There is, however, one area where the Eee PC 901 is still usurped by its pretenders: the keyboard. Yet, it’s an issue that can be really overplayed. For starters, the keyboard isn’t as bad some might suggest. Key response, for example, is very good and though the small keys and slightly cramped layout don’t make it ideal for writing long documents – e.g reviews – is the Eee really meant for such tasks?
If we’re talking about the Eee PC 901, then the answer is a definite no. At most it is meant for writing the occasional email, notes in a lecture or seminar, or for instant messaging, not for writing long documents of import. You use a proper PC or notebook for such activities, leaving your Eee PC for those moments when you want to quickly check through something on the train, or plane, surf the Internet and watch videos.
Of course, others have taken a different approach and this is reflected in our comparative shots with the HP Mini-Note, which is considerably wider to allow for its admittedly excellent keyboard. Ultimately, whereas many recent/imminent arrivals seem more intent on trying to be a bit like proper notebooks, the 901 is content with what it was meant to be in the first place; a cheap and extremely portable computer that can fit in a small bag and be enjoyed anywhere.
And in this the Eee PC 901 is still without peer. Now, with its Atom CPU and prodigious battery life it feels like the natural culmination of what we first saw back in October. Having ironed out the edges and rectified the issues raised, Asus has produced exactly what was required of it and more. With the 10in Eee PC 1000 due soon as well, with a larger more comfortable keyboard, some might prefer to wait for that, but even with its compact keyboard the Eee PC 901 is quite superb.
Brimming with features and with a new CPU and better battery, the Eee PC 901 personifies exactly the spirit in which the original was created. It may be a bit more expensive than the original and lack a more comfortable keyboard, but for a balance of features, size, usability and value, the 901 has once again set the standard. For the moment, at least, the (new) original is still the best.
Score in detail