Your views: Eee PC and cheap laptops

This week has seen more mini laptops enter the market founded by the Asus Eee PC - but some analysts think the market is limited.

In our bi-weekly newsletter, IT PRO asked for your thoughts on the tiny laptops - from the Eee PC to the latest sub-notebooks, mini notebooks, netbooks and other names in the market.

David wrote in to say how much he really, really loves his Eee PC - and suggests that bigger isn't better in bed. "We're finding it's right up there with the mobile and the iPod for consumer compatibility," David emailed.

"At home as well as travelling: you want to read the paper without hiding behind a wall of newsprint at breakfast, you want to check Wikipedia while you're watching TV/reading a book on the sofa, and finally, it's just so fantastically great in bed," David wrote.

Gail said the Eee PC is the first product that's excited her for years, and praised Asus for taking the first step. "This market wouldn't have existed without Asus doing the innovation and development of this product. All the components were there but no one had put them together," she wrote. "It was a risk for them, but they must have done some serious market research."

Peter agreed, wondering why it took so long for the cheap laptop market to appear.

"It had to happen; the only question is why it took so long, and why the manufacturers had to wait until they were pushed," he said. "For anyone reading the computer media, cost, simplicity and reliability have been the continual points brought out by customers for many years. Microsoft has failed to recognise this; but then, that is nothing new. The boys in Redmond have had their heads in the clouds since their beginning."

But the lovely little laptop has a few flaws. Gail said: "The major drawback is battery life."

AJ would like to use a sub-notebook to work when out of the office, but finds the typing too difficult. "My work is almost exclusively textual in nature, and I am a touch typist...To get up any speed, I need a full sized keyboard set at the right angle," AJ explained, adding: So the EEE miniature sized computer formula is no use to me."

New Zealander Damian isn't a fan of the limited connectivity: "The only thing I missed (and still miss) was a dial-up modem. Broadband away from major cities here is still a bit hit and miss."

But Gail said her main disappointment is the delay in release times for the Eee PC and its clones. "I'm following all the current releases of this type of computer. Some won't ever be released in Australia and some will be released much later here than in Europe and the USA."

So manufacturers, listen up: "My money will be going to the company that bothers with Australia and has the best battery life," Gail said.

A bit more processing power, and Damian's sold: "When World of Warcraft, Alien v Predator, etc, are able to run natively, then it will be goodbye Microsoft forever."