I was attracted to the “netbook” market with the release of the initial Eee PC from Asus. The laptop was cheap and very small. Unfortunately, it had a really small screen and an even smaller keyboard. Then the next generation of netbooks was announced including the MSI Wind and the Eee 1000. These are a bit pricier but still light. They have bigger screens and keyboards and look quite usable. I’m tired of carrying my 6 lb. laptop around on trips and so I decided I would take the plunge on one of these new devices.
At first I was attracted to the MSI Wind. It is a little lighter than the 1000H and was supposed to be $150 cheaper. When the Wind didn’t ship, then shipped with only a 3-cell battery, then raised the price, I looked around and settled on the Eee 1000H. What follows is my review of the 1000H.
The screen on the 1000H is gorgeous. It’s 1024×768 and is bright and clear. It has a matte finish so it can be used with your back to a window or even outside. It is bright enough that I usually run it on 1/2 brightness and it still works just fine. The Eee has a really cool feature which allows you to change the screen resolution with the press of a button. You can set it to 1024×600, 800×600, 1024×768 (which seems to cut off the bottom of the screen, and 1024×768 compressed. This latter mode is very useful for programs that insist on a square aspect ratio. One other nice feature is there is a button to turn off the screen. This comes in handy for privacy or saving battery life.
The keyboard on the 1000H has received some criticism for being a little loose. There is a little flex in the right-side of the keyboard. It doesn’t seem to be fully fastened to the tray beneath it. It’s not bad but does take some getting used to. The keys are plenty big that I can easily touch-type on it. The one downside is the right-shift key. It is located to the right of the up arrow key. There’s no easy way to touch-type like that. Luckily, there is a very cool utility called SharpKeys that allows you to swap the two. After doing that, all is well.
The 1000H comes with a 1.6 GHz Atom processor. This appears to be plenty fast enough for browsing the web, coding, writing documents, etc. It’s not going to set any land speed records but it works fine. It does run quite cool though. The Eee doesn’t get hot even after hours of use. I’ve tried a few older games on the system and it plays them fine. Anything modern is probably too much for the Intel 945 graphics chip.
The 1000H ships with Windows XP SP3 Home. I upgraded to Professional so I could join the domain at work. I intend to try
Mojave Vista on it which reportedly works, but I’ll wait for my 2 GB memory to arrive first. I must say that after using Vista for a few years, XP feels very antiquated.
The speakers have some sort of “Dolby Sound Room” thing on them. I haven’t looked into what that might actually be but I can say that the sound is much better than you would expect out of a laptop.
I find the size and weight to be just about right. The Eee at 3.2 lbs is not quite as light as I expected, but it’s pretty light. The size is small. It’s literally 1/2 the size of my previous Dell Inspiron 6400. The battery sticks out slightly which actually makes a great handgrip when carrying it. The system is well balanced and feel very sturdy. The case is a high-gloss black and does attract fingerprints.
Finally, the battery life. I took it to an all-day conference on Friday and it lasted all day without a recharge. The battery is rated at 4.5-5 hours and that seems to correspond well with my experience so far.
So, am I glad I bought the Eee over the Wind? Yes. The Wind is lighter and the keyboard probably doesn’t have the flex in it. However, the Eee has many advantages. It has 802.11n wireless networking. The compressed screen resolution is nice. The touchpad is a little bigger than the one on the Wind. The Eee can be overclocked via software. Another advantage is that the Eee can be upgraded (memory or hard drive) without voiding the warranty.
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