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Asus Eee Box First Look

The Eee Box, even more than its mobile counterparts, is a designer piece, which is nowhere more evident than in the (obligatory) stand. It consists of two pieces joined together: one a small, solid piece of plastic that matches the unit and is coated on the underside by a layer of grey rubber, the other a metal oval that actually supports the machine. As you can see in the pictures, it does lend an extra touch of class, and a look that is unique to the Eee for a desktop machine. This is a very clever decision by Asus, since it means its box is easily and immediately distinct from any competitors. If you do for some reason dislike it, though, you unfortunately have no choice because the Eee Box must be held in such a position for the ventilation to work properly.

Even though our model is white, rather than the awesome black version that will also be available (quite apart from pink and green), it is still highly desirable. Or at least, it would be, if it was as clean as the packaging shots suggest. Unfortunately, as you can see in the above photos, the Box is seriously marred by some ugly stickers. At the front, we find Intel Atom Inside, and one I never thought I'd see again on a newly-built PC: Designed for Windows XP. This necessitates the XP-license sticker on the side (though after some careful measuring we feel it could have fit on the bottom), but there are also model and specification stickers of different sizes and colours beside it and on the machine's top. Luckily, the front stickers are easily removed, leaving the machine more like how you wanted it to look in the first place.

For the most part, build quality is very good with the whole unit feeling stiff and solid. Indeed we get the impression this thing would survive largely unscathed falling from a table onto a carpetted floor, say - this isn't something we tested though. The only real complaint we have is the 'door' at the front and its flimsy plastic hinges that could very easily be broken by a mischievous child or clumsy adult. This weakness is also particularly worrying since you must open the flap every time you want to turn the PC on.

Fully opened this flap resides by the side of the case, revealing a large power button backlit in blue, and a small blue hard disk activity LED. Below this sits a memory card reader that accepts MMC, SD (HC) and MS (Pro). Front connectivity is completed by twin USB 2.0 ports and headphone and microphone jacks (which are silver, rather than the typical green and pink).

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