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ASUS Eee PC X101H Netbook Review
ASUS have traditionally released their Eee PC series of netbooks targetted at consumers who want their laptop solely for net usage, along with a slight amount of word processing features. The company have usually launched these netbooks with Windows or Linux operating systems. Now, with their latest Eee PC, ASUS have released the X101H netbook that runs on a relatively new OS - Meego. Without the need to elaborate, Meego is the main feature on this netbook. Read on to know if the Eee PC X101H can match upto other netbooks available in the market.
The netbook has a very slim profile
Design and Build Quality
The ASUS Eee PC X101H has an all white design with hints of silver. The size of this laptop is merely the size of a large exercise book. It is extremely lightweight making it easy to carry around. ASUS have traditionally kept their Eee PCs light and this one is no different weighing just over a kilo.
The chicklet-style keyboard is finished in white, as well. This makes it a good looking netbook for both genders. The laptop has a glossy finish, so one can expect a lot of finger prints all over the X101H. Connectivity options available for it lie on either sides of the laptop. There are two USB ports, an Ethernet port, a VGA port, as well as a 3.5mm audio-cum-mic jack. The trackpad blends with the region below the keyboard and the only way to make out the difference is the single button for the left and right click.
VGA and USB connectivity
The hinges of this laptop are made of plastic and do not feel very sturdy. The webcam is located on the upper region of the bezel above the display. Overall, the X101H is a stylish and fancy looking netbook, but as far as build quality is concerned, it just does not cut it. The keyboard feels a bit flimsy, as does the area where the indicators are located. This area looks like it has been separated from the lower part of the laptop, giving it a very cheap feel. The bezel surrounding the screen, however feels rather sturdy. Because of its stylish looks and flimsy feel, we have mixed reactions regarding this segment of the review.
The ASUS Eee PC X101H is a netbook with a 10.1-inch display that sports a resolution of 1024 x 600. The laptop runs on an Intel Atom N455 processor and an Intel NM10 Express chipset. The laptop features a memory of 1 GB DDR3, this is rather less as most netbooks these days feature 2GB memory. This is a typical configuration found on netbooks, nowadays. The main feature of this netbook comes in the form of its operating sytem. ASUS have traditionally used Windows with their netbooks and notebooks, but this time around they have used the new OS - Meego.
The home screen
Meego is an operating system that was started between Intel and Nokia. This is an ideal OS for a netbook with its mobile-like interface. Everything can be found on the screen itself, making it easy to find different functions. The bar at the top acts as a tool for navigating through the different pages. Overall, this is a totally new OS and has yet to become a full-fledged one. As of now, it is certainly work in progress. Meego has an app store as well where one can buy apps to use on this netbook. The browser used here is Chromium, which is basically the open source version of Google’s Chrome browser. One can find a lot of similarities between the two browsers. The interface feels like you're navigating through the menus of a tablet. This can be appealing to some people with its straightforward approach.
The features of this laptop are intermingled with the OS, though Meego is the default OS on this netbook, Windows too can be set up on it. Overall, by using Meego as their OS, ASUS have added a nice distinguishing factor to the populated netbook market.
The performance part of the review was done by checking media playback, viewing angles, comfort ability, heating and other netbook activities like using the tabs for social networking, etc. First lets start off by saying that the X101H was pretty slow. While going through the different menus, we noticed that it would take more than a couple of seconds to load. A black screen with a clock would appear, which put us off to an extent. It's unfair to compare this OS to a Windows, as it is still a budding OS. Hopefully with further updates, the performance and speed would improve.
Drop down bar
Another issue we noticed was that connecting to Wi-Fi was a bit of a task, as it would not complete the request. Once connected it worked well. We hooked up an NTFS external hard drive to the laptop and played videos through the in-built media player. Standard video formats such as AVI worked well and there were no playback issues noticed. However, when we stopped the video, the audio continued to run and did not stop till we physically unplugged the drive. We found this to be quite strange. While playing audio or video files, we tried using the shortcut keys to reduce, raise or mute the volume, but the response time was really slow. Viewing angles on this netbook like most others was not an issue, whatsoever.
Ethernet port alongwith another USB port
Social networking through the pre-loaded tabs on the homescreen was quite convenient as all status updates appear on the tabs. For tasks such as web browsing and social networking, the Meego OS in the ASUS X101H netbook serves the purpose well. However, if one has to use it for media playback like watching videos, there are niggling issues. It has a boot up time of around 38 seconds which is really long for a netbook, however the shut down time is pretty quick at 8 seconds. The netbook does not get very heated, which is always a good thing with any laptop. It's rather quiet, but a constant humming noise can be heard from it when it is running in a silent room. The battery of this notebook is pretty good and running Meego helps in improving the battery life. Under considerable usage, which include watching videos, browsing the web via Wi-Fi and listening to music, the netbook lasted over five hours.
The ASUS Eee PC X101H is available in India at a price of Rs. 12,499. As of now, Meego is in its fledgling state and may probably be the same way for some more time. Rumours are doing the rounds that Meego is going to be replaced, in order to make way for a new operating system called Tizen, which is another Linux-based open source operating system. So, this could probably one of the few netbooks to ever run this open source operating system.
One of the first netbooks to run on Meego
This netbook has some neat features for social networking, as well as quick Internet browsing, but the overall performance of the netbook and the OS is not that great as compared to other netbooks available in the market. One can get another ASUS Eee PC for approximately the same amount that comes pre-loaded with Windows. If one is looking out for a netbook for solely social networking purposes, Internet usage, as well as is willing to experience using a new OS, then this would be an option.