machine itself would get five stars but, as supplied, it loses a mark for the second rate OS. It's not too difficult to replace this, however, and costs nothing.
on 3 January 2009
I set it up OK and got it on the home broadband in about an hour. A box appeared offering 11 updates which I installed. Then it would do email but not go on the internet or play sound. Technical support were refreshingly honest!
If this happens to you restart and hold down F9 when the ASUS logo appears to revert back to the condition it arrived in. Ignore the updates until they get them right.
Now it works really well, plays movies off an SD card as well as everything else you would expect.
on 16 November 2008
I bought the original eee 701, and was so happy with it, that when they updated it to cover most of the disadvantages of the original, I bought the 901. It has improved in the following areas: bigger screen, better CPU, 5 times more disk, twice as much memory, bluetooth, Wifi N, twice as much battery power, and these improvements have cost me an extra eur70 (and a little extra weight).
In brief: Intel Atom processor at 1.6GHz, that adjusts its speed according to what you are doing, 1G memory, 20G (flash) disk, with over 16Gig free, 9 inch/23cm 1024x600 colour screen, VGA out (up to 2048x2048), 3xUSB, ethernet, Wifi N, webcam, 2 built-in mics, stereo speakers, mic in/headphone out, SD card reader. Weighs about 1.1kg/2½lbs. Battery life is amazing with 5 hours flat out use, or 8 hours web browsing.
It runs a version of Linux (Xandros) with by default a simple user interface. Includes Skype (with video), Openoffice, Firefox, multi-service instant messenger (Pidgin, includes IRC), PDF, email of course, video/music/sound/photos etc.
The speed: I ran dhrystone, a standard computer speed measurement program, and it came out at well over 1 million dhrystones, which approaches the speed of my 2 year old work laptop. It boots super fast, of the order of 20 seconds. It is quiet, having no hard disk, but it does have a (quiet) fan.
I have added a 16Gb SD card for eur35, giving me a total of 36G 'disk' space (the half of my work laptop). The wireless mouse I found on the local street market for eur5 works out of the box. I easily connected via bluetooth to my mobile phone, and so can connect to the internet anywhere I have phone coverage.
Although I use Windows for my work, I also have experience with Linux, but I've never had to administer it, so I was a little wary of making changes. However there is an extensive Eee community, with wikis and forums, and lots of stuff has been documented.
You can use the Synaptic package manager to add software. I added a couple of programs I wanted, but really it provides everything I need for everyday computing out of the box. I can plug in a big screen and keyboard when at home, and carry it with me at other times hardly knowing it was there. Thanks to its diminutive size, it fits easily on a plane seat table. I have given talks with it with no problems.
After the original success of the Eee 701, Asus have brought literally dozens of Eee models to market, some with harddisks, some with ten inch screens, some with different processors, some without bluetooth, but as far as I am concerneed the 901 is the best mix of functionality/size/price. Although the 1000 is tempting for its 40GB SSD, the extra weight, size (and price) of the 1000 model makes the 901 the one I prefer.
Upside: Great price, great functionality, amazing range of software, amazingly light.
Downside: can I think of a downside? You have to get used to a smaller keyboard, but that's been OK for me, there is no built-in CD or DVD drive, but there isn't in my work laptop either. For me there are no downsides I can think of.
on 14 February 2009
ASUS Eee PC 901 W006 Netbook, Linux Preloaded, 1GB RAM, 20GB SSD (Pearl White)
I can only reinforce what others have said, that Linux it is very smooth and easy to run,and this model has very good battery life. I have found it lasted me 5 hours and 20 minutes when skipping between browsing and typing own notes, playing with the webcam, audio recorder, PIM (Personal instant manager), and more. Linux was a pleasant surprise to me, despite what others have written, I am a bit phobic about getting to grips with new technology and programs. After my typical 10 minutes anxt on receiving something new of this nature, and admittedly-receiving help to link with my network, the rest is lovely to work with and explore. I thought I would want to download XP Home, but now don't even want to.
For those who DO want XP, you get more for your money with the Linux version, and XP is compatible, as others have already said, and you will still have considerably more memory left after installing it. The machine itself has a very nice feel and look to it. Sleek, yet solid yet light.
on 9 January 2009
Great machine! I bought one in September and it has been fantastic. I have upgraded the memory from 1GB to 2GB and installed an 8GB SDHC card to increase the storage space. I am still running the original Xandros o/s (haven't replaced it with Ubuntu or Windows). Overall, given the battery life, the size and weight it is perfect for travelling. I have taken it with me on holiday to Germany and France and it has connected to the various hotel WLAN's with no problem and to the T-Mobile network in Germany and at the airports. I also bought an external CD Writer powered via USB which has been handy as I have installed Virtual box which allows me to run Windows XP under the Xandros Linux o/s.
on 31 January 2009
I bought this for my wife, who wouldn't mind me saying she isn't at all technically minded or computer literate, but wanted to use the Internet from her armchair. The Asus is impressive. It feels really solid and sturdy, and the operating system is stable - not a single hang or crash so far (touching wood!). It works with Flash sites, BBC iPlayer etc out of the box - we haven't had to install any "extras" at all, and because this is the Linux version there is far less worry about viruses, Trojans and other nasties. Battery life is good enough for an evening's browsing, and most importantly my wife is happy with it - it does everything she needs.
