Hands-On With ASUS' Convertible Eee PC T91 and T101H
Note: Our full review of the T91 is now live.
After ASUS' press conference we stuck around for some alone time with the new touch enabled Eee PCs. While both the models were fairly pre-production (ASUS says they won't hit market for a few months) we still were able to toy around with the touchscreens and get some decent hands-on time with the convertible netbooks.
Eee PC T91
The 8.9 inch T91 is one of the most compact Eee PCs we have seen to date and at an inch thick and 2 pounds it is smaller and lighter than the Eee PC 901. The model on display had a black glossy lid with the usual Eee branding on the center.
Under the hood is a pretty compact keyboard, but with different feeling keys than we have seen on any of the Eee PCs. In fact the keyboard is more akin to that on the ASUS N10. The trackpad was fairly wide for an 8.9 inch netbook from ASUS.
Of course, the real appeal here is the convertible touchscreen. The 180 degree rotatable hinge swivels the screen around; it did feel a bit wobbly but given the amount of people that had their paws on the prototype we will let this slide for now and hope the final product feels durable.
What is not present on the T91 is an accelerometer that would automatically rotate the screen when in tablet mode. Unlike the Convertible Classmate PC it will not rotate when put in a vertical position. To boot, there is no external button to rotate the screen orientation. We assume ASUS will have a software stack on the tablets that will allow for rotating.
The actual responsiveness of the 1024 x 600 resolution display to finger input was solid. We didn't have to press too hard to open Windows Media Player from the desktop or move through the Start menu. We hope to get some more time during the show with a unit with closer to touch implementation. Apparently a stylus will be included but we didn't get to test that.
The T91 was running Intel's Atom Z520 processor with Windows XP. The T91 will also have a TV tuner and GPS. Check out the video below of the T91 in action.
Eee PC T101H
The hardware on the T101H has a different look and feel compared to ASUS' previous 10 inch netbooks. Similar to the T91 it has a fairly compact chassis compared to the 1000H; it seems to be around the same size as the 1002HA. The model we got some time with had a glossy black lid.
Under the cover is a whole new type of Eee PC keyboard. Reminiscent of the Apple Macbook keyboard, it is an island layout with spacing between each of the keys. Unlike some of the older Eee PC models (and by old we mean ones that came out a month ago), there was no bend or flex to the panel thanks to the new layout. Not only has the keyboard been overhauled but the trackpad is also wider and has a matte coating.
The T101H's screen is similar to the T91's but measures 10 inches. The hinge on this model felt a bit sturdier than that of the T91. The touch experience was also similar with light taps on the display registering immediatley. The T101H also had ASUS' touch software loaded which looked to have a sleek interface, but we didn't get to go hands on with the tablet with the software running. We would love to see a touch optomized easy mode similar to that on the Classmate Convertible.
The T91 was running Intel's Atom Z520 processor with Windows XP. We assume the H at the end stands for hard drive.
Multitouch on an ASUS
Not related to the Eee PC T91 and the T101H, ASUS was showing off a N20 with a multi-touch display. We shot a quick video of it below. Again this is just a proof of concept (though we are well aware of the concept with the HP TouchSmart Tx2 and the Dell Latitude XT).