HOME / PRINT
Asus Eee Box
Asus seems to have lost the plot lately, with regard to the way it's filled up its Eee PC lineup. What was once a series of small notebooks aimed at the casual user has now become an irritating segment of low-powered machines with similar specifications and differing bodies/aesthetics in a narrow price range. Not content with stuffing the Eee PC lineup with machines that are clones of each other, the company recently introduced a desktop variant aimed at the budget user. How does it fare? Let’s find out.
If there's something I like about Asus, it’s the way the company pays attention to the design and aesthetics of its products. This reflects in the design of the Eee Box too. For starters it’s really compact at 223 x 178 x 26 mm, and has a rectangular flat body that weighs barely anything. Since the device is so compact, it can be tucked away easily in a drawing room without drawing too much notice.
The finish is top-notch. It sports a nice matte finish on its top lid and underside, and a basic polished finish on its sides. The whole body is made of a sturdy plastic that offers no flex and despite looking quite fragile does not emit any audible squeaks. The Box is offered only in two colors: black and white. The normal package comes with a wireless mouse/keyboard set, but as it was absent in our test piece we're unable to comment on this.
The front of the Eee Box has a simple flip-open lid that hides the power button and various connectivity ports. The power status of the machine is indicated by a bright blue LED on the power button. Since it’s fairly small in size, Cooling is handled well by two large vents, one on top and one on the underside. It's unlikely that the Intel Atom CPU will overheat, but such attention to detail is welcome.
In terms of connectivity, the Eee Box is fairly well-equipped. It comes with a DVI-out, 4X USB ports, and a multiformat card reader. Wireless connectivity is handled by Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n.
When it comes to specifications, the Eee Box is absolutely identical with its mobile cousins. The same old trinity of the Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB RAM and 80GB HDD does duty, along with Windows XP Home. This system roundup has proven itself in the past in regard to multitasking, and hence throws up no surprises here.
We ran the usual PCMark 05 test. As expected, PCMark completely flopped in giving a full system score but managed to give individual scores. The individual scores are virtually identical with what we have observed on mainstream netbooks with a similar configuration.
Next we tested the responsiveness and multi-tasking capability of the desktop. There were no surprises here either. The Eee Box was able to multitask fairly well, such as process 480p videos without batting an eyelid, and handle mundane daily activities such as listening to music, some light surfing and the occasional syncing with iTunes, without any issues. We did try to make it play a few 720p samples, only to see the machine hang and slow to a crawl.
The Eee Box costs Rs 16,490. At this price it’s a highly unimaginative product that offers little by way of customization. It’s possible to assemble a cheap dual-core desktop in this budget, so the appeal of the Eee Box fades further. While we find it uninspiring, some just may find the Eee Box a good balance between price, basic performance, and low energy requirements. In such a case, it’s ideal as a basic torrent downloader and nothing more.
All told, we don’t recommend this product at all. Considering that you'd need to add a display panel to make this device functional, for the same price one can easily assemble a low-cost desktop – or go in for a netbook. Not only do netbooks offer identical performance, they are mobile and offer far better VFM.