Over the past week I’ve been putting an Eee Top PC through its paces. When I first heard about the Eee Tops my first inclination was to roll my eyes at yet another in the continuous onslaught of netbook clones, but this Eee doesn’t look much like any I’ve seen before – it’s big(ger).
In reality, the Eee Top fills a niche not currently getting a lot of attention – desktops. With a relatively low price point, true to the Eee series, these machines deliver a sleek look, tiny footprint, big sound, and touchscreen interface all in a package the size of a medium-sized flat panel display. They come running Windows XP and include Asus’ own Easy Mode software with its touch-friendly interface. A short keyboard with stylus and a mouse also come in the box. The keyboard is minimalist with low-profile keys, and the mouse is a glossy hand-sized pod. Overall, the system appears very Mac-like and is very quiet too, operating at about 26dB.
Here are the official specs:
- LCD: 15.6″ 16:9 Wide Panel
- OS: Genuine Windows ® XP Home
- Touch Screen: Single Touch
- CPU + Chipset: Intel Atom N270 + 945 GSE
- Memory: DDR II 1GB
- HDD: 160G SATAII 5400rpm
- Graphics: On board graphics
- Build-in Camera: 1.3M pixel Web camera
- Mic: Array Mic
- LAN: 10/100/1000 Mbps
- Wireless: 802.11 n
- Audio: 4W Hifi speaker x 2 + SRS Premium Sound System
- Microphone port in ÃŸ> Center/Bass
- Gigabit LAN x 1
- USB 2.0 x 4
- Power Supply: 19Vdc, 3.42A, 65W power adaptor
- Battery: N/A
- Net Weight: 4.3KG
The Eee Top is a good choice for homework, surfing, or display kiosk, and with its clean lines and cool blue ground effects it is something you won’t mind leaving out for the world to see. It comes loaded with OpenOffice for productivity, but could run MS Office if you prefer. The display is sharp and a good size for reading from. If you like running a high resolution and tiny text with which to create vast tracts of screen real estate, this system simply isn’t going to be for you. It’s a touch screen and Asus designed for sausagey human fingers tapping on the screen. Don’t be fooled though. The touch screen is quite accurate and when used with the stylus tasks like writing on an Elive whiteboard are quite legible.
It’s also possible to play movies IF you have an external player to connect via USB. There is no CDROM, DVD, or BluRay player on board. The picture is good, but if you think you’re going to try and get in some game time or log into Second Life, think again. The graphics card just can’t keep up with the more graphically demanding applications.
Here at CDE we are using this system to help students register for classes at the front desk and to direct them to other online resources. The entire set up is so compact that it fits on the counter without cluttering up space or blocking anyone’s line of sight. We’ve also thought about logging Barb into Skype so she can see who’s in the office and ambush people walking by (just kidding).
Its too bad that the keyboard and mouse aren’t cable-free forming a nest along side the monitor but then again maybe that’s good so that they don’t go walking off!