ASUS Eee PC 4G review: ASUS Eee PC 4G

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.5
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Battery life: 7.0
  • Service and support: 5.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Small, light, and inexpensive; solid-state hard drive is fast and efficient; well-thought-out preinstalled software package.

The Bad Cramped keyboard; very little hard drive space; low screen resolution.

The Bottom Line For less than $400, the Asus Eee PC 4G offers an impressive package for portable Web surfing and basic productivity, as long as you keep expectations tempered. The incredibly approachable price outweighs any shortcomings; it's a near perfect choice for a highly portable second or backup laptop.

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For several months before its release, the Asus Eee PC was one of a handful of small, inexpensive PCs that had tech types buzzing with anticipation. While the other systems, the Intel Classmate and the One Laptop Per Child XO, are aimed at the educational needs of children around the globe and not generally available to consumers, the Eee holds no such highbrow pedigree--it's for sale directly from Asus to the laptop-buying public.

The initial buzz on the Asus Eee had the 7-inch, Linux-based laptop coming in as low at $199. In the end, the price is a more realistic $399, which includes a low-end Intel Mobile CPU, 512MB of RAM, and a 4GB solid-state flash hard drive (versions with 2GB and 8GB hard drives will also be available). The obvious limitations of the tiny hard drive, low-power CPU, and lack of the Windows operating system may be enough to scare away many potential users, but despite the system's budget origins, we found it hard to dislike when viewed as a highly portable Web surfing and office productivity machine.

The Asus Eee is certainly worth a look as a second laptop for travelers, or perhaps a first laptop for kids--one you won't be afraid to leave in accident-prone hands. It's certainly a more attractive option than any of the UMPCs (which have screens of 5 inches or less) we've seen this year, which we generally found to be high in price and low on usability, and much less expensive than recent ultraportable laptops (which generally have 11- or 12-inch screens).

Price as reviewed $399
Processor 900MHz Intel Mobile CPU
Memory 512MB RAM
Hard drive 4GB SSD
Chipset/Graphics Intel 910
Operating System Linux (customized by Asus)
Dimensions (WDH) 8.8 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 7.0 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter [pounds] 2.0/2.4 pounds
Category Ultraportable

The Asus Eee looks like a fairly conventional ultraportable laptop, shrunk down by about a third. With a small 7-inch screen, the laptop weighs 2 pounds and measures 8.8 inches wide by 6.5 inches deep by a little less than an inch thick. In all, the Eee PC is about the size of a trade paperback book; it can fit in a large jacket pocket without too much trouble. The pearlized white look is attractive, if generic, and the typically understated Asus design keeps the system from looking too cheap.

Cramming all the things one expects from a laptop into a package this small presents some difficult design questions, and the Asus Eee answers most of them about as well as can be expected. The biggest challenge is the keyboard. Tiny keyboards, as on ultraportable systems such as the Toshiba R500 or Sony VAIO TZ150, are hampered by both Chiclet-size keys and unfortunate compromises in key placement and double-mapped keys. The Eee takes it a step further, with some of the tiniest keys we've ever had to deal with. At least most of the space is saved for making sure the actual letter keys are a usable size, which makes typing at least possible, if not entirely easy. Other keys, including the backspace, tab, and control keys, are smaller--mere slivers of their usual selves, and especially hard to hit. The tiny touchpad measures 1.75 inches by 1.25 inches and works well on the whole, but there's only a single mouse button--click on the left side for the left mouse button, and the right for the right mouse button. We'd prefer two separate buttons. Overall, the keyboard is easier to use than any UMPC we've seen, but far more cramped than any other ultraportable PC.

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Where to Buy

Asus Eee PC 4G (pink)

Part Number: 90OA06AC0111111U3A0Q Released: Nov 1, 2007

MSRP: $399.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Nov 1, 2007
  • Installed Size 512 MB
  • Color blush pink
  • Weight 2 lbs
  • CPU Intel Celeron M 353 / 900 MHz