While plenty of web sites have put the HP Mini-Note, Asus Eee PC, and other low-cost ultraportables through the paces with benchmarks, comparisons of video performance, and startup times, the folks at Laptop Magazine have been asking another crucial question: Which ultraportable has the best keyboard? Laptop happens to have access to an Eee PC, Mini-Note, and a CTL 2Go PC, which is the first Intel Classmate 2 PC expected to hit the market.
I decided to run my own little test, so I visited the Ten Thumbs web page to use the same typing test used in the Laptop Magazine test. Oddly, I did better on my Eee PC than I did on my full sized laptop. In both cases, I had a 1% error rate, but on my larger laptop I scored 77 words per minute, while I got 83 words per minute on the Eee PC. I’m not going to pretend that this means I can consistently type faster on the Eee PC. After a while, I tend to find its little keyboard cramped and cumbersome. But I do think that for people who don’t have excessively large hands, the Eee PC keyboard is quite useable, and perhaps even preferable in some circumstances, since you don’t need to move your fingers as far to reach keys as you do on a full sized laptop.
Oh, and oddly enough, I clocked 72 words per minute and a 2% error rate on the Mini-Note. The keyboard feels much more comfortable to use than the Eee PC keyboard, but I think the fact that it’s hard to find a good place to rest your palms makes it a bit more awkward. Plus I had just performed two other typing tests by the time I got to the Mini-Note. My fingers might have been a bit tired. I’d be curious to see the results of a test that takes longer than a minute, but I don’t think I have the energy to conduct 3 typing tests that run 5 minutes or longer each.