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The Asus Eee PC changed the budget laptops landscape dramatically when it hit the market at the end of last year. Here was a well put together machine that combined good looks, light weight and an ultraportable form factor and managed to bring it in at an incredibly low price of £240.
It's hardly surprising that it's selling like hot cakes, but while the Eee is perfect for email, web browsing and simple document creation, it won't be for everyone. The Eee doesn't have full-blown Windows Vista, it can't run Microsoft Office, and it doesn't have high-capacity persistent storage in the form of a hard disk drive either. And though Vista has had compatibility problems with drivers, you're more likely to get your printer working with it than you are with the Eee, which only supports Postscript devices.
That's where Vye's mini-v S37 comes in. Its vital statistics are certainly a lot more impressive than the Eee's. As well as matching it in terms of dimensions (at 227 x 170 x 25mm - WDH), this little box of tricks squeezes in a 120GB hard disk, it's powered by a faster 800MHz Intel A110 processor and has double the RAM with 1GB on board.
Admittedly these specifications aren't exactly ground shaking in laptop terms and it's no match for powerful ultra portables such as Sony's wonderful TZ range, for instance. Don't expect to be able to do video editing on it, play 3D games or for that matter run Vista's whizzy Aero glass effects. But it is enough to run Windows Vista Home Premium, browse the web and run Microsoft Office without feeling sluggish. In fact I was surprised at just how responsive and light on its feet the Vye felt in general use.
It's not just the core componentry that's more impressive than the Eee PC's, however. As well as being a fully operational laptop complete with keyboard, touchpad and a good-sized 7in 1,024 x 600 resolution screen (again higher resolution than the Eee's), if you open the lid and spin it around and fold it flat, you can use the Vye as a tablet PC.