Top positive review
370 of 376 people found this helpful
2G Surf Nice little PC. Edited to add longer term impressions
on January 23, 2008
First, if reading amazon reviews be careful. Amazon has combined the reviews of all of the eee pc models and they all don't have the same abilities. As an example there is no webcam on the surf models and the 2G models are missing software that is included on larger more expensive models. The 2G surf does not include a protective sleeve like the other models. Unlike many other Eee PCs, RAM is not upgradable in the 2G Surf.
This is a review for the 2G Surf model. I bought the green one.
This little PC is a very nice light travel tool. It is between a PDA and a laptop computer. It will do most of what you expect a business / web pc to do
The browser installed is Firefox. Most of the web tools are just links to web pages in firefox. Just about anything you can do in firefox you can do with the eee pc on the web. I have surfed to several web pages. Most of them sized themselves satisfactorily for the 800x480 screen. You can get more screen real estate by pressing F11 which hides most of the toolbars (this works in any browser, not just firefox on the eee). I increased the default text size a bit.
Open Office is a great office app package. I had no trouble opening and using word, excel, or power point documents. It saves in the microsoft office formats by default. If you want to try this package just google "open office". It is free and there are versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I was pleased to find that the draw program is included. There is no desktop shortcut for draw, but it is available by using the new document button in any open office program.
On the 2G surf the number of games is reduced to make the package smaller. The only games are Solitaire, Penguin Racer, Potato head, and bubble bobble. The only useful one for an adult will probably be solitaire. It isn't much of a gaming machine. Same with the learning apps. Many 4G learning apps aren't included on the 2G model. Being an adult, I'll probably never use the ones that are there. Asus does not offer any apps beyond what is included already installed (as of 1/08).
The media player works well. I have played movies and music with it. I played a DVD quality AVI from a SDHC card with no trouble. MP3s were also problem free from the SD card. It also works well with my iPod. I have a 2nd generation iPod nano and an iPod video. When you plug in Ipod through USB, the eee can see your music and playlists and use the iPod as a media drive. I have read that the newest Ipods wont do this properly. My 5th gen ipod video and 2nd gen ipod nano worked perfectly. The speakers are very good quality, better than my 15" Dell inspiron notebook.
Wireless works fine. I had no trouble connecting to my home g network. Easier than it was in windows. I don't see any reason it would have trouble using hot spots.
The hardware is nice. The keyboard is small but I think I'll be able to manage a decent speed. It isn't a full size keyboard so don't expect to be able to type at full speed error free.
The screen is very bright, sharp, and has good colors. I adjusted my screen brightness nearly all the way down and it still looks good. Again, the resolution is 800 pixels wide by 480 pixels tall, 7" diagonal (same resolution as a DVD movie).
The unit is very small and light for a laptop. It is not small and light enough to fit in trouser cargo pockets. It should fit in a woman's med-large purse or a small messenger bag (man purse).
Don't expect to have a lot of space for media or files. The 2G only has 300mb free. You will need an SD card, SDHC card, or external drive for large files. The 300mb is only good for small files for use with open office. You can't delete any apps or games to free up space without some hacking. If you aren't good with the maddening Linux command line interface, just buy a cheap SD card for extra space. I am not a fan of the Linux CLI. It is similar to using DOS, you have to know commands to get the machine to do anything advanced. If hacking and using the CLI don't sound fun to you just use it like it comes in the box and you will have no problems. Using the default mode is super easy and stable.
I don't have the patience to try to install windows or upgrade to a more full featured version of Linux. The included Operating System works very well and is very easy. You won't even need the manual. I doubt that the 2G model would be very good at running either Windows or other versions of Linux. I am not a big computer hacker. I like to use computer software as a tool, and this thing includes many powerful easy tools. The included OS works well with the included apps. The included apps fill most of my needs, and are perfect for lightweight commuter computing.
My biggest disappointment was the lack of software for keeping your offline email, calendar, to do list, and address book. I could access my google calendar with it, but only when connected to the web. PDA and email software may be included in the 4G model (I have no idea, never used one) but there is no such software on the 2g. Everything you use a palm pilot or ms-outlook for must be done in the browser.
Edited to add more peeves:
Wil not connect to wifi automatically, you must tell it to connect and enter the pass key each time you want to get online.
512mb-ram model 2g surf lags a tiny bit once you have several firefox tabs open. Works like you would expect an XP machine to work, with the same amount of ram. I hoped it would use memory more efficiently. It isn't bad, but it's noticeable. Not a multi-tasking powerhouse.
Edited to add:
If you close the lid the computer goes to sleep, but does not hibernate. It is still using power in sleep mode. I used my PC last night while plugged in. When I was finished I just closed the lid. This morning I unplugged it and put it in my bag, bu did not shut it down completely. The battery was dead late this afternoon when I wanted to use it because it had been sleeping on battery power.
You must shut down completely or there will be drain on the battery. Thankfully, shutting down and booting up take less than 30 seconds.
Edited again to add:
You can get it to log-on to secure wireless connections automatically. It must be done with the network app and not the wireless network app. ??? Typical computer goofyness.
Edited again to add:
I have used it for several weeks now. The biggest drawback to productivity for me is the keyboard size. I make more errors touchtyping than I thought I would. I usually find myself using my two index fingers, which limits me to about 15WPM. I'd gladly add a pound to it for a full sized keyboard at times.
I followed some online instructons and went into advanced mode and added Mozilla Thunderbird to my machine. It now has a full featured calendar/email program. Including research time, it took me over an hour to do this. Asus should have included this free app with the 2G or made it easer to download and install.
Looking back on my purchase: It's still a very useful tool and worth the $300 I paid, but not worth a lot more. Lots of compromises but still useful.