ASUS Eee PC 1000 (Linux) Review

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$699

Pros: Large 10-inch screen; Spacious keyboard; Great battery life; Includes 20GB of Online Storage

Cons: A bit large and heavy for a mini-notebook; Relatively expensive

Verdict: A bigger screen, wider keyboard, and larger solid-state drive make this Eee PC one of the best to date. But you'll pay a premium for it.

ASUS' response to the heap of competitors entering the mini-notebook space it helped create has been a bit overwhelming; the company has just released its fifth Eee PC model in two months. But though it is increasingly difficult to pick from the seemingly interminable Eee PCs on the market, the Eee PC 1000 has risen to be one of our favorites.

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With a 10-inch screen and spacious keyboard, the $699 mini-notebook sports the same exact design as its siblingEee PC 1000H($549). But the Eee PC 1000 (note the lack of an H) isn't just a copycat: its 40GB solid state drive--the biggest SSD in a mini-notebook to date--and ASUS' customized version of Xandros Linux (now with more preloaded applications) make it faster and longer lasting. We just wish it cost a bit less.

A Sleeker, Larger Look

Similar to theEee PC 901and 1000H, the 1000 has an updated look and feel from earlier Eee PC models. The glossy black Fine Ebony lid is accented with the new Eee PC logo in cursive script. The improved silver hinge and black-on-silver combination completes the high-fashion look. Unlike the 901's shiny white lid, the 1000 is not immune to fingerprints; ASUS includes a cloth for wiping down the system.

With its favored 10-inch screen, the Eee PC 1000 is the largest mini-notebook to date: Measuring 10.5 x 7.5 x 1.1-1.5 inches, the system is bigger than the 10-inchMSI Wind NB(10.2 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches). The 2.8-pound system, though two ounces heavier than the MSI Wind, is 4 ounces lighter than the 1000H, thanks to its lighter solid state drive. The 1000 still slid nicely into a shoulder bag and felt extremely light in a backpack. ASUS has also kept the power brick slim, bringing the total travel weight to a manageable 3.4 pounds.

Roomy Screen, Good Audio Punch

The 10-inch screen allowed us to keep two windows open side-by-side. The matte screen looked sharp from a variety of angles when we watched an episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia on Hulu, but colors were somewhat muted. Compared to the MSI Wind NB, the horizontal viewing angles were better, and vertically tilting the screen caused only ait of glare. Above the display is a 1.3-MP webcam that provided clear images and solid colors when we made a video call using the bundled Skype application.

Similar to the 1000H, the Eee PC 1000 includes Dolby Sound Room stereo speakers. Despite their location on the bottom of the machine, the speakers delivered strong and solid sound. Streaming music over Slacker was loud enough to fill a small living room.

Spacious (But Flawed) Keyboard

Underneath the screen is the same large and roomy keyboard as on the Eee PC 1000H. To say it's an improvement over the cramped keyboard found on earlier Eee PCs is an understatement; typing accuracy was quite good. Additionally, the keyboard on this particular model was void of the flex that we saw on the 1000H unit we tested earlier. The keyboard is not perfect, however; the right Shift key is awkwardly placed above the right arrow key. The size of the keyboard is a big step up, but we still prefer the feel of the protective-coated keys on theHP 2133 Mini-Note.

As on the 1000H, the Eee PC 1000's touchpad is far roomier than previous efforts and has a smooth but textured feel. The Eee PC 1000 also features dedicated left and right buttons, but they were tough to press. The touchpad supported double finger scrolling. However, it will not supportmulti-touch controls, such as the ability to zoom on a picture by pinching like other models.

Super Hybrid Engine and Resolution Switching

Just like on the Eee PC 901 and 1000H, four buttons are above the Eee PC 1000's keyboard, performing various functions: the first turns off the monitor; the second changes the screen resolution; the third, the Super Hybrid Engine switcher, cycles through power-saving modes; and the fourth is a user-definable launch key.

The resolution and power-mode buttons are the most interesting: The resolution switcher let us move between 800 x 600, 1024 x 600 (default), 1024 x 768 (which makes the screen taller than its border), and 1024 x 768 compress, which squashes the image vertically to make everything fit.

