The mini-laptop, or Netbook as it has become known, seems to be something of a phenomenon, and no company is capturing the imagination of buyers more than Asus.
Its latest update is the Eee PC 1000H (£349 inc VAT), which sports a 10-inch screen and larger keyboard. The H in the name denotes the use of a mechanical hard drive, instead of the Solid State Drive (SSD) found in Eee PC devices to date.
As with previous releases, there are two versions of the Eee PC available – one with Linux and one based around Windows XP. However, unlike previous models, Asus has decided to set them apart, both in price and specification.
While the Linux version sports a 40GB SSD and costs £369 (inc. VAT), this slightly cheaper 1000H comes with a standard mechanical hard drive that packs in 80GB of storage.
The 1000 has a 10-inch screen that supports the standard 1024 x 600-pixel resolution. The knock-on effect is that the overall weight has now risen to 1.4kg, but this does include a 6-cell battery.
The larger screen naturally, allows for a bigger keyboard. The keys are 95 per cent the same size as you'll find on a standard laptop. This makes the difference between typing as you would on a normal keyboard and pecking away at keys, as anyone who has used the Eee PC 900 will know.
Pleasure to use
We found the keyboard and screen a pleasure to use, especially when working on a train, as you don't feel you need to hunker over the device to get the most out of it. It's not just the keyboard that has changed – separate mouse buttons from the Eee PC 901 are fitted, which are of a good size and respond well.
Aside from the use of a mechanical hard drive, the specification is what we've come to expect. So you'll find the Intel Atom N270 in place. It's supported by 1024MB of memory and we found performance more than usable.
The screen and mechanical hard drive has an impact on battery life though. While you can comfortably get over five hours from the 901, this machine lasted for 249 minutes using MobileMark 2007. At slightly over four hours away from a power source, it's still more than usable.
You'll find the standard array of ports around the sides, as Asus hasn't updated these. There are three USB ports, a VGA-out adapter and SD HC card slot.
We found this a great laptop for those who need something akin to a standard laptop. However, for the daily commute the 901 remains a more portable option. That said, there is no denying this is a great Netbook. You won't want it as your sole machine, but as a second device for basic tasks, it's a great choice.