Mossberg Doesn't Like the Asus Eee PC and I Can't Blame Him

Click to viewWalter Mossberg has tested the Asus Eee PC, the small low cost computer that is the darling of some Linux lovers and assorted digital elves with EXP576. And while he says that it is a "valiant effort," he clearly doesn't like it for many reasons, even bringing the MacBook Air in his equation, and I totally agree with him:

On the positive side

• Has a very small footprint and fits anywhere.

• Comes with all the software you need for images, music, office applications, mail and web access.

• Very simple interface, with the Linux operating system.

• Wireless.

• Price: $300 to $500 depending on the configuration.

On the negative side

• Has a very small footprint, so small that it's a pain to use thanks to a cramped keyboard and a tiny 7-inch screen with very limited resolution (which requires a lot of scrolling).

• All the software is very rudimentary and has some strange, undecipherable errors. It doesn't recognize his stock Kodak camera, either.

• The included Linux is so simple that non-experienced users will find very difficult to install new software.

• It doesn't automatically reconnect to the Wi-Fi network.

So no, for the Mighty Moss, the Asus Eee PC doesn't cut it. And yes, I can't blame him. His reasoning is solid, even while I can feel a little bit of a setup in his comments, prepping for his upcoming MacBook Air review. The fact is that those are the problems that the Asus Eee PC objectively has: the poor software, the glitches and the too-small screen and keyboard problem alone are enough to gun the Eee PC down. If you use one for more than 30 minutes, your hands will be so cramped that they will call you Captain Hook on the street.

That said, the Eee PC is amazingly good for tech-oriented people looking for portability and modding fun. However, as Mossberg says, for regular consumers the Asus could be as useful and enjoyable to use as Addy's old Fujitsu Lifebook: she used to call it Fuckitsu because it was equally small and similarly underpowered (actually, it was faster, but the price tag was gigantic compared with the Asus.) Clearly, there's a limit to size savings and we think that we know where Mossberg is going: the key for this class of computers is a combination of great battery life, comfort (great screen, great keyboard), very low weight and power. And of course, great software on board. If any of these fail (like in the case of the Asus), then the computer is a bad solution.

And yes, I love the smell of napalm in the morning. [All Things D]