The Super Hybrid Engine switcher allowed us to cycle quickly through power-saving (1.2-GHz), auto-power-saving (1.2-GHz, default), high-performance (1.6-GHz), and super-performance (1.8-GHz) settings. We didn't notice any change in performance while switching modes, but you may want to engage this feature just to save battery life.

Software and Extra Features

ASUS wisely decided not to tinker with its intuitive user interface, which hides the Xandros-based Linux operating system. However, they did add a few useful applications to the only-what-you-need desktop. The six straightforward tabs (Internet, Work, Learn, Play, Settings, and Favorites) are still present and offer fast access to some rich applications, including Pidgin, Skype, StarOffice, Thunderbird, Wikipedia, and quick links to the most popular Web-based e-mail services.

Added to the OS are Google's Picasa software for organizing and uploading photos to the Net and an ASUS-branded DVD player. To its selection of edutainment programs ASUS has added a "Go Chinese" application that teaches the basics of Chinese languages. The new Eee Connect software allows Eee PC users to take over another Eee PC notebook remotely.

Quick Solid State, Extra Online Storage Space

The 40GB solid state drive in the Eee PC 1000 combines speedy boot times and protection (due to its lack of moving parts) with more storage than the older 10GB and 12GB solid state drives in previous Eee PCs. The drive is partitioned into two 20GB sections, and it booted the system in a speedy 28 seconds (12 seconds faster than the 1000H took to open its Windows XP Start screen), though Linux typically boots quicker than a Microsoft OS.

For those who find the 40GB drive too limiting, ASUS bundles the mini-notebook with 20GB of free online storage in its YoStore. A link to the YoStore is located under the Internet tab and requires registering a username and password. After we logged in, our YoStorage appeared as another drive on our system and we were able to drag and drop files in. We had no problem accessing our YoStore files from another computer; you just need to download the YoStore client and log into your account.

Eee PC 1000 Performance

The system's 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM provided solid performance. Such preloaded programs as StarOffice Writer opened quickly, and we saw no performance lag while conducting video calls over Skype, surfing the Web, and streaming music over Slacker.

The Eee PC 1000 provided a strong-enough connection for working in the cloud. It never dipped below 80 percent signal strength within a 50-foot radius of our router, though we experienced a few dropped connections. Web pages loaded quickly on our office network; NYTimes.com loaded in 2 seconds. We had no problem streaming video from Hulu.com and YouTube. An episode of Saturday Night Live had minimal video pauses and audio skips. Bluetooth is also included, which enabled us to transfer files from the Eee PC 901 to the 1000 over the air.

Long Battery Life

As we have seen with other Atom-powered mini-notebooks, the Eee PC 1000 offers impressive endurance. The 1000's 6-cell battery lasted a very good5 hours and12 minutes with Wi-Fi on; that's44 minutes longer than the 1000H managed (4:28). The MSI Wind NB lasted 5 hours and 13 minutes. The Eee PC 1000 comes with a one-year warranty covering parts and labor and six months of coverage for the battery.

Eee PC 1000 Verdict

The Eee PC 1000, like the 1000H, is a compelling mini-notebook with a good-size screen and a spacious keyboard. We appreciated its zippy performance and nearly 5 hours of battery life, and the Linux interface remains refreshingly simple. However, you really have to like solid state drives to willingly pay $699 for this system when both the Windows XP-powered Eee PC 1000H and MSI Wind NB cost less than $600.

Editor's Note: Parts of this review were pulled from the Eee PC 1000H review.

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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
CPU 1.6-GHz Intel Atom
Operating System Xandros-based Linux OS
RAM 1GB
RAM Upgradable to 1 GB
Hard Drive Size 40GB
Hard Drive Type SSD Drive
Display Size 10
Native Resolution 1024x600
Graphics Card Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
Video Memory Shared
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth Bluetooth 1.0
Ports (excluding USB) Headphone
Ports (excluding USB) Ethernet
Ports (excluding USB) VGA
Ports (excluding USB) Microphone
USB Ports 3
Card Slots 2-1 card reader
Warranty/Support One-year limited, 6 months for battery/24/7 toll-free phone
Size 10.5 x 7.5 x 1.5 inches
Weight 2.8 pounds
Company Website http://www.asus.com