The Acer Aspire reviews were getting a little old, so instead of adding yet another anectode of the popular netbook, I thought I’d shake things up a little by giving my view of Asus’ slightly more expensive (but worth the extra money) EeePC 1000 HE for the enjoyment of all.
I ordered a 10.1-inch Acer Aspire One for my school’s choir department to give the next year’s treasurer so as to give him the appropriate tools to make sure he continues in my excellence (sorry, unsupressable pride). Upon receiving the shipment, I immediately knew I had to have a newer, better, more beautiful netbook because the new Aspire One sort of made me drool in a figurative sense. Within two weeks I had put up my one and one half month-old Aspire One for sale online and received the EeePC 1000 HE.
For only $100 more than what I purchased my 8.9-inch Aspire One (and only $40 more than what the 10.1-inch Aspire One cost the school), I bought the Eee PC 1000 HE. Some of its main points are Intel’s Atom processor (this time at 1.66 GHz versus the standard 1.6), 1 GB DDR2 RAM, 160 GB of hard drive space, a 10.2-inch screen, wireless b/g/n, Bluetooth, a 1.3 MP webcam and dual microphones, and an 8700mAH 6-cell battery. It also came with some extras that weren’t described on the item page on Buy.com: 10 GB of free online storage (Eee Storage), a zippered slipcase, and what I like to call the OCD rag, provided to help remove the smudges that constantly appear on the glossy surface.
A Rather Beautiful Piece of Equipment
Aesthetically speaking, the EeePC 1000HE is a mightily attractive– very much more than my old Aspire One, and more than any laptop I’ve yet owned. All of my previously owned laptops are either pre-21st century or turn of the century, so perhaps that’s not saying much. At any rate, even though I buy computers based on the price-to-performance ratio and think buying a computer for its good looks isn’t very wise, I’ve feel a little special every time I take it out to use in public. The black exterior with black keyboard and silver accents is a big plus to the looks of the machine. Also, this is a very personal preference, but glowy blue status lights make any computer look twice as good as one with green or orange lights especially when coupled with the black background that the 1000 HE boasts. The exterior is glossy both on the reverse side of the screen as well as below the keyboard, and thus attracts smudges as flies are attracted to dung. The included OCD rag calms the obsessive compulsive within a person, though, so the glossy is easier to deal with than with other computers that lack the rag. The screen itself isn’t glossy, which I find easier to use when sitting in front of a window at midday aside from not having to deal with smudges.
The keyboard is also a very good looking one when compared with the more standard style of raised keys. The 1000 HE’s keyboard is more what you might call “Mac-like” with flat keys, more spaced apart than on most PC keyboards. I don’t own Macs and hardly use the ones provided for me, but I personally find this Mac-like keyboard easier to use and more aesthetically pleasing.
Ease of Use & Battery Life
The touch pad, after using the Aspire One’s for a month and a half, felt huge and as if it gave me much more freedom when surfing around the screen. The mouse buttons are also under the pad where they’re meant to be, are much bigger and easier to find, and don’t cause you to accidentally brush the touch pad; thus they a joy to press. Multitouch is also supported, and I’ve found the various gestures (such as dragging two fingers to scroll up or down) very useful.
Above the keyboard are four hotkeys, which I’m sort of a fan of. One turns the backlight off, which I’ve found useful when I have wanted to keep the computer on while listening to music or something of the sort while wanting to maintain battery power. Another button is a quick way to flick through different screen resolutions and other display settings. The last two buttons are user-defined.
One of the defaults for these buttons runs a program made specifically for the EeePC that I love. It normally runs at startup unless one alters the settings in msconfig or uninstalls it (I disabled the automatic startup). When needed, this background program known as Super Hybrid Engine can be set to run the netbook at different power modes depending on your needs for computer speed and battery life. Using the most battery-friendly setting and turning off the webcam, Bluetooth, and leaving WiFi on, I was able to watch about five hours of DVD-quality movies that I copied from my desktop with DVDShrink with an estimated hour and a half to spare.
In normal day-to-day use, I can take the EeePC to school without worrying about bringing my power cable as I’ve had to do with every single other laptop and netbook that I’ve owned. Even with WiFi on the entire day, I can generally get from seven to eight hours of normal use on normal power settings. The battery on this device simply astounds me– I’ve never owned anything that can be used constantly and lasts this long without plugging it into the wall (and no, I don’t own a cell phone).
Performance-wise, I regularly run Google Chrome with three to a dozen tabs and/or Microsoft Word and Access much of the day at normal power settings (without the Super Hybrid Engine), and it runs everything rather beautifully. Sometimes, however, after downloading a somewhat large file, Chrome renders pages slowly for about a minute. The computer then resumes its normal desirable speed. Microsoft Office 2007 programs also tend to run a little slower than on desktop counterparts. The additional .6 GHz to the Atom processor in comparison with most other netbooks doesn’t seem to give much, if any, noticeable increase in speed.
Windows XP, which is naturally the default system, loads wicked fast (I’m often surprised to see it loaded after standing up to get a drink or something) at an average 30- to 32-second startup, and hibernation takes about 15 seconds to achieve and 15 seconds to wake up from. As a funny side-note, a boy I know came to me today, irreverently excited with his laptop that he bought for $75. It was built somewhere around 2003 or 2004, had Windows XP installed, had a 12-inch screen, was at least two inches thick, and took at least three minutes to start. I laughed at him when he said that it “starts pretty fast,” and then again when he said that “the battery lasts about five hours.” This boy is known infamously for his exaggerations.
The 10 GB of online Eee Storage wasn’t detailed on the website I purchased the EeePC from, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the sticker next to the touch pad stating that I had ten gigabytes of online storage. The link to the Eee Storage is found in My Computer, and upon opening it, I found it already populated with various sample musics, pictures, videos, and games. My personal favorite of the provided games gives me upmost enjoyment as I race my kart acting as Mario or Luigi down a city street, running over various Nintendo characters and seeing them splatter across the screen.
The Eee Storage can be used on multiple computers for file sharing or backup, and it’s also compatible with Linux operating systems with some tweaking required as there doesn’t yet seem to be any client (at least that I could find). Copying between the computer and the storage is undeniably slow at the mercy of one’s Internet connection (mine sadly never gets much faster than 130kBps).
A Brief Encounter with Ubuntu 9.04 (Desktop Version)
I wanted to try out the latest and greatest Ubuntu distribution in comparison with my last Ubuntu netbook experience, and thus we have a very brief anecdote of the experience of Ubuntu 9.04 on the 1000 HE, detailed in the below paragraph.
I was happy to find that the problems I had on my old Acer Aspire One with 8.10 were completely nonexistent. Wireless networking worked perfectly (if only with a little bit of tinkering depending on the network), there were no battery-to-AC-transitioning hiccups/screen glitches, and none of the components stopped working mysteriously as some had before. Bluetooth worked without any tweaking, but the camera didn’t work with a default install. The system was speedy with little wait, even with full graphics enabled and using OpenOffice.org and Firefox. With a quick look-over, the system works flawlessly, and I’m very pleased with the apparent improvements over 8.10. If the desktop version works this well on the 1000 HE, then I can’t wait to use the netbook remix. That’s next on my list of testing to do.
The Asus EeePC 1000 HE is a good-looking piece of hardware, for one, for two, it runs just as well if not better than other computers of similar caliber, and for three, it includes more for your money than really any other netbook I’ve seen. I will be enjoying this machine for some years to come, and I believe it to be the highest quality netbook currently on the market. I wholeheartedly give the Asus EeePC 1000 HE a 10/10. Applause.
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