Asus speaks out on UK Eee PC 900 battery issue
Asus today offered little solace for British Eee PC 900 buyers who've found that the machine packs a lower-capacity battery here than it does in some other countries.
When Register Hardware reviewed the 900 last month - you can read our evaluation of the elfin PC here - we noted the 900 comes with a 4400mAh battery. We asked Asus about this at the time, and when it emerged that North American 900s were shipping with 5800mAh batteries, as per the original Eee PC 701 4G, we asked again.
Now we've had a response.
An Asus UK spokeswoman said: "Asus offers different solutions in different markets. In EU countries, we use 4400mAh [with the] Eee 900. However, we give a two-year warranty within the country you bought the Eee 900."
So just as there's a trade-off buying the Windows XP version of the Eee PC 900 - pay for the Microsoft OS and get less storage capacity, 12GB rather than the 20GB found in the Linux version - in Europe there seems to be a trade-off between battery capacity and warranty period.
Asus Eee PC and friend: running out of juice too quickly?
We'd imagine, however, that many European Eee 900 buyers would much rather have the bigger battery and a shorter warranty period, than the situation they actually find themselves in.
To be fair, there is an element of emptors not being sufficiently caveat here. Asus, so far as we can tell, has never stated that the European Eee 900 comes with a higher-capacity battery than it actually does.
Our tests found that the 900's battery performs barely less well than the 701's, despite the latter's higher battery capacity and slower CPU.
And while you might well assume that the spec of a product from country A matches that of the spec sold in country B, there are many, many examples - especially from Taiwanese notebook makers - where that's not the case. As Asus says, it offers different specs in different markets. If you don't like that, don't buy, or buy from another country - if you can...
Nonetheless, Asus has left a fair few British buyers with a bad taste in their mouths, and it may well find they're less keen on its offerings in future. In Hong Kong, the company reportedly reacted to buyer complaints by offering free battery upgrades, though Asus UK didn't confirm this.
The company probably feels like piggy in the middle, having been hit hard by battery supply problems over the past three or four months - one of the reasons the original Eee PC was so hard to get hold of earlier this year.
But palming European buyers off with a lower spec power pack than the ones US consumers will make many Eee fans over here feel like they've had a raw deal. We asked Asus what it had to say to its UK customers who do feel aggrieved over the battery issue, but it did not do so.
Sabbie - do you work for Asus ;-)
Seriously, I am happy with the Eee except for the battery which is crippling it as a laptop - 1.5 hours is not acceptable in anyway.
Anyway there is a poll here which is producing some interesting results already:
The poll is on the right hand side under the ad.
It could be worse ..
I bought one of these systems and have so far been happy with it .. the fact that we are now offered a new battery for a small fee of a tenner is great .. There was obviously a mess up with the marketing and reviews etc but I feel Asus have addressed this .. The concerns I keep reading about online are that we are being ripped off in the UK .. Asus have taken note of us and said ok for a small admin fee we will give you a battery that costs £45 quid for £10 .. I feel they are being fair and not just brushing us under the carpet ..
I would still recommend an Eee Pc to friends and family as for its purpose and price tag is a great little gadget .. Battery life on the smaller battery is still superior to my partners laptop ..
All in all I am a very happy customer ..
People Power wins - kinda
well, well well...
after many complaints - least not from the great users at Eeeuser.com - we have it sorted...almost
Asus UK today has confirmed, that they are working on a rebate scheme whereby for approx £10 early purchasers will be supplied with a 5800 battery.
an official announcement will be made in due course but this won't be before they are able to secure enough 5800 batteries. At the moment they do not have enough. I couldn't get a timescale out of him but he said they are definitely going to do something.
they admitted that the 3 hour claim on ToysRUs POS material and the several hours in the manual was based on the higher capacity battery and also that we (UK) received the 4400 battery as there weren't enough 5800 batteries.
they agreed you cannot get 3 hours with the current battery even with his own tests.
so due to Asus qouting the same 3 hour battery life everywhere - even in places with the much smaller battery we get a result
so we pay £10 for a 5800 battery -and from what we can gather - we keep the tatty old 4400 as a spare..
lets hope an Official statement comes from Asus UK shortly..
Shame on you ASUS
Well it looks like the pace is picking up now that Engadget has jumped on this - about time! Asus seem to be taken quite unaware by this, which is absolutely bizarre. Do they not understand the anticipation about these items, and the fact that early adopters worldwide are comparing specs and running intensive tests? Jerry Shen has been receiving direct emails and passing them to Emily in the UK - lets hope she points out to Jerry that this won't just go away, and needs to be resolved immediately if Asus want to salvage their reputation.
I think EU warrantee's are portable
I may be wrong but I think the EU require the warantee to be honoured in any EU country - although you might have to return it to the subsiderary you bought it from.
That's probably the main reason they all have uk/de/it/etc subsiderary companies to do the selling.
Buyers should also remember that the distance selling regs will allow you to return within 14 days. The law may even say a reasonable time...