Thursday, March 27, 2008

EeePC - My thoughts

We're investigating the EeePC as a platform for wide adoption within our building (trending towards one to one). We got two of them in, one with whatever flavor of Linux it comes with and the other with WinXP. I've been playing with the XP version.

So after playing with it for a day or two here were my thoughts:
  • Its small, but not too small to use. After only a few hours of use my typing speed was probably to to at least 90% of my normal typing speed.
  • Portability is great. I took it to a meeting of the Detroit Physics Teachers last night and I hardly noticed it was in my bag.
  • It goes into standby when you close the lid and wakes up with no problems. I've often had bad luck with this on other Windows laptops.
  • Speed is acceptable.
  • Storage space is very limited (I don't think XP and Office would fit on the 4GB version). This is predominantly a client for internet applications, so the Linux version would probably be acceptable.
  • Battery life seems to be about 2.5-3 hours while surfing the net and if its being used while it's charging it doesn't charge very fast.
At that point I was still in favor of these for classroom use. Now I'm not as sure. I was going to be done with reviewing the EeePC, but then I left my MacBook at my brother-in-law's house in Ohio and I was forced to rely on the EeePC as my only laptop solution. New thoughts:
  • The screen resolution is really too low and feels very cramped. My best comparison is to flying in the center seat in coach with strangers on either side of you. You still get to your destination, but not comfortably. Additionally, if you like lots of toolbars in your browser you have even less screen relastate to play with.
  • The power adapter is underpowered (22W). It doesn't seem to charge the battery much at all while the computer is being used. So, over the course of a school day, once the battery is drained it will have to be plugged in every other period it is in use. The low power output also means it doesn't charge fast even while turned off.
  • The wireless is solid. There was only one time (over the course of a full week) I had to restart the computer in order to get it to see my access point after waking up from standby.
Now, don't get me wrong, it's not a complete waste. It's portability is it's strongest point. It is very light and easy to carry around. Much smaller than most textbooks students carry. But, I'm currently in favor of full sized laptops as our current solution. The projected EeePC 900 with its higher screen resolution may go a long way towards alleviating my concerns, but they have to do something about the power adapter for me to give it my whole hearted recommendation.


Anonymous said...

You could always wait a week or so and give the HP UMPC 2133 a test drive.

Steve said...

That looks like a great little laptop. I'll definitely keep my eye out for it.


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