By June 13, 2008

Review : ASUS EEE PC 701 XP

image I have had the Asus Eee PC 701 in my hands or should that read hand, for the last few days and to be honest I wasn’t expecting very much from this as I have used quite a few UMPC devices before all running Vista and found the compromises to be too great to be useful and performance very poor.

Well I have to say my opinion has turned full circle after using this little device for a couple of days.

The model I have is the Asus Eee PC 701 XP which as the name suggests come pre-installed with Windows XP on a 4Gb solid state hard drive. The device is very small , made out of a pearl white clean looking plastic and has a 7" screen with a screen resolution of 800 x 480. It is powered by an Intel 900 MHz Processor, 512 MB DDR2-400 Ram and a 5200 mAh battery which should be good for at least 3 hours of operation.

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Connectivity options externally consist of 3no USB 2.0 ports, 1no Ethernet port, headphone input, microphone input and an SD / MMC card reader. There is also a VGA out to allow connecting the Eee PC to an external monitor.

Internally we have 802.11b/g WiFi connectivity.

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Switching the device on for the first time it goes through the usual Windows XP setup screens then I saw the lovely clear 7" screen ready to get started. I installed quite a few applications to test out the performance of the device in a real world situation, these included Skype, Windows Live Writer, Fire Fox, Microsoft Office, Windows Live Messenger and Adobe Reader.

This is where it gets interesting, running the programs the device is very very snappy, instantly responsive and multitasking was not an issue with the programs that I was running. Being a blogger I was very keen to look at it from what I would like a device like this to do for me and the most important factors are Windows Live Writer, Firefox and Skype. Windows Live Writer can be a resource hog on my Toshiba Vista Laptop but the Eee PC had no such problems, opening Live Writer without a pause and running Skype easily, voice calls were crisp and clear with the inbuilt microphone and speakers and the 0.3 mega pixel webcam delivered adequate video chat too. Firefox again ran perfectly rendering images and web pages without missing a beat, I think I must have suffered with Vista without even realising it until now.

I did a cold start up test and have a Youtube video showing how quick this machine is to boot up to a usable state, it totally blows away my vista laptop again to the point that its embarrassing, working in sales I am always in and out of meetings and boot up times are frustratingly long times so having a machine that boots in under 45 seconds is a major plus.

Before I get too carried away this is not a desktop replacement device by any means but as a portable machine it just excels for me.

The Keyboard is small, no it’s very small, it has to be, but I am not a typist, I am a two / three finger prodder so it works out fine for me, anyone who has the idea of full hand touch typing will be disappointed that they can’t do it but that’s not what this device is for.

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The track pad that is standard on most laptops has the added addition of a scroll track on the right hand side of the track pad, moving vertically up or down drags pages up and down like using a mouse scroll wheel, a very nice added feature.

Video Playback

To test the quality and smoothness of video play back I used a DivX version of a Supernatural TV episode and played it from the hard drive and from an SD Card plugged into the SD Card slot. The video was around 400 Mb in size and played without any stutters at all using both options and the screen was bright and showed dark scenes as well as light very clearly. Fast forward and rewind was perfect and jumping around the timeline took less than a second to do.

Audio

The audio quality for such a small device again is very good, its quite meaty, punchy and loud. I played the soundtrack from Supernatural as well as a few rock MP3’s and all were undistorted and clear the device is advertised as having Hi-Definition Audio and it does not disappoint.

Conclusion

The Asus EeePC is a fantastic micro laptop, it’s definitely not for everyone and I am pretty sure that if you are looking for a small form factor laptop then you already know the limitations of a small screen and keyboard, putting that to one side this little machine performed way above my expectations and handled everything that I threw at it perfectly, it was a wise choice to use Windows XP rather than the resource hungry Vista and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one of these to anyone in the market for a small laptop.

Good Points

Great Performance

Light weight and small size

Well built

Great audio and video playback

Price

Bad Points

No bluetooth

 

Full Device Specifications

Display : 7"
CPU & Chipset : Intel Mobile CPU & chipset
Operating System : Windows XP
Communication : 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
WLAN : WiFi 802.11b/g
Memory : 512MB, DDR2
Storage : 4GB
S.S.D. (Solid-State Disk)
Audio : Hi-Definition audio CODEC, Built-in stereo speaker, Built-in microphone
Keyboard : Qwerty UK keyboard
Expansion: 3 x USB ports
Battery Life : 3 hrs (4 cells)
Dimension & Weight : 22.5 x 16.4 x 2.15~3.5 cm, less than 1kg

Thanks to Superetrader for supplying the review device

Disclaimer, the Eee PC featured in this review was returned to the vendor after completion of the review.

Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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