CNET First Look
Asus Eee PC T91Asus does a good job combining Netbooks and touch screens in the Eee PC T91, even if the system hits a couple of first-generation snags.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Hi, I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the new Asus Eee PC T91. We first caught a glimpse of this guy back at CES in January of 2009. It's the first convertible tablet netbook that we have seen. It's a fairly useful integration of two different technologies and you end up with something that's kind of half netbook, half tablet PC. Now the way it ends up working is that you have the regular netbook like this, it has a nine inch screen instead of the ten inch screen we are more used to seeing. So it's a little bit smaller. It's also very thin and light and when you are ready to use it as a tablet you can just take this display, rotate it around and fold it down flat and look at that you have got a touch screen tablet. Now this works with both your finger or with the included little demi stylus right over here. And, of course, you can rotate through the different views by holding down this button to get the orientation that you want. So you can hold it kind of like a book, like it's your [inaudible] style ebook reader, or we can just go back to the traditional landscape view. So part of the problem of using the touch interface on a small screen, whether it's on a netbook like this or on those UM PCs that you used to see is that your big fat fingers don't always work well with Window XP on, you know, such a tiny screen. So what Asus has done, they set up their own custom interface with larger icons and that makes the whole thing a lot easier to use. So in order to launch this custom interface, you click down on this little top bar right here and you touch this button and then the machine flips into this kind of three part interface, part one is a quick launch bar with five big icons on it, which makes it easy to launch stuff like Internet Explorer, there's a note pad program, there's a memo program. There's a little program for messing around with photos. If you click on that it kind of gives you their own custom photo interface which is kind of fun because you hit this little scramble button right here and everything kind of jumbles around, you can take these pictures and you can move them like this and you are supposed to be able to rotate them too. There we go. Every time I try I just end up launching the fullsize picture. Just like that. If you don't like any of these five choices up here, a little slider button right here, hit this, and get a fuller menu of programs. You can drag any of these up to take up any of those five slots right there. Now, if you take your finger and you flick, you go to a third screen, and this is the widget engine for the T 91 and you just click it down here, it's just like Yahoo widgets and you can drag these different tools and you can just put it up here on the screen, whatever you like. And then when you are done with that you just give it another flick and it eventually goes back to the Window XP desktop. If you see all that taking a little bit time, that's in part because they guy uses the slower Z 520 version of Intel atom CPU instead of the more common and faster N270 or even N280 that we have seen in a lot of netbooks. We would have liked to see the faster chip, even at the expense of some battery life. So the combination of a touch screen and a small lowcost, lowpower netbook really seems like a fairly obvious management of a pretty useful technologies and an execution, even though this is still kind of a first generation from Asus, they really do get a lot of this right and they put a lot of attention into their custom interfaces and they take a little getting used to, but I'm really largely pleased with the results. I'm Dan Ackerman and that's the Asus Eee PC T91. ^M00:03:07 [ Music ]