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Hands-on with my new Asus eee PC

In another life I ignore enterprise software and write for the Crave blog.

Kevin's hand vs. eee PC Dave Rosenberg

Being that I am rarely successful as an early-adopter of new hardware, I felt compelled to immediately get one of those cool new Asus eee linux-based laptops and see how quickly I could make myself crazy. (Check out the CNET review here.) I bought mine from Mwave who seem to still have them in stock.

Let me start with this: this thing is small, like s-m-all small. It's smaller than the paper notebook that I carry around with me. And it's light. You can put it in your coat pocket (if you have a big coat obviously--like the ones all the bad kids use to shoplift etc.) with minimal effect. This is exactly the laptop that you want when you go to a trade show or do interviews or meetings or whatever when you don't need all your data with you. It also supports some pretty good resolutions so you could do presentations on it as well.

Setup was minimal--basically you plug it in and it works. We did however run into a pretty miserable snag with our ultra-secure office wifi network where the eee wouldn't authenticate properly. Something about the mad wifi drivers, I think. When I took it home it jumped right on the wireless network and I was off and running.

eee meets big-boy monitor Dave Rosenberg

The good:
-The keyboard is small but you get used to it surprisingly quickly if you are a touch typer. I find the keys to have good spring and I am typing pretty fast on it already
-The bundled applications pretty much meet any need you have with the exception of syncing a mobile device, which I simply couldn't figure out. Otherwise I am hard pressed to find anything that I *can't* do with the eee.
-Download the Littlefox theme for Firefox and you are golden
-Skype and Pidgin (open source AIM) worked OOTB
-It comes with a surprisingly well-designed UI--separated into Internet, Work, Learn, Play, Settings and Favorites
-You have shell access should you want to hack some Windows server

The bad:
-The trackpad starts out really spazzy and the mouse clicky thing takes a minute to get used to. I believe there is some advanced functions you can assign but one side is much harder than the other. I assume this is user error.
-The screen real estate is still pretty small and you lose about 2 inches to speakers. I would have settled for less rock and more room.

So far, I think it's fantastic. Go get yourself one before they all sell out again.

Side note: these photos were taken on an iPhone...kinda lame