sunnuntai 24. tammikuuta 2010

Asus EeePC 1101HA review

I wrote this review when I had had the netbook for a month and published it elsewhere in Finnish. People seemed to like it so I have now translated it into English.


I have had this netbook for a month now and I've been pleased with it. I've never really liked the keyboards of laptop computers but writing with this one can even be a joy, even though some ergonomic bending would still be nice. Only darkness causes problems: the keyboard has no backlighting and it is very difficult to see the markings in the glow of the screen only. Good details, on the other hand, are the placements of the Delete and Ctrl keys: right in the upper right corner and in the lower left corner, respectively. After using this layout you will be at loss with any other laptop keyboards.

I believe that the EeePC 1101HA comes in two versions: one with a Bluetooth receiver/transmitter and the other without. Because I did not read the specs carefully enough I happened to get one without, so I had to buy a separate Bluetooth dongle. That one has been working perfectly both with my cellphone and with my cordless mouse, though.

The netbook in itself is silent and the fans can only be heard in a quiet room. The keyboard is rather noisy though and you wouldn't want to type a lot in a silent room with other people in it.

The computer does not get too warm and you can, for example, use it comfortably on your lap in jeans in a subway. In a warm room and in thin pants it may still get too warm. Because the computer is so small it is not too stable and when using it on your lap you should keep your legs at least almost together, and certainly not one leg over the other.

The computer is not too fast to wake up from the hibernate mode, at least if there are several programs running. Waking up from the sleep mode is fast.

The netbook came with Windows 7 and you were allowed to choose your language from, if I recall correctly, the Scandinavian languages, Finnish and English. I chose English. Windows 7 is otherwise a nice operating system but you must not let it choose the graphics settings by itself. Some of the bells and whistles of the interface should be toggled of immediately to ensure smoother experience.

The touchpad can do a few two-finger mouse gestures: scroll, zoom and rotate. However, the zoom works quite slowly (or not at all) in many programs and the rotating gesture has even less support. Scrolling works fine, as you'd expect.

The viewing angles of the screen are horizontally in an acceptable level, but if viewed from too high or too low the screen quickly gets darker, so sometimes you wish you could tilt the screen back even more.

As I'm writing this the computer is in power saving mode and informs me that there's 80 percent or 7 hours of the battery left, so the battery life time seems very good.

The 250 GB hard disk is, in my opinion, way too large. I would've liked to have an SSD drive because those are way faster, more durable and less power consuming than regular hard disks. Even 64 GB would've been plenty. Too bad you cannot customize netbooks when you are buying them.

As a 11.6" computer I find this netbook very handy and small but not too small. The laptops with screen size less than ten inches don't really improve the user experience compared to, say, a cellphone. The native resolution of the screen is 1366x768 which is guaranteed to produce too small text for some people by default, but you can always adjust the text size so it should not be a problem.

Finally some raw data about the performance for those who are into numbers:

The Windows Experience Index: A rating calculated by Windows for the various parts of the computer. 1.0 is the lowest rating, 7.9 is the highest.
Processor: 2.1
Memory (RAM): 4.3
Graphics: 2.9
Gaming graphics: 2.3
Primary hard disk: 5.7

BOINC CPU benchmarks:
Number of CPYs: 2
489 floating point MIPS (Whetstone) per CPU
1005 integer MIPS (Dhrystone) per CPU

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