Sticking to what’s new, let’s take a closer look at the keyboard. Even in this larger size there are still a few compromises to be endured. For example, whereas on the Wind the right Shift and cursor keys sat slightly further left than is typical, Asus continues to simply place the Shift key the other side of the Up key. Neither solution is ideal; withdrawn cursor keys would be the best option, but we’re out of luck here. Asus’ solution does have one benefit, however, as the full stop and comma keys aren’t half-size, as they are on the Wind. Ultimately, each has their problems but they’re ones you’ll get used to in time.
What’s more important is the general typing experience and if you want to use a netbook – presuming these even qualify – for more regular typing, the Eee PC 1000 should fit the bill nicely. Keys have a reasonable level of travel and response and are obviously larger and easier to type on. Unlike the Wind, the Eee PC has the left Ctrl key in the right place (i.e. outside the Fn key), but what it gives with one hand it takes with the other since the Return key isn’t the large UK style one as on the Wind, but a smaller US type one. Overall, in the keyboard department both the Wind and Eee PC 1000 have their advantages and disadvantages, so they both come out fairly even.
This evenness is continued in the screen. It seems likely that both the Wind and the Eee PC 1000 use the same screen, but even if they don’t there’s little to choose between them. Here the screen is brighter than the Wind’s and is also marginally brighter than the one used in the 901. Text is sharp and very readable even at small sizes and video looks fine. We’d add, too, that the larger size does (arguably) add a greater degree of viewing comfort, even if the actual resolution is exactly the same.
Audio was a particular strength of the 901 and this remains the case with the 1000. It still astounds exactly how good the speakers, which are hidden away beneath the front edge, really are. For such a small machine they reach indecent volumes and sound surprisingly rich; good enough that you’d happily listen to some music or watch a video without a set of headphones. In addition, if you opt for the Windows edition, you benefit from Dolby Sound Room and the virtual surround sound headphone technology it brings with it.
Other advantages include Draft-N WiFi and the custom Linux OS of the Eee PCs, which remains a simplistic joy to use. It creates a near non-existent barrier of entry for even novice users, coming with pretty much everything you need to start being productive immediately. Of course, when it comes to tinkering and customising it isn’t quite as strong and this is a consideration, particularly for the potential “power user”.
Speaking of “power users”, one thing they’ll continue to enjoy in the Eee PC 1000 is superb battery life. Asus has made the six-cell 6600mAh battery, first seen in the 901, standard across the range and though the screen is slightly larger, we still managed just over four and a half hours on a single charge with wireless enabled and brightness set to the maximum allowed. Were one to turn off all wireless radios you should be able to achieve results in excess of five hours and these figures currently blow all competition out of the water.