The Eee's battery life is nothing to shout about, but it does run for half as long again as the s.book does. The s.book hard drive activity light barely flashed during playback because the 256MB movie fitted easily into memory, so hard drive operations are likely to knock back the s.book's battery life even further.
Incidentally, video playback was very choppy and effectively unwatchable on the s.book, though the same file played back just fine on the Eee. The Eee has another advantage when it comes to power: a better AC adaptor that's like a phone charger. The s.book's is a standard laptop brick.
The s.book's processor is a 1.2GHz VIA C7-M, backed up with 1GB of 533MHz DDR 2 memory. There's no way to upgrade the memory without taking the laptop to bits. The s.book's CPU certainly has a higher clock speed than the Eee's 900MHz Intel Celeron M, and it makes it presence felt: the system fan that ran constantly throughout use, no matter what we did. You might not notice it on a train, or in a busy location, but in a quiet room it's very obvious.
Even with the fan, the s.book runs remarkably hot for a small machine. So does the Eee, but to a much lesser extent. The Eee has a fan too, and benchmarking the machine quickly got it spinning up, but it was far less intrusive than the s.book's cooler, and in normal use barely spinning at all.
Longer bars are better
We ran PCMark05 on both the Eee and the s.book, focusing on the suite's CPU, memory and HDD tests because neither machine would run the graphics benchmark, thanks to their inferior screen size and unchallenging integrated GPUs.
As you can see from the results above, the Eee's Intel processor scored better than the s.book's VIA chip, despite the two CPUs being rated at 900MHz and 1200MHz, respectively. Clearly, all x86 CPUs are not created equally.
That said, one advantage of the C7-M is its integrated encryption engine which ought to accelerate operations like Virtual Private Network (VPN) communications. We were not set up to test this, but we'd like to hear from anyone who has experience of running VPNs over VIA and Intel machines.
The Eee outshone the s.book in the memory test too, though that's mostly because of the Ram's higher clock speed. Our Eee has 2GB of memory, more than than the standard 512MB, but only double the s.book's complement.
But the s.book's 80GB hard drive really outstripped the Eee's 4GB solid-state drive. Our Eee's 4GB drive is compressed to allow us to squeeze on Windows XP Pro and the all the apps we use, and that may have penalised its score.
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.