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Asus Eee PC 4G Review - Ultramobile Notebook with Linux

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Asus
Tagged:

External Evaluation

The physical attributes of the Asus Eee PC 4G are one of the key drawing points to the unit that will differentiate with size and cost.  If you haven't used a notebook with a 7" screen, you will definitely have to adjust to the smaller screen and resolution.

The Eee PC is built with a plastic body all around and will be offered in more colors than just the white that we are showing here.  Black, blue, pink and maybe a couple others are all in the line up to suit whatever personal preferences you have. 

The physical feel of the notebook is pretty solid for such a small piece - I have definitely had 11" screen notebooks that felt more fragile than this system does.  As long as you don't expect the build quality of an IBM ThinkPad, you will not be let down. 

Looking at the left hand side of the system we find a 10/100 network connection and a PLACE for a standard modem port though it was filled in with a rubber stopper; no modem support is available it would seem.  There is also a single USB 2.0 port as well as headphone and microphone ports. 
That back of the Eee PC 4G is pretty bare -- the large section between the LCD hinges is the battery and the single power connector is on the far right.
The right side of the notebook has two USB 2.0 ports, a VGA output and mobility locking connection (for physical security / theft).  The slot on the left is a MMC/SC memory card reader.

Open up the shell of the system and you'll be greeted with what appears to be a standard notebook design with a full size keyboard, touch pad mousing system and LCD display.  The contrast on the image isn't as good as it should be, but looking closely will show you that the LCD screen doesn't take up the entire black area on the top of the system -- part of that is the integrated speakers and web camera. 
The keyboard on the Asus Eee PC might look like a full size layout, but in reality it is not.  The keys are much smaller than a standard keyboard on even notebooks with 14" and 15" monitors and I did find myself having some issue with typing reliably at first.  After an hour or so of typing and playing with the system, I was able to get used to it though, much in the same way I get used to using a new thumb-based keyboard on phones.

The touch bad on the Eee PC is also pretty small; of course everything has to be small on a 2 lb notebook.  The silver button below it is only one piece of plastic though it still functions as both a left and right click button depending on which side you press down.  Speaking of which, the "click" sound that the button makes is, well, noticeable.  Loud might be another way to describe it.

Here we have the Asus Eee PC 4G is set next to the Asus U1F notebook that has an 11" screen.
With the two machines open (excuse the plastic that is taped to the screen of the Eee PC) you get a better idea of how the keyboards and display sizes compare to one another.  The Eee PC has also has a much shorter length (from the LCD hinge towards the keyboard) than even the relatively small U1F.
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