ASUS Eee Note EA800 Note-Taking Tablet In-Depth Hands-On

Sync

In order to sync the Eee Note to your PC, you must attach it via USB. As soon as you plug in to a PC, you will get a menu on the tablet asking you how you would like to use your connection. Options are to install the Eee Note software (good for the first time you connect), enter sync mode, enter SD card reader mode, enter PC digitizer mode (for using your tablet as a Windows pointing device) or simply charge the device in Eee Note Mode.

Once you’ve installed the Eee Note Sync software and attached your Eee Note to your PC in sync mode, you can run the software to back up or restore either the entire contents of your Eee Note’s memory or individual files (photos, notes, memos, etc) you created. Either way the files get copied to a folder on your PC’s hard drive, which you designate.

If you choose backup, every page of every note file is saved as a separate GIF file, which in our view, is extremely lame not only because there’s no relationship between the pages, but also because GIF is a choppy image format. We’d prefer something better like PNG. As mentioned above, audio files end up in .arm format, which we were unable to play.

If you choose export, the note files end up getting stored as .nte files, another format we didn’t know what to do with. We really wish ASUS included software for viewing / playing the files it exports on your PC.

We also wish that ASUS would allow you to sync your notes over Wi-Fi or store them in the cloud, something the ASUS site claims is possible saying:

PC connectivity comes courtesy of USB, but built-in Evernote support (www.evernote.com) also makes two-way synchronisation with other computers in the cloud a cinch.

As it stands, the Wi-Fi connection only works with the rather useless web browser. The real benefit of having Internet connectivity would be to store your notes online, not view a few web pages in black and white. We assume this functionality is coming.

Battery Life

ASUS claims that the Eee Note’s 3700 mAH battery will get 10 hours of battery life with wireless on and 13.5 hours with it off–and we believe it. While we were unable to run an automated battery test on the device, it sipped power very slowly in our usage, lasting several hours even after we started at only 40 percent of charge.

The device is programmed to go to sleep after a few minutes of inactivity (you can set the timeout in the settings) and we found that even after leaving it asleep overnight, the charge level was pretty much the same. In other words, if you use the Eee Note on a regular basis, you won’t necessarily need to power it off.

Performance and Specs

ASUS hasn’t published what processor it uses, but an earlier review by bit-tech states that it uses a 624-MHz Marvell ARM11 CPU.  It has 4GB of internal memory and an microSD card reader that can handle cards up to 16GB in capacity.

Overall, the system provided decent responsiveness, but we were frustrated whenever we had to wait several seconds for an app to load. It seems like low-end Android phones open apps faster.

However, other than in the web browser (which is quite sluggish), the apps themselves worked smoothly. As we mentioned above, though, we did notice a line drawing maybe a fraction of a second after we touched the screen.

Early Verdict

We really like the design and the concept behind the Eee Note EA800 and hope ASUS will take this product seriously enough to work on its flaws. If they could make the note-taking software syncable over Wi-Fi with a serious note-taking program on the PC or Web, give it OCR, and allow it to sync with audio recordings, they’d have a killer device for students and business users. They would also have to deal with the poor recording quality, which we’re not sure software can solve. Even in a world where sexy color tablets grab all the headlines, ASUS just needs to do some tweaking to create something really special.

Pros Cons
  • Attractive, sturdy design
  • Great viewing angles
  • Awesome pen input experience
  • Long battery life
  • Simple UI


  • Weak software
  • Audio doesn’t sync w/ notes
  • Poor quality photo / audio recording
  • No wireless syncing
  • No real desktop software for viewing / editing on PC




ASUS Eee Note EA800 Hands-On

AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. Jesse B Andersen Says:

    I have looked for the EA800 on a ton of different websites. I wanted to buy this ereader this year (2010), but no luck so I’m not buying. It has a lot of potential because most ereaders out there don’t allow note taking with a stylus.

    You could use Google Books with this and it’s web browser, as long as you have a wifi connection you can have a lot of books.

  2. K. T. Bradford Says:

    We’re going to see the PocketEdge from Entourage at CES. I have high hopes that it will be good in the note taking department.

  3. Joshua Lamorie Says:

    You should get this device into the hands of someone who is a heavy Evernote user. That service provides ‘cloud-based’ OCR and synchronization of notes from multiple platforms (desktop, web, mobile), and I think would address some of the concerns you are mentioning.

    Where did you buy it in Taipei? I have contacts in the south of Taiwan that were unable to find it in Tainan, nor Pingtung (not sure if they looked in Kaoshiung).

    Thank you for the review.

  4. Amr Says:

    For the reviewers information regarding the capacitive buttons, apparently these can be disabled from a menu in the top right hand corner to prevent accidental presses while writing.

    I am attracted to the idea of a compact and lightweight dedicated note-taking device. However, as a heavy OneNote user on a tablet PC, I think I would find it very difficult to replace my tablet PC with this comparatively very limited device. The ability to search through your actual handwriting (not just with simple tags) and to highlight and move around ink, pictures and text will be sorely missed.

  5. Edward Says:

    We won an ee note at new year raffle and live in Taiwan however we are not able to get the english software.. does anyone have an idea where to get it or how to update? Thks

  6. cosastmo Says:

    Actually the sync to evernote works with wifi connection. Go to the main page of “Note” then click on the small icon on the right of each note file (an icon with a pen and a piece of paper), one of the options is download to Evernote.

  7. Kevin Seth Says:

    Hy, I have a unit too. Where did u get the US-ROM from? I cant read anything LOL.

  8. Daniel Says:

    Hi, I have just bought a brand new EA800 from a retailer in Taiwan and I am having some issues with the responsiveness of the four upper touch-sensitive buttons. While the responsiveness of the three lower ones is perfect, the one from the four upper ones is not so good… sometimes they react quite well but others they do not react so well… Have you also noticed this? Thanks

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