On Friday, I received the black version of the new kicking ASUS Eee PC 1000HE — the ultimate netbook, at a third of the price and twice the computing power, of the the awful Sony Vaio P — and the first thing I did after unboxing, and seeing the ancient Windows XP interface staring back at me, was to install my trusty beta of Windows 7 Ultimate.
I knew Windows 7 would get along on my ASUS 1000HE because I had previously installed it on my Sony Vaio P without any trouble. I spent $20 to upgrade the base memory in the machine from 1 gig to 2 gigs.
I did a clean install, and while I lost all my ASUS-specific utilities, I’m not missing any of them because Windows 7 takes over the machine so well.
The entire install took 45 minutes on my 1000HE compared to over 2.5 hours on my Sony Vaio P.
My display, power, audio, 1.3 megapixel webcam — and everything else I’ve tried to use — are all functioning and working great under Windows 7.
I am also finally able to see the “Aero glassiness” of the Windows 7 design interface that I was unable to witness on my MacBook Pros or the Sony Vaio P. Aero is like running Mac OS X on a Windows box!
The secret in the ASUS Windows 7 get-along goodness is in the new 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N280 processor in the 1000HE. That CPU is fast and dazzling!
I was also able to seamlessly join my Apple WiFi network with my ASUS on Win 7. Under Windows XP, I was asked for my “hex key” to join the WPA2-secured network. What? Hex keys? Is this 1987? Windows 7 only wanted my password to join the network and all was instantly well in wireless land.
The keyboard on the 1000HE is excellent and surprisingly responsive and large. ASUS claims this keyboard is 92% the size of a standard notebook keyboard:
I’m not thrilled with the anti-glare coating on the 10-inch backlit screen. I prefer a glossy screen. Apple have spoiled me with their glossy de facto default on their computers. 1024×600 is plenty of screen real estate for such a small device.
The hard drive logs in at 160 gigs and there’s a single slot for an additional MultiMedia card (MMC) or a Secure Digital (SD) card. I’m supposed to have 10 gigs of secure online storage, as part of the “netbook experience,” but I can’t figure out how to find or set up that feature even though I have registered my machine online.
The battery is supposed to last for 9.5 hours, but that isn’t realistic when you run at full power and full screen brightness. I get around 4.5 hours of battery use per charge. That isn’t bad, but when the battery hits 10% and you get your first “low battery” warning, stop working immediately because you only have seconds left before Windows 7 will take over and automatically turn off your computer.
Even with that big, powerful, battery installed, the ASUS is only about 3.2 pounds and the included padded travel sleeve is a big, thoughtful, plus from ASUS.
I now have the perfect netbook for tossing in a backpack or briefcase for use around the house or on the road. I might even try to install OS X on the machine sometime just to see if I can get a dual boot machine to work. Then I’ll have two computers for the price of one.
I can’t stop raving about my new ASUS Eee PC 1000HE and being able to touch the future by using Windows 7 Ultimate as my daily, traveling, OS of choice is just another nice surprise from a machine packed with exciting, and unexpected, new features.