The Eee PC cuts the mustard at CES

Leaving Las Vegas


The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) isn't quite over yet, but I'm heading home and it's time for a few post-expo comments on the computer that's been keeping me company here: Asus' Eee PC.

Having reviewed the elfin laptop last year, I bought myself a black 4GB model just before Christmas, impressed by its sheer portability and peformance for the kind of tasks I'd expect to put it to.

One such: writing on the move, and its baptism of fire would be a trip to the world's biggest consumer electronics industry event.

In almost all respects it's performed admirably. I still have a few problems mis-hitting keys when typing quickly, but that's more about not hitting them hard enough to register. And the battery life's no better than that of the 12in PowerBook I usually take to these events. In any case, the Eee's AC adaptor is light and easy to keep in a backpack, so I was never left without juice.

The Apple machine - and any other laptop, for that matter - has one advantage over the Eee PC for the weary tech journalist: an optical drive.

At last year's CES, hacks were deluged with USB Flash drives containing press releases, whitepapers, photos and the like. Not so this year - we were back to the (presumably cheaper) CD-R.

The problem was solved by asking fellow hacks to copy disc contents to a 4GB SDHC card I'd brought. But I'll need a slim USB CD/DVD reader next time.

Not that this is a problem likely to bug the average Eee PC user.

Asus Eee PC 701

Asus' Eee PC: the weary hack's friend

But for taking notes during presentations, writing up stories, preparing pictures - I'd installed Windows XP so I could run Photoshop - and uploading it all to the Register Hardware servers, the Eee was almost perfect.

The screen didn't prove too small. With a 4GB SanDisk Extree III card installed permanently, I had plenty of room for data storage. The on-board Wi-Fi could pick up signals where a colleague's MacBook couldn't.

But most of all it beat lugging around a weighty 15in notebook and all the paraphernalia that go with it. Hurrah, no backache this time.

My next show's probably going to be 3GSM, or Mobile World Congress as it's now called. There's no question, I'm taking the Eee along too.

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