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OK,
so you wouldn’t want to play Crysys on this laptop, but we do think
that a lappie that can do a bit of emailing and looking up stuff on the
internet while watching Location, Location, Location is by and large a
good idea, but does the Asus eee PC 900 fit the bill? More to the point
can you live with these devices?

The device has already been superceded by the 901, but for the last few
months we have put our regular laptop away in favour of the little
notebook. The device itself is 6mm longer than the eee 700. (See our review of the smaller Asus eee PC here)
and about 100g heavier. However, the design is pretty similar, its
ivory white colour distinguishes it from other, much bigger, notebooks
out on the market.

Also, while the 700 had speakers at the side, this one has them put
elsewhere to make room for the bigger screen. Which, it must be said,
does make it look more appealing. However, with the speakers below the
wrist, the sound quality is not quite as good as one would have hoped.
Although this was never up to much on the 700.

Also, the keyboard is around the same size on the 900 as it was on the
700. Frankly the keyboard is just that size too small and this rings
true for Mrs Gadget’s tiny hands. Neither of us felt that the keyboard
loaned itself for much use outside of typing in web addresses or a
quick reply to an urgent email. For longer spells at the keyboard, we
would really need to use a full-size keyboard. (In fact, we were going
to type up the review on the 900 but gave up and decided it was much
quicker to use the laptop in the other office).

{mospagebreak}The mouse track pad works really well, but the mouse buttons only
really work well when you press them from on top. All too often we
found ourselves trying to press the buttons from the front and this
clearly did not have the desired effect. The track pad does have a
multi-touch functionality, a la MacBook Air, that allows you to scroll
horizontally and vertically through documents.

We were really pleased with the selection of ports on the laptop.
Enough USB ports, an Ethernet port, a VGA port microphone and headphone
jacks and an SD card reader capable of reading and wriitng to SDHC
cards (which would give you an extra 32GB of storage!)

The screen looks really good. It has a resolution of 1024 by 600 and
looks classy enough (especially with Windows XP running on this review
unit). And it also had a good enough viewing angle to allow two people
to look at the screen at once.

Sadly, this model does not sport Intel’s new Atom processor. Instead it
has a Celeron processor running at 900MHz. With a gig of ram inside the
machine runs fast enough, just, but on start up can feel a little
sluggish at times.

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{mospagebreak}With storage you have two option and these depend on the operating
system provided. As Asus wanted to keep the price similar for both
Windows XP and Linux versions, the XP iteration comes with a 12GB solid
state disk, while the Linux one comes with a 20GB SSD. Again, with a
few USB ports it is easy enough to attach an external hard drive if
desired (or even a NAS on your home network).

The wireless connectivity works out of the box, but seems to suffer a
little when the machine is disconnected from its electiricity supply.
Left to fend for itself on battery power, it suddenly seems to get a
bit flakey with the Wi-Fi connection despite being in the same room as
the access point (which is a router supplied by BT Total Broadband).

Overall, the performance of the device is good enough for what we think
is its strong points, emailing and casual web browsing. It is no
surprise that Asus is working on replacements to this model and with a
bigger keyboard and a better processor it will be hard to beat in the
future.

Rating: 8/10

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