Below the SpaceBar is the touchpad, which represents another major change from the older Eee PC 701. Not only is the touchpad far wider than that on the previous model, but it’s also multi-touch enabled. OK, so maybe I was premature when I said that the similarities with Apple would end with the colours, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise! Just like on the MacBook Air, you can zoom in and out of images by pinching your fingers together, or pulling them apart. Of course, as with the MacBook Air, I’m not convinced that multi-touch is the killer feature that it is on the iPhone or iPod touch, but it’s great to see Asus squeezing such cutting edge technology into such an affordable machine.
If you’re the kind of notebook user that has got used to using the right hand edge of the touchpad to scroll through documents, you’ll probably be disappointed to hear that the touchpad on the Eee PC 900 doesn’t support this feature. But don’t despair, because Asus has come up with a far better method. Instead of having to place your finger right at the edge of the touchpad to scroll, the Eee PC 900 will let you scroll from anywhere in the touchpad, as long as you use two fingers. The fact that you’re using two fingers tells the touchpad that you’re not just trying to move the pointer, and will consequently scroll through your document or webpage instead. The two finger scrolling method can be used for both vertical and horizontal scrolling.
There are some big changes inside too, although the CPU isn’t one of them. Despite the fact that many of us were hoping that the Eee PC 900 would be sporting Intel’s new Atom chip, unfortunately it’s not. In fact the basic platform is unchanged from the original model, with a 900MHz Intel Celeron processor residing in a 915GM based motherboard – hardly cutting edge, but more than capable of the job at hand. The first component improvement over the old 701 is the memory complement, with the new 900 sporting 1GB of RAM as standard, as opposed to the 512MB seen previously. The webcam has also been upgraded from a 0.3-megapixel unit to a 1.3-megapixel model – ideal for anyone who needs their friends to see them in even more detail while chatting on Skype.