I’ve been hankering after a netbook for a while. Not just new shiny gadget lust (though that is certainly part of it, I’m only human after all), but a small machine with good battery life would be ideal for on the road, and for all the chugging round campus (and beyond) to meetings I do on a weekly basis. I casually mentioned this fact to Phil recently, and a week later a nice new Asus EeePC 1000HE was sitting on my desk (thanks Phil!).
I got the 1000HE because of the promised battery life (9.5hrs). No other comparable netbook comes close, and it is every bit as good as promised. 6hrs real world use is no problem at all. 8hrs should be realistically achievable on a daily basis. Overall the machine is surprisingly nippy too. Its not going to break any speed records, but the Intel Atom N280 drives it along at a reasonable clip under normal usage. The extra 1GB of RAM I installed helps out with the speed some too, this is an ‘underpowered’ laptop that can fire up OpenOffice.org in around 10 seconds.
Since I just can’t get along with Windows as a primary OS these days, I installed Eeebunutu. This is a version of Ubuntu customised for use on Asus netbooks, and as such all the hardware works out of the box. Power management is very impressive, with the battery life holding up about as well as it does under Windows. The only glitch I’ve noticed so far is that the Wifi card doesn’t turn on and off properly with the keyboard shortcut, but its a low power device, I think I can live with that (and the Eeebuntu forums seem very good if I really want to find a fix).
The standard desktop is very good looking, better than the default Ubuntu look and feel, and the configuration makes the most of the (admittedly limited) screen real-estate. A few tweaks to Firefox to make the most of the available room, and I’m very happy to work on it all day. Considering I’m used to 20-24″ widescreens, that’s pretty impressive.
I’d recommend the Eee PC to anyone looking to make a netbook purchase, and since Asus are phasing the 1000HE out pretty soon, if you are looking, I’d grab one while you still can.