The Eee Top’s screen does, however, excel with its touch sensitivity. This was our real bugbear with the X50, as Shuttle simply hadn’t made any changes to the Windows interface to make it finger-friendly. Here, though, Asus has pulled out all the stops to make using this PC without a keyboard and mouse (or stylus) quite easy.
For a start, there’s a custom program called Easy Mode that sits on top of the desktop and provides one-touch access to commonly used programs including a web browser (a custom finger-friendly version of Opera is an option as well as Internet Explorer); productivity programs in the form of Sun Microsystem’s Star Suite; webcam software; and email. The shortcuts are split up into a tab structure with four categories on offer; Communication, Fun, Work, and Tools, so it’s always easy to find the program you’re looking for.
Asus has also implemented the Eee Bar. This appears as a slim slideout bar and provides similar shortcuts to Easy Mode but adds in the sort of functions that are normally reserved for Fn button shortcuts on laptops, i.e. things like adjusting the brightness of the blue glowing strip and switching between performance and power saving modes. From here you can also access the excellent custom onscreen keyboard. Developed by Motorola and called Soft Stylus this is a semi-transparent onscreen keyboard that automatically sits above all other open programs and can be stretched and pulled to the size you want. It makes typing on the screen an absolute breeze.
So the Asus Eee Top is a top-notch device but does that mean you should go out and buy one? Well, with it costing around £430, it’s significantly cheaper than most all-in-one touchscreen PCs, so if you’re in the market for one then it’s definitely worth considering. However, if you just want a small PC that isn’t going to clutter the house up then you may be better off with a cheap 15.4in notebook that can be had for the same money. You’ll invariably get a faster CPU, a larger hard drive, more RAM, and true portability, though you will of course lose the touchscreen.
The Asus Eee Top lacks the horse power to replace most people’s main home PCs. However, its small and elegant form factor combined with a highly accomplished touchscreen interface and low cost makes it the perfect second computer to sit in the corner of your living room or kitchen.
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