As per the 701, the 900's screen hinges have plenty of friction to keep the display where you leave it, even if you pick it up by the screen. But while it's easy to close the 900 one-handed, it's impossible to open the machine the same way.
The webcam's upgraded to 1.3Mp
The 900's widescreen display sits beneath a 1.3-megapixel webcam. Nearby is the microphone, as before. Indeed, the 900's externals match its predecessor almost exactly. The design's identical, with the same VGA and two USB 2.0 ports, and SDHC card slot on the right-hand side. The left looks the same too, with one exception: the 701's modem port, which was never connected to the motherboard, is gone. But the 10/100Mb/s Ethernet, third USB 2.0 port, and audio sockets are present as before.
The front of the machine is home to the same On, Battery, Disk Activity and Wi-Fi LEDs as the 701 sported. But the touchpad, its buttons and the keyboard are larger this time round.
The 900 is barely bigger than the 701, despite the larger display, but it feels more chunky. The 900's about 7mm longer front-to-back than the 701, but the other dimensions match. However, the 900 is less svelte - the two machines match at the edges, but where the 701's case slopes, the 900 bulges. Still, there's not much to choose, weight-wise: a smidgeon over 900g for the 701 and 1kg for the 900, according to our kitchen scales.
Same ports as the 701
The keyboard remains as cramped as ever, even though it's fractionally larger than the 701 version. It's well suited to the youngsters the Eee family is really aimed at, and while it's usable if you have large, adult fingers, typing is never entirely comfortable. But that's a trade-off you make with any machine as small as the Eee, and it's stil a nicer keyboard to use that some of the spongy ones fitted to more expensive, executive-oriented sub-notebooks like the Toshiba Portégé R500 - reviewed here.
Have ASUS signed a contract with the devil?
I wonder whether ASUS has signed a contract with Microsoft to not sell the Linux version for less than the price of the XP version? This would explain why we don't get a 4GB or 12GB Linux version. This means that once again we are paying a Microsoft tax, but this time in hardware that we don't necessarily need. If this is the case, then ASUS really deserve to flop with this one. We do not need the Microsoft middleman involved in the pricing of a Linux laptop. Hey, looks like Microsoft have almost screwed up OLPC project as well. If they're quick and they get their dirty little fingers into all the small-laptop manufacturers pockets, maybe they can still keep their monopoly? But only if we let them.
As a serious amature photog, I can make the case that ANYTHING less than a quad-core, 4 Gigs of RAM, RAID-equipped desktop with dual 24" screens is insufficient for photo and video editing. Really - try it once and you can never go back.
But the average user doesn't have that, and uses various amounts of patience, the hand tool, and zooming to accomplish their tasks. Gets the job done (unless working with high-def video streams in real-time, for which there IS no solution other than what I described above). The 701 and such just demands MORE patience and zooming...OK, not great, but doable certainly.
I can almost guess that you are an American, unused to the mobile society that we have here in the EU (and exists in Asia). When the population uses mass transit as much or more than cars, then portability matters a great deal. The 701 is the perfect machine to take in a small messenger bag (even a manbag) while walking around a city and not even know it is there. You pack it as an accessory, not as a laptop - that is what I see as it's true value.
No, I don't own one - my Toshiba M200 still works for me too well, and I like a tablet form factor sometimes. But if I replaced it, I would definately get the Asus.
For everyone debating the 900, you can view it as Asus already HAS the 700, and is just expanding their model line-up and price points. From a marketing point of view, choice is always good. I would not be surprised to see an upgraded 750 or something in a few months, with a larger screen in the same 700 body perhaps...selling at £240 or so. Maybe with the Atom.
Posting with GO, as it's the least used symbol on the forum and feels discriminated against.
Competing with laptops?
"Indeed, but it's nonsense to suggest these aren't competing with laptops "different horses, different courses" - wtf is this if it isn't a laptop? "craptop" perhaps."
I'd call it a thin client. The original Eee was "mobile access to a real computer located elsewhere". A conventional laptop is a self-sufficient beast. Nice if that's what you want, but as a thin-client it is hugely over-specified and over-priced.
So no, they weren't competing with laptops. However, with the new price tag, they probably are.
Re. Battery Capacity
Anonymous: the review unit was supplied by Asus UK, so hardly a grey import. The battery supplied was 4400mAh, and we have to review the unit on the basis of what it does include, not what it might include.
Not for me............
As a 701 owner I'm really happy with it. There are "tweaks" out there for speeding up the CPU and changing screen resolution. There is no way on the planet i'm stumping up another £110 over the 701 for a 901.
Like a lot of people have said £220 hits a sweet spot for a cheap ultra portable laptop. Its brilliant for the money. At £330 the 901 is up against some serious competition.
I think ASUS has stuffed up. They had the product and pricing structure bang on. The 901 is never going to take off the same way the 701 did.