Shortly after I started my own business I realized that I would be traveling to meet with clients and to do research for my work, so my desktop and media center laptop wouldn't cut it. I didn't really need a system that could handle high end graphics or media play back, all I really needed was something compact and light that could connect to the internet and used word processing. Companies like Sony offered solutions to this problem with their lightweight laptops, but I just didn't have the $1,000 to spend on it. Then I learned about the Asus Eee PC. Based around the same concept as the OLPC project, the Asus Eee PC is meant to be a lightweight and easy to use learning device. Regardless of what they intended the device to do, it's clearly capable of even greater feats than originally intended.
The Eee PC comes in four models for it's 701 Series: 2G Surf, 4G Surf, 4G, and 8G. While the number denotes the amount of physical hard drive space on the solid state disk and a few other differences, each system is equipped with a 7 in 800×480 TFT LCD with LED backlight, Integrated Intel GMA 900 graphics processor, Integrated 802.11 b/g wifi, 3 USB inputs, VGA Output, Ethernet Input, Kensington Lock, and MMC SD slot.
The Surf models offer a battery life of 2.8 hours where as the other two models offer 3-3.5 hours and a built in webcam.
The 2G Surf is equipped with an 800 MHz Intel Celeron-M ULV 353 with the rest equipped with a 900 MHz version of the same chip. The 2G Surf also only has 512mb of DDR2 400 Ram soldered in while the 4G Surf and 4G have socketed 512mb DDR2 533/667 and the 8G with 1GB. The prices start as low as $299 for the 2G Surf and as high as $499 for the 8G.
Where the fun really starts is how easy these things are to modify. They come stock with the Xandros operating system but it didn't take long for that to be shed for Windows XP, Vista, OS X Tiger, and other version of Linux. On the hardware side people have installed additional flash memory by soldering in memory sticks to the board, along with touch screens from car media players, WiMAX, GPS, and plenty more.
The easiest mod of all seems to be the ram upgrade which is as simple as removing a panel in the back of most models and just replacing it. I've had my 4G Surf for over a month now. Without any memory upgrades or any modifications besides loading up a reduced version of Windows XP, I've managed to enjoy under 30 second boot times and fast connectivity to the wireless internet.
You wouldn't believe how much extra work you can get down when you pull out this speedy little device from your back pack or brief case, set it on top, and start writing. Except for the fact that everyone will be asking you about it. But hey, maybe it'll get you a date?.
Evan is the owner of Tevami. You can find more information about Laptops at Tevami | Laptops