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Photos: Asus Eee PC S101 hands-on

We've just got our greasy palms on the brand new Eee PC S101, and it is -- hands down -- the best Eee PC ever ever ever

3 min read

We've just got our greasy palms on the brand-new Eee PC S101, announced last month, and it is -- hands down -- the best Eee PC ever ever ever. Yes, we know we keep saying that with every new netbook, but we really mean it this time. It's that awesome.

Our first impression was that it's extremely well-built, and way more stylish than Asus' standard Eee range. In fact, it's the most stylish netbook on the market -- eclipsing even the HP 2133 Mini-Note. The high-gloss mocha-brown lid, brushed aluminium wrist rest and electro-plated frame are all stunning, with the only questionable point being the inclusion of a small Swarovski crystal in each of the hinge edges.

The S101's core specification is very similar to previous Eee PCs. It has a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 10.2-inch 1,024x600-pixel display, gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, three USB ports and D-Sub video output. Surprisingly, it only weighs 1.06kg -- less than an MSI Wind or Eee PC 1000.

Storage is an interesting issue. The Linux model will come with a 32GB solid-state drive, but the Windows XP version will ship with a 16GB drive plus a 16GB SD memory card. The reason for this -- we're informed -- is that Microsoft won't give Asus as big a discount on the Windows XP licence if it supplies XP on a netbook with SSDs larger than 16GB. Bizarre. Both Linux and XP versions come with 20GB of free online storage.

The S101 uses a four-cell 4,900mAh lithium-polymer battery. This, we're told, is the secret to the laptop's extreme thinness. According to Asus, lithium-polymer batteries can be "shaped almost however we please", hence the 28.5mm thickness. Battery life is estimated at 4 hours, although we'll run our own tests to confirm this.

Asus is pitching the Eee PC S101 at those who want a less toy-like netbook, or anyone who doesn't want expensive alternatives such as the Sony Vaio TT, Toshiba Portege R500, Panasonic R7, or even Asus' own S and U series. Considering these machines can cost in excess of £1,500, the S101's £449 price point isn't so bad.

We'll have a full review in the next day or so. In the meantime, go check out the lovely pictures we've taken. -Rory Reid

Update: A full review of the Eee PC S101 is now live.

It's shiny and brown and pretty. If you don't agree, you're probably dead inside.

It's mad, crazy thin, yo. Asus says using a lithium-polymer battery, which can be shaped any which way the company chooses, helped keep the S101 trim.

Just to ram the point home, here it is next to a standard Eee PC 900.

Its footprint is a little bigger than an Eee PC 900, though. Official dimensions for the S101 are 266mm by 191mm by 28.5-38mm.

The memory card reader is located at the rear. In Windows XP models, this is pre-loaded with a 16GB SD card, which complements the 16GB SSD inside.

One of the best things about the S101 is the keyboard. It's absolutely fantastic -- so easy to touch-type on.