As with the original, the Eee PC is powered by an Asus customised Debian distribution. It has arranged the applications into various tabs - Internet, Work, Play, Settings, Learn, Favourites with easy direct links to useful things such as Google Docs, and Wikipedia, despite there being an Internet link that fires up the preinstalled Firefox browser. You'll also find Skype ready to go on the system, and there's a headphone and microphone socket on the left hand side. A good chunk of this review was written using Google docs in the browser, but the open source StarSuite 8 office suite is also included.
If you want to keep in touch with colleagues or family while travelling then you'll appreciate the now standard webcam, which has been usefully upgraded to 1.3-megapixels and in a quick test offered reasonable quality.
Battery life is quoted as 2.5 hours for the supplied 4-cell battery, but we didn't have access to the Eee PC 900 for long enough to confirm than. Sub three hours doesn't seem that impressive but a 6-cell battery is available as an option, so I would recommend specifying that to get an extra hour or so out of it. This adds to the weight but even if you're carrying this and the fairly small power brick it will still weigh you down less than most so called ultra portables.
The overall impression of the 900 though in the time we had with it was eminently positive. It was compact and cute, it's light, easy to you, and powerful too, feeling speedy and light on its feet in use. The extra display size and resolution is itself a crucial improvement that really enhances usability and productivity making it a far more desirable proposition both for individual users and for use within larger companies.
Click here for our Quick Take video on the Eee PC.
Asus has improved the already good Eee PC, enhancing the screen size and resolution, increasing storage and adding effective multi- touch technology. If you want an affordable ultra portable for your workforce, this is it.
Processor: Intel Celeron-M ULV 353 630Mhz
Memory: 1GB DDR2 RAM
Hard disk: 20GB SSD
Graphics: Intel GMA 900
Display: 8.9in, 1,024 x 600 resolution
Ports: 3 x USB, Ethernet 100Mb/sec, SD/MMC slot, headphone, microphone, VGA
Connections: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
OS: Debian Linux
Dimensions: 225 x 165 x 35mm (WDH)
Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.
Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.