Asus’ long-awaited 9-inch (well, 8.9-inch) version of its groundbreaking Eee PC 4G arrives with all the familiar trappings installed. But this time it’s a little bigger — in more ways than one. Not only is the screen bumped up from seven inches to nine, the RAM is doubled (from 512 MB to 1 GB), the solid state storage system jumps from 4 GB to 20 GB, and the price takes a leap, hitting the $550 mark.
Two inches may not sound like much, but in this case, the modest increase in size makes a world of difference. The bigger screen (and larger resolution) makes web pages, documents and graphics files far more navigable and legible. While the keyboard is technically the same size as the 7-inch 4 G, it actually feels a little bigger even though touch-typing is still an error-prone affair.
Though the CPU is the same as the 4 G (a 900-MHz Intel Celeron), the extra RAM is a big help. The 900 boots noticeably faster, and application lag is improved. Battery life also gets a big boost: We eked almost four hours of video playback from the device compared to two hours, 20 minutes on the 4 G.
The 900 is not without a few hiccups: For example, the Eee didn’t remember our WEP key after a reboot, and the battery-life meter was totally wrong during our testing. But those issues are probably due to some Linux drivers that can be updated. Though the price tag, now rising well past $500, might turn some buyers toward bigger notebooks at about the same price, it’s still an awfully attractive deal.
- RAM Size: 1 GB
- Clock Rate: 900 MHz
- Hard Drive Size: 20 GB