My Latest Purchase


A few weeks back I imagined myself in some dodgy internet cafe in Stockholm. I imagined myself walking around the backstreets of Gamla Stan, trying to find somewhere to check email, write blog posts, and very importantly, back up my photographs. And then I thought about the prospect of having to type the hand-written notes I’d scribbled on a piece of paper the night before, and generally wasting a lot of time when I could be out in the Swedish summertime enjoying myself.

The solution to the dilemma of wanting to document this trip, making sure it was backed up, and being able accees email and voicemail, without spending too much money on a laptop (which I might actually lose somewhere) came in a blogpost at Lifehacker about the EEE PC.

What a bargain, I thought to myself, when I read that it was on sale for $327 plus postage and handling. I still had nagging doubts about the size of the keyboard and I don’t like touchpads, preferring to use a mouse. So I wrote to Angus Kidman who made the blog post and he replied with some reassuring comments. What finally put me over the edge was when I read some reviews about how easily it connects to wireless networks. And guess what? Europe is full of free wireless connections.

I then imagined myself late at night in my room with my little computer in front of me. I’d just had an exciting full day and, with loads of inspiration, could write an amazingly thorough and vivid blog post, back up my photographs, and check email. A no-brainer at that price I thought.

Anyway, it arrived today…

I spent a couple of hours this evening playing around making sure I could do all that I wanted to do while away.

So what do I think?

The first thing you notice is just how small and lightweight it is. It looks smart and will easily fit in my daypack. A very witty person at work walked past my office, looked in, and quipped, “Honey, I shrunk the PC”.

The keyboard is small, really small, but not so small that I couldn’t still touch-type at a fairly speedy pace.

The screen is also small, but very clear, and just about perfect for what I want to do.

I still don’t like the touch-pad. They’re just not my thing. So I easily attached a separate mouse by USB – no problem.

The interface, using Linux, is pretty straight-forward and logical. Everything I thought I could want to do while away was easily found.

Acessing the net was also easy. It’s also easily set up for Gmail, and I even listened to some online radio.

Four gigabytes of space is limited, but it’s my intention to back everything up online. As well as the SD card slot, there’s also three USB ports for external storage anyway.

I got at least two hours of use before the battery started to die, so I was pleased with that.

It’s also got a reasonable webcam and speakers.

I’ve yet to find a nearby free wireless network to test it out on, but it identified a number of neighbouring encrypted connections without any problem at all. It also instantly connected to my home ADSL connection.

I’m gonna go looking for some free wifi tomorrow to test it out “in the field”.

So my early verdict is that I like it very much. I will need to take that separate mouse with me, but otherwise I’m very happy indeed.

8 Replies to “My Latest Purchase”

  1. As you know I’ve also just got a new laptop, also an ultra-portable type with small screen (9″) and a slightly shrunk but still very usable keyboard.

    First impressions were great, the jury is still out, but my instinct is that Windows Vista is unnecessarily cumbersome for what should be a basic but reliable device…

    I need to run Word and Excel compatible programs for work reasons, plus have fast and reliable internet. Virgin wireless broadband is great, but after one serious crash in the first 12 hours (after trying to install a free anti-virus program) I am beginning to see why so many Vista users are “downgrading” to Windows XP: to get a more stable platform!

  2. I’d be interested to hear how you find it long term – they’ve been the talk of all the techie podcasts and blogs I frequent and by all accounts they are good.

    But it’s not an iPhone is it?! ;)

  3. Oh, and on Damien’s point – I’m not sure what the final position is, but there was talk of Microsoft continuing with XP for the eeePC. Other hardware suppliers cannot sell computers with XP preinstalled after 30 June and must use vista.

  4. Looks great. I’d suggest you buy a spare battery, though, as it’s annoying to run out of power when you’re out and about. Travel is The Best Thing (having just come back from four weeks away).

  5. Damo – hope the Vista has settled down a bit.

    Tom – i think i read the same about xp. one of the stupidest things i ever did was “upgrade” to vista and it’s part of the reason why i became a linux nerd. iphone shmyphone. I have a wonderful Nokia N95 that suits me fine. How was the Apple queue by the way?

    MH – good advice, but i’m not sure if i can get one at short notice. and besides, everywhere i’m going is distinctly “first world”. i loved reading about your trip by the way.

    PS responded via the eee

  6. Apple queue was well worth the wait! Didn’t see any roving 702 people there, but studiously avoided being interviewed by the 2GB man! :)

  7. O! I am so envious!

    I’ve been fondling the Eeepc in stores for months now (and have been longing for one since they were announced).

    Good to hear that you’re liking it!

    Perhaps when the credit card balance is a wee bit reduced…

  8. Tom – you avoided radio, but you appeared on tv, and of course you’ll do “Hello” I assume? :)

    Carol – please don’t remind me about credit card balances after European holidays!

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