I just got my Asus EEE PC 900. It is the Xandros version with 20GB SSD hard disk. It doesn’t need any introduction since it is known to everyone unless you are living in a cave without any internet connection.

First impression, very small and light. The 8.9 inch LCD screen is a very good improvement compared to the 701. The keyboard is quite small and cramped and i am still learning to type with the keyboard using all my 10 fingers. This mini review is written using the EEE PC.

The built in Xandros OS has nearly all the necessary software for your everyday use. For example, Firefox, Thunderbird, Skype, Openoffice, File Manager and etc. You don’t really need to upgrade it to Windows, since Windows is make the EEE PC very slow.

After using it for a few days, I found it gives you nearly the full function of a desktop or high end notebook, minus the weight. So in the end i decided to use it as my secondary notebook when mobile or not at office. The weight of less than 1 kg, makes it a truly portable notebook. With the aid of a full keyboard, it is much better to emails, surfing and writing documents compared to a smartphone.

Next is to make it a better and faster notebook. So, i upgraded the Xandros to a full desktop version. You can do it easily via the eeeuser wiki. Next to be portable, I need to use it with a 3G modem. So i use my Sierra 3G modem 875u USB. You can do it via here & here . Next I upgraded the RAM to a 2GB RAM. According to an eeeuser forum, this would not void the warranty. I bought a Samsung 2GB DDR2 667MHz RAM. But it could not be used, the screen goes haywire. So, what i do is to exchange it with my Dell D420 2GB DDR 500MHz RAM and voila it works. So my Dell D420 got a new 667MHz RAM. I am not sure what is the cause of this. The original RAM is a 400MHz DDR 1GB. Initially i want to have a USB bluetooth in it, but i am not sure whether i am going to use it or not, since the Sierra USB modem is working well. But you can use a USB BT via this tweaking.

Next is to sync your documents from your Mac or Windows PC to the EEE PC, since you don’t want to always copy and paste the documents to your portable harddisk or SD card. Since the EEE PC has a SD card reader and it also supports SDHC, using a SDHC would be a good idea A 16GB SDHC card would cost less than RM250 now. Currently i am using a 1GB SD card, since i am still waiting for my 16GB SDHC card to arrive. To sync the documents to the SD card, i am using CHRONOSYNC for Mac. For Windows, you can use ALWAYSYNC. Both are shareware, but it is a small price to pay for a true portability.

With the SDHC card, all my important documents will be synced into it, located in the built in SD card reader of the EEE PC. At home or office, i just connect the SD card to a card reader and sync it with the Macbook or notebook. I didn’t even try to transfer the files into the already small EEE PC hard disk.

I have yet to test the true length of the battery life of this EEE PC. But according to reviews, the original 5800mAH battery would last at least 3 to 4 hours on normal usage. Since i don’t use wifi at all, it would probably last me slightly more than that. However if you need a longer life battery you can get it a WORCELL at S$135 minus postage which is available in both black and white.

And if you want to get silicon skin or a leather casing for it, you can get it at BRANDO. They are offering a few choices.

I also have a first try on using the Openoffice Impress, the equivalent of Powerpoint yesterday for my presentation. It doesn’t recognize the Office 2007 files (pptx, docx and etc), but the Office 2003 and below didn’t cause any problem. The external output to LCD projector works flawlessly and my presentation was perfect.

The Skype with the 1.3MP camera works well even with Digi EDGE only. I talked to my sister in Japan on it yesterday.

So, for now, i am very happy with this EEE PC. The new EEE PC 1000 with a 10 inch LCD would be better but the price might not be good enough. With the current price of around RM1500, it would be a better investment compared to a Treo or a HTC.

After this, i think i will buy the leather case from Brando. Maybe after a few months, i will buy the big battery 10400mAH from Worcell. But for now, the current setup is good enough for me.

Author: Dr Azmi Mohd Tamil

I am a lecturer in Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia since 1996, teaching in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. My main interests are gadgets and cycling. You can connect with me at Facebook.