We mentioned that the two machines' keyboards are the same size, but they're not identical. The s.book's is much more spongy, not so much in the key actions but because the whole board seems to have no solid underpinning. That's true of the Eee's keys too, but to a far lesser degree – you have to push very hard to make it dip in the middle and, unlike the s.book, it doesn't dip while you're typing.
Size-wise, the s.book is only slightly larger than the Eee, though it looks bigger, in part due to the odd screen positioning, but also because it has a chunkier design. The screen hinge is place further back from the keyboard than it is on the Eee, and with the gap between screen and lower section - handy for picking it up, this - it doesn't have the same cramped feel that the Asus does, even though there's barely any difference between the two machines' physical dimensions.
Where the Eee's casing is smooth and sloping, the s.book is all right angles. And it has gaps between its ports, which break up its straight lines and, ironically, make it look not less block-like but more so. The Belinea measures 230 x 171 x 29.4mm.
With the battery in place, it's 1.1kg and feels lighter then the similarly laden Eee, but then the s.book's battery has a capacity of just 2200mAh. At 4200mAh, the Eee's is almost double that. The official s.book runtime is three hours.
The Belinea comes with Windows' Power Options set to the Home/Office Desk power scheme set as default, but we re-set it to Portable/Laptop. We copied an H.264-encoded 640 x 360 video to the s.book's hard drive then set it running full screen and the screen set to maximum brightness to get an indication of battery performance.
Battery Life Results
Battery duration in minutes
The s.book went into hibernation after 1 hour 38 minutes, whereas the Eee ran for 2 hours 28 minutes when displaying the same movie at the same settings.
Runtime test not fair!
If you would turn down the brightness of the belinea(max brightness something over 200cd/m²) to the same level as the EEE (~100cd/m²) the runime test would be fair!
video - and why, again, have you put XP on your Eee?
Tony, thanks for confirming my comment: the Eee was doing more work (because it could decode every frame) than the s.book, so it was rather pointless to compare battery life by this method - the Eee will do even better than your result suggests.
And, according to this - http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/01/10/eb_eee_pc_at_ces/ - you're using a non-standard Eee because you want to run Photoshop on it for your journalism work. I asked then and I'm asking again - why not stick with Linux and use something like Gimp? And, as someone else suggested, you could use Gimpshop if the native app is too scary. You're not doing graphic design work for a printed publication - I would be very surprised if you needed to manipulate images in any way that Gimp isn't perfectly capable of doing. Or you could even try Photoshop under wine.
A decoder chip only costs around $25... why didn't they shove one in?
The point here is that the s.book's CPU and integrated GPU aren't up to decoding H.264 video. Video-capable iPods can do this because it has a dedicated decoder chip, and the Eee manages by brute force of CPU and GPU. Plenty of older machines can't.
The s.book drops frames because it's sacrificing frames to be able to keep the video running in real time. I kept an eye on the displayed frame rate, which oscillated between about 10fps and 25fps (the test movie was 25fps). The machine was running flat out throughout the test.
Re. use of a non-standard Eee
Using a standard Eee would have been pointless since, because it runs Linux, I couldn't run a directly comparable benchmark on the two systems.
There is an overhead with using a compressed drive, but not a major one. I don't believe even with an uncompressed solid-state drive, the Eee's 4GB will compare well with the s.book's 80GB HDD.
The point is, if you are going to run XP on a 4GB Eee, you're going to have to turn on drive compression if you want to install more than a few basic apps. I have Firefox, OpenOffice, Skype, Pidgin and Photoshop on mine, for instance, and for that I need *just* more than 4GB.