Although the chassis that houses the Eee PC 900 is pretty much identical to the 701 that Andy reviewed last year, you only have to open the lid to see the first major difference between the two. The screen on the 900 is a huge improvement and one that makes this new Eee PC even more attractive than its predecessor. The 7in screen on the original Eee PC was hampered by the 800 pixel wide resolution, which meant that you had to scroll sideways on the vast majority of web pages. The 8.9in screen on the new model rectifies this issue by sporting a 1,024 pixel wide resolution, which allows it to display the vast majority of web pages perfectly, without the need for sideways scrolling.
The full screen resolution is 1,024 x 600, which means you’ve got a widescreen aspect ratio, just like the majority of fully featured notebooks on the market. It should also be said that the quality of the screen in the Eee PC 900 is superb. OK, so it’s not gloriously bright and vivid like the screen in a Sony TZ, but it is evenly lit, has a wide viewing angle and this sample at least, suffered from no dead pixels. The 8.9in screen actually fills the lid properly too, whereas the 7in display in the 701 just looked tiny, flanked as it was by speakers and surrounded by a large black bezel. As well as offering much improved functionality, the new screen also improves the Eee PC aesthetically.
Considering the overall size of the Eee PC, it comes as no surprise that the keyboard is quite small. Anyone who struggles with a reduced size keyboard on a traditional ultra-portable notebook isn’t going to have much joy with an Eee PC, it really is that simple. However, if your hands aren’t too big, you shouldn’t have any problem typing – I’m currently writing this review on the Eee PC 900 and I can’t say that I’m typing much slower than if I was using a full size keyboard on a notebook or desktop.
Also surprising is the amount of travel that each key has, and the fact that there’s a solid break at the end of each keystroke, ensuring that your finger bounces back up ready for the next attack. If there’s one small annoyance, it’s the reduced size Return key, which resembles the flat Enter style key seen on US keyboards. This isn’t anything that you won’t get used to after a short time, but I’d still rather have seen a larger Return.