Asus Eee PC 900 Win (Windows XP) review: Asus Eee PC 900 Win (Windows XP)

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The 900MHz Celeron M CPU and 1GB of DDR 400 memory was perfectly happy to run Windows XP without slowing down and it ran just as smoothly and responsively as its Linux compatriot. It achieved a PCMark 2005 score of 1,133, which is actually more than the 1,049 achieved by the Sony Vaio TZ.

We spent some time analysing the Eee PC 900 Win's battery life, but discovered some unusual anomalies during that process. We will update this review with final battery scores once we have completed our benchmarks.

Asus has decided that both the Windows and Linux editions of the Eee PC 900 should sell for the same price, which is a challenge, seeing as a Windows XP licence costs around £60 and Linux is free. In order to achieve this, Asus ships the Windows XP version with 12GB of storage instead of the 20GB found in the Linux version. We understand fully why it has done this, but we can't say we're happy about sacrificing nearly 50 per cent of storage just to have Windows XP. It's good -- but it's not that good.

One significant drawback with using Windows XP is that the graphical user interface is far tricker to get to grips with than the Linux GUI. The Linux edition has logically arranged tab group labeled 'Internet', 'work', 'learn', 'play', 'settings' and 'favourites', each of which contain relevant application icons. Windows, in contrast, is more confusing -- particularly for anyone who isn't very experienced with a computer.

It's no surprise to learn that the XP version doesn't ship with as many useful applications as the Linux edition. Applications such as OpenOffice and Skype don't come as standard, and although you can install these apps yourself, it would have been comforting to have them sitting there ready for use straight out of the box.

The other drawbacks with the Windows version of the Eee PC 900 are identical to those of the Linux model. The keyboard is uncomfortable to use if you have large hands, the speakers are utterly rubbish, and there's no built-in 3G Internet access -- at least not until Asus decides to release a 'Surf' edition like it did with the Eee PC 701.

We can't really recommend the Windows version of the Eee PC 900 over its Linux counterpart, primarily because you get nearly twice as much storage space in the Linux version. Sure, Windows XP offers a degree of familiarity its Linux brother can only dream of, plus inherent compatibility with an almost endless supply of hardware and software. If you really can't live without XP, then the best course of action is to buy the superior Linux version and install XP yourself.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday