I recently bought an Asus Eee PC 900HA from Ebay India, and here is my review of the little yet useful netbook.
For the uninitiated, netbook is basically a small laptop computer, which although less powerful than standard notebooks, is ultra portable and perfect for travelers. And this was the primary reason that I thought about purchasing a netbook.
Asus Eee PC 900HA: My Asus Eee PC 900HA came with an Intel Atom N270 1.6GHZ processor, 1 GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB HDD, 8.9″ display, WLAN: 802.11 b/g, Genuine Widows XP Home license and MS Works 9.0 license. All this in a package which when folded, is a bit smaller than an Eicher Road Atlas and weighs around 1.12kg!
Asus Eee PC 900HA on top of Eicher Road Atlas
Productivity application performance: Although it is less powerful than a desktop or even a notebook, it is powerful enough to simultaneously run word processing software (MS Works), Google Chrome with multiple tabs open and Photoshop 9 CS2, without any noticeable lag. Although I haven’t yet tried editing any RAW files in CS2, it is able to edit 8mp jpegs without any issue. However if you are editing photographs, it is best to stick to a desktop computer with a CRT or IPS LCD Panel, since Eee PC 900HA’s screen, like other laptop’s screen, isn’t able to accurately display colors and this severally limits your ability to edit photographs, along with the small screen. It is also able to run Dreamweaver CS3 without any issue.
Asus Eee PC 900 HA (wallpaper is dark in the edges, there is no issue with LCD)
However auto loading Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 increases the boot time significantly and it is best to either get a light internet security program or manually load it after the system has booted up.
Entertainment application performance: Watching movies and listening to music is fun on the Eee PC 900HA, although for DVD quality movie you need to set the performance to high performance (Eee PC has three performance modes) and for 720p videos, one needs to switch to Super Performance mode, in order to play them without any shutter or lag.
One thing which severally limits 900HA’s entertainment quotient is its weak speakers, which aren’t really powerful enough to be any good for movie playback and you need to attach external speakers or headphone to enjoy the movies.
I haven’t played any games yet as I am not really into gaming and desktop with a larger screen is best suited for it, however from what I have read in reviews, it is able to run couple of year old titles without any significant issue.
Internet and connectivity: Thanks to the inclusion of Wireless LANÂ 802.11 b/g and Ethernet, connecting to internet (primary function for majority of netbooks) is a walk in the park and connectivity is solid. Though for those planning to use their mobile phones as modem, absence of bluetooth is a let down, though easily rectifiable with the addition of a USB bluetooth dongle, which can be connected with one of the three USB ports, present on the Eee PC 900HA.
There is also a VGA port to connect to external monitor and audio in and out jacks for entertainment and chat. Included 0.3mp webcam is sufficient enough for webcam chat and there is also an in built mic to aid in this purpose (haven’t tried its performance yet). There is also an inbuilt SDHC/MMC card reader, which is fast and a boon for travelers/photographers.
Ergonomics: While the small screen is obviously not great to use for hours on end, it is a small price to pay for portability, which is the forte of a netbook. Keyboard ergonomics too suffer due to the small size. However once you get used to it, it is a breeze to use, barring the position of right shift key which occasionally leads to the arrow key being pressed and exclusion of caps lock led/on screen display is also a major annoyance, though might not be for everyone. Trackpad on the other hand is a pleasure to use and accurate.
Battery backup: Although it wasn’t something I was actually paying any attention to while purchasing, after purchasing I have realized how important battery backup is. Thankfully the stock battery of Eee PC 900HA is powerful enough to keep this small netbook running for three and a half hour to four hours, in power saving mode with wifi running and screen brightness set to 40% (which is quite bright). Battery charging through the standard and small AC adapter takes a little over two and a half hours to fully charge the battery. Charging cord is also long enough to let you comfortably use the netbook while it is plugged in to a socket, few feet away.
Closing remarks: At the end of the day, Asus Eee PC 900HA is everything I wanted in a portable computer and more! Though if it is going to be your only computer, you might want to evaluate your needs once again and then decide, as it is best for the purpose it is built for, a light portable computer with enough power to breeze through everyday light usage (blogging, photo reviewing, email, surfing, word processing etc.) while out traveling and for surfing while at home.
Asus Eee PC 900HA next to a 17″ CRT Monitor
Asus Eee PC 900HA Specifications:
Processor: 1.6 GHz Intel Atom
Memory: 1 GB DDR2 RAM
Storage space: 160 GB hard disk drive (HDD)
LCD: 8.9 inches, 1024 x 600 pixels
Networking: 54g Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), 10/100 Fast Ethernet
Connectivity: Three USB 2.0, 1 VGA port, Audio in and out, MMC/SD (SDHC) card reader
Webcamera: Yes, 0.3 megapixels (VGA)
Battery life: up to 5 hours claimed and ~4 hours tested
Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.7 x 1.33 inches
Operating system: Windows XP Home
Productivity software: MS Works 9.0
Warranty: 1 year
What’s in the Box: ASUS Eee PC 900HA, Battery, AC Adapter, Sleeve Case, Manual, Recovery DVD and soft cleaning cloth.