It’s been several weeks since I got my Asus EeePC 1000HE, and I’ve had a chance to use it quite a bit. I’ve also noticed a few things that have surfaced since I posted my first impressions, that I wanted to share.
First, there are 2 Fn keys, one on either side of the keyboard. Since the Fn options are sprinkled all over the keyboard (see image below), this makes it really convenient to use the Fn’s with one hand, regardless of what it is. Contrast this to my Dell XPS M1330 and Gateway MX6956, both of which only have a single Fn key, and I can easily adjust the volume, brightness, or other settings one-handed. Awesome.
These Fn keys actually do quite a bit to really add to the whole experience. For instance, you can hold Fn and press the spacebar to scroll through the SHE settings, which control the balance between battery life and processor performance. This is actually something I do quite often, and it’s nice to be able to quickly change on-the-fly.
Second, there are 2 hardware shortcut keys at the top that can be programmed to anything I want them to be. While this is insanely convenient, and something I would like to see in the future, because I don’t have this on any other computer, I completely forget they’re there, as well as what I set them to. Still nice to have, though.
The keyboard is awesome. It’s rated at .92, which means it’s 92% of the size of a normal keyboard. Things are *slightly* cramped, but I can comfortably compose a post or write an entire review on here, which I could not say for the Dell Mini 9.
Unfortunately, the design of this thing bothers me. For starters, there’s that massive barrel running along the hinge. It’s very prominent, and the ribbed wheels on either end still make me think I might be able to remove them to find something cool. Also, the matte display is awesome, but the high-gloss bezel really clashes with it, which is frustrating. I’m still shopping for a skin that I like. I wonder if I can just find a clear matte one. The wrist-rest and outer panel are also high-gloss fingerprint magnets, but I’m hesitant to cover up that beautiful blue color.
The touchpad includes multi-touch support, and it’s not bad. I had to disable a few of the gestures, such as spreading your fingers to zoom in or out. Scrolling is done with two fingers, and I’m slowly getting used to that. There are more gestures, including 3-fingers, but this touchpad is just too small to put three fingers on there and move them in any direction, really.
The main reason I chose the 1000HE was for the advertised 7-9 hours of battery life. While I haven’t gotten close to that, I have been averaging somewhere between 5 and 6 hours of use when off AC power. This is with the brightness turned to full, WiFi on, and several apps running. I wouldn’t doubt that if I disabled wireless, dimmed the display slightly, and made some other adjustments, I could get to that 7-9 hour mark. Even still, 5-6 hours of runtime is longer than any other laptop I’ve ever touched has offered, so I’m perfectly satisfied there.
Overall, after several weeks of real-world usage, I’m still very much in love with my Asus EeePC 1000HE. The insane battery life, paired with a powerful processor (for a netbook) and aptly-sized keyboard means I can easily take it anywhere and get real work done. While I enjoyed the smaller portable size of the Fujitsu P1610 and Dell Mini 9, the 1000HE is more comfortable to use, and thus, I’m more productive when I use it. I’m now able to leave my XPS M1330 on my desk more, as a portable desktop rather than a laptop, and I like that.