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Asus is kickin' it old skool. The Taiwanese company has just announced the Eee PC 900AX -- one of the first netbooks in absolutely ages with an 8.9-inch display.

The Eee PC 900AX has a more angular design than today's Seashell range, harking back to the days of the original Eee netbooks. It's slightly smaller and lighter than most of its current rivals too, measuring 225 by 170 by 34mm and weighing 1.1kg. Its big brother the Eee PC 1005PE, by comparison, measures 262 by 178 by 37mm, weighs 1.3kg and enjoys the odd pie.

The 900AX's 8.9-inch screen is a little smaller than the norm, but that shouldn't be a huge problem in use. It has the same 1,024x600-pixel resolution as its larger cousins, so it'll display the same quantity of information -- the contents of an entire sheet of A4, according to Asus.

There is some bad news, however. The 900AX uses an older Atom N270 CPU, which isn't as fast and doesn't offer the same stellar battery life as a newer Atom N450. Expected battery life from its four-cell battery pack is a mere 4 hours. Its hard drive, meanwhile, is just 160GB -- significantly less than the 250GB netbook norm, and it only appears to have two USB ports instead of the usual three.

Asus has yet to announce the launch date or price for the 900AX, but we expect it'll come in very close to the £200 mark -- especially as it runs Windows XP rather than Windows 7 -- making it a real bargain for anyone after a cheap, hyper-portable second machine.

The 900AX's design harks back to the days of the original Eee PC with its angular, boxy chassis.
Its 8.9-inch display may be a tad smaller than most, but its 1024x600-pixel resolution is the same as you get on many 10-inch displays.
The Eee PC 900AX has just one USB port on either side.
A closer look at the keyboard and trackpad.


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