The Asus Eee Top 1602 is similar in form to the HP TouchSmart, being a one-box PC and screen which allows direct user control through the display.

This is a 15.6in high-gloss touch-sensitive screen which doesn't render graphics as clearly as a regular panel. But once you start using the Eee Top through its screen interface, you can almost forget the reduce clarity.

What may be harder to overlook is the absence of optical drive. Just like the mini notebooks that seem to have in part inspired the Asus Eee Top, there is no built-in capability to read CD or DVD discs.

Upon start-up, you'll find that Asus Eee Top has provided a whole-screen one-stop launcher for common applications and tasks, with its Easy Mode interface. This resembles the interface found on its Linux-powered Eee PC netbooks, with big one-click icons to represent apps and shortcuts to utilities. From the Work tab, for instance, it just takes one finger touch to launch office productivity apps like Writer and Calc, the Star Office equivalents of Word and Excel.

Once open, you can interact with documents entirely with your fingers, thanks to the default large size menu fonts. It's only when you need to type text that you may need the wired compact keyboard. There is a handwriting recognition facility included but we found it quicker to use the keyboard each time.

The Asus Eee Top's keyboard can be neatly stowed behind the screen on a cradle that also doubles as a carry handle, ideal for picking up the lightweight Eee Top for moving from room to room. Integrated Wi-Fi with draft-n spec means you won't even be tied to your router, providing it's a wireless model.

NEXT PAGE: How it works in practice, benchmark result and our expert verdict...

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