Asus Eee PC S101 luxury netbook
An Eee to truly challenge thin'n'light laptops
Review Asus pretty much started the whole Small, Cheap Computer ball rolling with its first Eee PC just over a year ago. But now there are hundreds of the darn things, from every manufacturer imaginable, so how does Asus ensure it stays at the forefront of the market?
By going high end, it seems - which is what it has done with its latest offering, the Eee PC S101. While it's still certainly small - and indeed a computer - it may stretch the limits of anyone definition of 'cheap' thanks to a £449 price tag that's pushing right up against the £500 psychological barrier.
Asus' Eee PC S101: small, yes; cheap, no
However, while it may cost twice as much as the original Eee PC, you could still get at least two, possibly three, S101s for the same money as something equally small and light from Apple, Sony or Toshiba.
Asus has used the extra money in the budget not just to make the S101 look super special - from its glittery metallic brown lid and silver trim to the brushed-metal effect palm rest and crystal-adorned hinges, no less - but also to kit it out with some serious components. Cut down laptop, this certainly isn't.
The 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor and 1GB of DDR 2 memory are no surprise, but when it comes to internal storage the S101 is practically bulging at the seams. The internal SSD already runs to a healthy 16GB but in addition to that you'll also find a 16GB SD card in the box - effectively giving you 32GB in total, all solid state so you don't need to worry about bashes or bumps damaging your data. There's also an additional 20GB of secure online storage thrown in for free, although how much you'll actually use it is debatable - and it's only free for the first 18 months. Once your year and half is up, you'll need to fork out to keep it going.
Yes, but did it have to be... brown
The 10.2in LED backlit screen supports the SCC-standard 1024 x 600 resolution and the obligatory 0.3-megapixel webcam at the top. You'll find 802.11n Wi-Fi on board plus Bluetooth for back-up. There are three USB sockets to stick things in - two on the left, one on the right - with 3.5mm analogue headphone and microphone sockets also nestling on the right edge. Round the back, there's an SDHC memory card slot, security socket, and VGA, Ethernet and power ports.
@ 1280x800 on 8", 9" or 10".
I'm sure 170 dpi would be pretty unusable for many people. It'd be no use at all for the applications I keep on my Thinkpad, unless I strapped the screen to my face.
You can certainly change the font sizes in a browser, but not everything is adjustable. What about the web sites that have sections of text written on .gifs? My bank would be unreadable for a start. Setting the OS dpi to compensate would drop any benefit gained from the extra res' in the first place, and as before, this doesn't work with everything.
Oh, and the VIA CPUs used in the HPs are particularly shit. Let's not get carried away with what these things can do just yet.
Has this luxury netbook got 3G built in?
No? Then I don't want one.
Yes, I do think HP has another netbook coming out, this time with a different processor: