While the Sony TZ is undoubtedly a stunning piece of hardware, and the Toshiba Portege R500 is potentially even more impressive, for some people these beauties are still just too large and heavy. At least that must be the thinking behind ASUSs latest notebook, the Eee PC 701.
ASUS is no stranger to ultra portable laptops, with their U1F being awarded 8/10 back in February, but with the Eee PC it’s really pushed the boat out. At 225 x 165 x 21 – 35mm, it is half the size of a standard notebook and weighing only 0.98Kg, it is also the lightest notebook we’ve ever come across. Not only that but it also has a solid state hard drive at its core, giving you ultra fast access times and subsequently near instantaneous boot up times. Capacities start at a miserly 4GB and top out at only 16GB but even 4GB should be plenty to store your email and a few Word documents, which is all you should be hoping to do with such a tiny machine. Also, an added bonus of solid state drives is that they can withstand a good bashing so the Eee PC 701 should be much more resilient than your average notebook.
Of course, being so small, the Eee PC 701 has only a 7in widescreen display but it does feature a trackpad and full keyboard, with a key layout that looks to be just about perfect. Connectivity wise it has the standard trio of a 56k Modem, 10/100 Ethernet, and WiFi 802.11b/g which is more than you get on your average UMPC. A webcam is mounted in the hinge, where it is just right for video calling, and speakers and a microphone are also present. Performance will be limited, especially as it only has 512MB of RAM, and battery life is only 3 hours but for the kind of life this machine will lead, it will be more than capable.
At the moment it is only available with Windows XP or Linux but, knowing how much memory Vista can hog, this is no bad thing. Availibility and pricing are as yet uncertain but it is expected the 4GB model will retail for as little as £100.