It was right about this time last year that I bought my Asus Eee 1000HA. It was my first netbook, and I fell in love with the price and portability. Now here it is a year later, and I have a more nuanced perspective on my little black book. About a month ago the hard drive failed, and I went through a nightmare of trying to recover data (my own fault) and finding a temporary machine to use. Luckily the Eee PC was still under warranty, so I sent it back with a trusty RMA number and got a replacement hard drive for free. There seems to be evidence now that netbooks do indeed fail more often than other laptops, but the Asus brand is more reliable than most. Just my luck.
Now that I’ve got my Eee back, I’m evaluating what I still love and don’t love about it. Let’s start with the good stuff. The weight and size of the hardware is awesome. I literally put it in my bag and then wonder a few minutes later if I’ve forgotten my computer because the bag feels so light. I also love that it’s so small because it means I can carry my Eee virtually everywhere. The netbook is why I’ve lasted so long without a smartphone. (Much to Dave’s chagrin.)
Before I got the Eee, I heard some complaints about the keyboard. It’s slightly smaller than a full-size keyboard, and the right Shift key is further out to the side. Frankly, not only do these issues not bother me (and I’m a touch typist), but the keyboard response is excellent, with perfect resistance in the keys. Another pro: the six-cell battery keeps me juiced up for a reasonably long time. Operating on Wi-Fi, I get about three and a half hours of power after a year of use.
Now the not so good stuff. My left mouse button sticks. Irritating. And when the battery charges up, it’s decent, but every third or fourth reboot the battery refuses to charge. It runs down and then won’t juice back up when plugged in. The solution is either to go wired, or shut down, take out the battery, put the battery back in, and start up again. So far that always does the trick, but it can be a pain to shut down when I have 17 emails messages to sort, 22 Firefox tabs open, and several docs still cluttering up my screen.
Other than the mouse button and the battery, there are a couple of other irritating issues that are just functions of the netbook design. While the limited resolution never bothered me much, I have to admit that returning to a larger screen temporarily was convenient. I miss it. Also, the Eee version I have is limited to 1 GB of RAM. Since the Eee is my primary machine, I’d like to have a bit more horsepower. Not a deal-killer, but it would be nice to upgrade.
The long and short of it is, I still love my netbook, but I’ll have no trouble trading it in for a new one in another six months or so. My new requirements? A 10″ netbook with 1377×768 resolution, higher RAM capacity, and a new Intel Pine Trail chipset. Oh, and throw in a preloaded version of Windows 7, please. All for under $500.
A girl can dream, right?