It may be conspicuously bigger than the Eee PC that kicked off the craze for cheap mini laptops, but the Eee PC 1000 is still an ultraportable by most reckoning.

Increasing the size from the original Asus Eee PC 901's 225mm width to 265mm means we now get an even bigger screen and more naturally sized keyboard.

In every important detail the Asus Eee PC 1000 is the same as the 901, just scaled up by a few percent. So at the heart is the same Intel Atom processor that promises reasonable performance with low energy requirements; ethernet, wireless draft-n and bluetooth networking; built-in webcam in the lid; and a trackpad that kind-of does multi-touch control à la Apple.

The other headline difference – besides the price difference of £40 over the 901 – is the Asus Eee PC 1000's 40B of onboard storage, split over two sections of solid-state devices (SSD). The Linux Xandros operating system takes about half of one formatted space of 7.7GB, leaving 28.8GB free on the main SSD.

Since the keyboard and trackpad are the principle points of tactile contact in normal use, it pays to get them right to make the user experience at the very least tolerable. We found the trackpad on the earlier Eee PCs one of their weaker points, and while the 901 was perhaps a little less twitchy than the 900, the Asus Eee PC 1000 seems to use the same version as the 901. The keyboard is a different matter.

Where the 901 keyboard was undersized but firm, the Asus Eee PC 1000's keyboard is usefully larger but annoyingly bendy.

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Another important difference, that we encountered anyway, was the unacountable reluctance for the 901 to join our office wireless networks. A second review sample showed the same problem. Thankfully, when we opened the lid on the Asus Eee PC 1000 and typed in the network password, it connected first time.

There are still some niggles with the Linux OS, however. For example, despite what the Settings software tells you, there is no way to stop the Asus Eee PC 1000's screen from switching off after a few minutes inactivity.

The latest batch of Eee PCs sent out for review in the UK are fitted with munificent battery packs. With the 901 we recorded a battery life of around five and a half hours. The same 6600mAh battery was packed with the Asus Eee PC 1000, where we got just over five productive hours use before a recharge.

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Asus Eee PC 1000: Specs

  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • Linux Xandros OS
  • 1GB RAM
  • 40GB SSD
  • 10.1in (1024x600) display
  • 3 x USB
  • VGA
  • ethernet
  • 1 x card reader
  • mic in/headphones out
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • 1.33kg
  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • Linux Xandros OS
  • 1GB RAM
  • 40GB SSD
  • 10.1in (1024x600) display
  • 3 x USB
  • VGA
  • ethernet
  • 1 x card reader
  • mic in/headphones out
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • 1.33kg

OUR VERDICT

As the market crowds, we're getting increasingly spoilt for choice by mini laptops. With its higher price point of £369, the Asus Eee PC 1000 is in danger of pricing itself out of the low-cost market, even if it does boast the biggest slab of SSD storage this side of Apple's MacBook Air.

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