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Asus just sent me an Eee Top all-in-one computer to review over the next few days. While the Eee Top isn’t a netbook, it’s something I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while.
Like any netbook, the Eee Top is designed to be an affordable alternative to high end systems that work in a similar fashion. In fact, it looks a lot like an iMac or the HP TouchSmart series of all-in-one desktop computers. The Eee Top looks more like a monitor than a computer. It sports a 15.6 inch touchscreen display with the CPU, motherboard, hard drive, and other components tucked away behind the screen. But unlike the iMac or HP TouchSmart series, this computer sells for under $600. (In fact, Amazon is currently charging just $522 for the Eee Top).
The difference is that it uses cheaper, slower parts. There’s no Intel Core 2 Duo CPU in here. Instead you get a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU — the same processor found in so many netbooks. It offers decent performance for common tasks like web browsing or watching video, but you probably wouldn’t want to use this computer for CPU-intensive tasks like video editing or playing modern video games like Crysis.
That said, I’ve been using the Eee Top to do some light blogging work over the last few hours and I’ve found that it handles the following tasks respectably:
- Skype audio and video calls
- Compressing the short videos you can find after the break to DivX using Virtualdub
- Playing standard definition video using Windows Media Player or VLC
- Multitasking (running Google Chrome with a dozen tabs at the same time as Firefox, Skype, and Irfanview)
- Web applications including Meebo and RadioBeta
If you don’t need a powerhouse on your desk, the Eee Top could be a decent replacement for whatever desktop or laptop is currently taking up space on your desktop. It has a decent widescreen 1366 x 768 pixel display, reasonably loud built in speakers, and comes with a decent keyboard and USB optical mouse. As an added bonus you also get a touchscreen, some custom software to make the computer easier to use with a touchscreen, 6 USB ports, a multi-format flash card reader, and an integrated 802.11b/g/n WiFi adapter.
If the screen were larger, I’d be tempted to put this computer in the living room as a replacement for a more expensive home theater PC setup. But it has a few drawbacks. First, there’s no optical disc drive, so you’d need a USB drive. Second, while I haven’t asked the Eee Top to playback HD video yet, I’ve tried playing 1080p videos on other netbooks with Intel Atom processors with disappointing results. Most importantly, you’d probably want a 26 inch or larger screen on a living room computer. And while Asus, MSI, and other companies are coming out with larger Intel Atom-based all-in-one computers soon, my guess is the larger displays will drive up the price significantly. It might be cheaper to buy a 26 or 32 inch HDTV and pick up a cheaper but more powerful nettop like the upcoming Acer AspireRevo which will have an integrated NVIDIA graphics chip.
I’ll be putting the Eee Top through the paces over the next few days and I’ll have a full review with a more in-depth look at the hardware, software, and touchscreen soon. In the meantime you can check out an unboxing video and first look video I shot a few moments after the Eee Top showed up. My demo unit seems to have arrived sans stylus, but there’s clearly a spot for a stylus in the keyboard.
Hmm. The touchscreen might justify the price…but I’m not sure by how much. I just built my Girlfriend a PC for $400 with a 2.8ghz Athlon64x2, 2 gigs of ram, and a 4670 videocard with 512 megs of GDDR3.
Granted, I built it, I didn’t buy it. But I know you can go to places like geeks.com or tigerdirect and get refurbished boxes with similar power for a similar price.
But this is with her bringing her own monitor, and OS. That monitor just about sells it. Wish they’d gone dual-core though.
How’s the touchscreen? I thought that the Eee Top would come with a UI similar to the T91, so that’s disappointing.
And now that I’ve taken a few minutes to glance at the user manual, I see that Asus plans to make an optional wall mount panel available for purchase separately.
I like it, although I wish some of those USB ports on the back would be on the sides…one on the front would have been nice. Sometimes you just want ‘that’ USB device you stuck in to be “IN YOUR FACE” so you don’t forget to pull it out.
– Blue light is nice might add something if you work in a darkened space (can you turn it off?)
– What is the resolution? (I assume 1366 x 768)
– How strong is the stand…how tight in the mechanism…do you think it would slip? (Is there a way to mount the unit…could you use 3rd party mounting hardware?)
Yup, 1366 x 768. I haven’t noticed a good way to turn off the blue light
yet, but I’ll let you know.
There are two USB ports on one side of the Eee Top, and 4 more in the back.
There’s also one on the keyboard so you can plug a mouse into the keyboard
if you like.
The mount is actually pretty sturdy and surprisingly easy to reposition
without knocking the computer over. There’s also a handle above the kick
stand that I imagine you might be able to use to mount the computer. It’s
not very heavy overall.
OK, you can turn of the ambient light or adjust its brightness (there are low, medium, and high settings). But you need to use the Eee Manager software to do this. There’s no hardware button.
In other news, it looks like every time I reply to a comment via email, Disqus futzes with the formatting. Oh well. 🙂
Nice machine but for a little more you can get a nice [i know its refurbed] HP touchsmart on ecost for 699. Might as well make the small step up.
The revo as a little HTPC though, thats a different story!
The white version from amazon is $489.99 and the black version is $522.99. It actually seems very nice. Maybe this would be good for students for word processing and such. I like how they added the blue lite to the bottom it is very calming on the eyes. Overall I think it is a nice starter system. I think it will be a hit because it comes loaded with windows xp and we all know how much people like xp over vista.
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