Downsides - well, the screen is naturally smaller than a full-size laptop, but it is sharp and perfectly useable. Wireless networking sometimes takes 20 seconds or so to connect, but once it is up it stays up.
This isn't a computer for the power user, but it is a sturdy, compact and very practical way of accessing the Internet on the move.
I brought one of these netbooks whilst aboard, as my laptop decided it was best to give up on life and not boot up again and keep all my files that were due in a few days to be presented (part of an exam i was doing).
So i ran to the nearest shop and brought this EEE 901, they only had a pink one with flowers everywhere , how lucky eh?
At first it ran on windows xp, which is a pretty old operating system, but it does the job. I then installed Ubuntu. The supplied Linux OS is Xandros.
The keyboard is pretty cramped, and after a few hours of typing you can feel it in your fingers.
The laptop itself is some what fast, boot up and running programs isnt bad, however when in a hurry it will always feel a little slow compared to a normal computer. You will at times be screaming "come on!"
The mouse pad is fine, but the buttons are a little stiff, which again after prolonged use can have an effect.
The biggest draw back is the hard drive space, there is only 12gb. And what they dont say is that its split into two drives.
One is about 4gb and is for the operating system, the rest is for the programs and whatever you want it for.
Dont forget that there is no dvd drive, so if you want to reinstall the OS you need to do it either by an external usb dvd drive or a usb stick, which can be tricky for some.
There is an sd card slot, and i've add a 16gb card, which makes the netbook more usable.
This netbook comes with 1gb memory, which is enough, but makes things sluggish at times, upgrade to the 2gb, and its less sluggy but there isnt a massive improvement.
The screen is small, and sometimes reading text can be a task, but there are magnifying tools and buttons to change the resolution of the screen, to make the text appear bigger.
If you are going to use a Linux OS, i recommend Ubutunu, which pretty much has all the tools you need for skype, msn, word processor and a good video played. HOWEVER when things go wrong on linux, its nearly impossible to solve, at least for someone with little to no experience with linux.
Linux is pretty easy to use, and most of the day to day tasks can be done. Interestingly there doesnt seem to be a need for antivirus or firewall software on linux, i could be wrong, but i've hardly come across any.
However if you try to install programs that you use on your pc, finding a similiar linux version can be difficult.
Battery life is wonderful, not even my laptop manages to keep alive for more than 4 hours, and this does!
The webcam is also good for Skype and msn messenger.
The netbook is a little heavy and does feel very plasticky, but its pretty strong.
If you take the battery out, the netbook comes very light, shame batteries havent improved much over the years.
do i recommend it? well not really, seeing as how the price difference between a laptop and these netbooks are so small these days there really isnt much point, and netbooks are underpowered.
Granted there are newer models than this, and they come with improvements in screen size, hdd and speed. However the price also increases, and comes too close to entry level laptops.
However if you really want something to browse the internet you could just get an ipad. There is just too much choice these days to consider a netbook as the only option.
Also this entire review was written on the eee 901 :)
on 17 October 2008
This product is not a very powerful computer and there are computing applications (proessional graphics/multimedia applications and programming enviorments) which I use which I could not efficiently do on the EEE PC 901 due to it's low resolution screen and lack of processing power. However I could not expect it to handle these tasks and I have always found them to be much easier to do on desktops than they are on laptops. This is of course the idea behind "netbook" computers like the this product, they leave out the power required for high-end computing tasks in order to create a device that is both lightweight and affordable. I believe this makes it a great computer if you only need a computer for doing occasional office tasks and browsing the web or if like me you want a second, more mobile computer to compliment a more powerful desktop or large laptop. If it is your only or main computer then you may want an external CD/DVD-drive, however it is not really a requirement for this version as linux applications are typically distributed over the internet more than on store-bought optical discs.
The ASUS EEE 901 hardware is great in comparison to it's competitors. It features common processing and memory components to other 9" and 10" netbooks but it's solid construction, decent sized storage (for solid stage drives), and lengthy battery life (the battery has double the capacity of some of it's competitors). The EEE PC range was also the first to really define this market and as such it has a large online community of users providing a great online resource for advice and documentation for just about anything you may want to do with this machine.
The default Xandros linux operating system has an intuitive and easy to use interface and I believe it would be a very user friendly system for a user who is not very knowledgeable and simply needs a system that will allow them to quickly launch their programs from it's large full-screen menu. This interface makes the computer feel more like a portable device like a mobile phone or mp3 player than a typical computer operating system. However, I do believe it needlessly limits configuration and update options and more advanced users may want to consider replacing the operating system with another version of linux. Many linux distributors are supporting this hardware very well giving you a large number of choices. You could also choose to buy the windows version instead but I can't think of many reasons someone would choose to use an old version of windows over a new and constantly updated version of linux tailored to this hardware with a wealth of free applications available online for just about any task a netbook could handle.