Hands-On With the Asus Eee PC 4G Windows XP Version

windowsxpeepc.jpgAsus expects its Eee PC running Microsoft Windows XP to outsell the Linux Xandros version of its hit mini-notebook. But does the system have the performance potential? Earlier this week the Windows XP version of the Eee PC 4G, which will be available to consumers in mid-April, arrived at our offices. The machine looks exactly like the original 4G; it has the same pearl-white chassis and standard ports. The internal specs are the same as well: 512MB of RAM, a 4GB solid state drive, and an Intel Mobile CPU. The only difference is when we booted up the system (in a quick 40 seconds—see our full boot video below) we were welcomed by the Windows chime and the green grass and blue sky desktop of Windows XP. Short On Storage Space For Windows lovers, or those that had loaded XP on previous versions of the Eee PC, the machine is everything you’ve been waiting for. You can run Microsoft Works, which comes preloaded, or you can buy and install Microsoft Office. We downloaded our software favorites to the desktop including Skype, Firefox, and free photo-editing software Gimp. However, because the system has only a 4GB SSD and the Windows XP software takes up 1.8GB of space, the machine is limited as far as storage space. By the time we installed a few other programs in the system, including performance-testing programs, there was only 153 MB of free space left. Asus does plan on bundling the small system with a 4GB SD Card to increase storage capacity. Same 840×480 Resolution No different on this machine is the resolution of the screen. The 800 x 480-pixel resolution is still annoying and forces lots of vertical and sideways scrolling. You can switch the size of the desktop to a virtual resolution of 800 x 600 from the system tray with a small tool that Asus provides—however, this adjustment causes all the windows to appear below the screen; moving the mouse down to the bottom of the screen reveals the rest of the screen’s visuals. The low screen resolution may be a deal breaker for some and many might want to consider holding out for the 8.9-inch version with a 1024 x 600-pixel resolution. Sweet Surfing I spent most of my time on the Windows machine in the Firefox Web browser. Oddly, the system came preinstalled with Internet Explorer 6 (rather than 7), which I have never been able to stand. I enjoyed watching short SNL clips on Hulu.com and some clips on YouTube without any hiccups. When it came to checking my e-mail and reading Web sites, I had the same exact smooth surfing experience on the XP system as I have been having on the Xandros one for months. I also had no problems chatting with friends in Meebo, though this is one of the Web applications where I wish the screen resolution was larger, as lots of sideways scrolling is required. But like many people, I spend so much time in a Web browser that in the end I didn’t even realize I was working in a Windows operating system. When it came to saving pictures off Web sites or downloading files, I did like that it was easier to find files on the system and keep things organized. When we reviewed the first iteration of the Eee PC we had three main gripes: The webcam can’t yet be used for video chats, it’s not easy to load new applications, and there is no mobile broadband support. All three of those issues were solved in the Windows version of the system. We were even able to load Verizon Wireless’ mobile broadband software and plug in a UM150 USB modem. For road warriors who were feeling limited by the Linux OS, unable to port over PowerPoint files and other tools, the Windows XP version of the Eee PC will hit the spot. Check out our videos below and stay tuned for our full review. Hands-on with the Asus Eee PC 4G Windows XP Video: [flq:46a5ca232dfc477f928fda7e59b11e31] Eee PC 4G Windows XP Boot-Up Video: [flv:/flvs/eeepc-boot.flv 320 240]

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  1. Mike Cane Says:

    Hmmmm… I like this. But I’d also want to use Avast! antivirus always running. I wonder what kind of performance hit that would mean? And also how it would affect boot-up time.

  2. WeiS Says:

    Mike Cane:
    My eee is running xp (self installed) with Avast (and whole lots of other programs) and they work very well. Avast doesn’t seem to effect the profromances.

  3. Anonymous coward Says:

    Um, isn’t Windows XP about to be discontinued in a couple of months? What is the point of starting to ship a PC with that?

  4. Mont Says:

    I have the 8gb SSD / 2gb RAM and boot time for XP is identical. The advantage of the 8gb SSD is that you can actually install Office and some other beefy apps like Adobe Photoshop. I travel heaps and this gives me ultimate balance between battery life, access on the move, but when i’m at an office i can easily plug-in to a monitor/keyboard to get ‘desktop’ like experience. On the topic of screen res, there are some ‘fixes’ around which scale/force 800×600 without scrolling which i use for some apps. Full votes to the eee, I gave up my battery guzzling Vaio for this, and I love it…

  5. Lynn Says:

    You indicated that the eee pc with windows preinstalled will be offered at best buy for $399. So far, I’ve only been able to find it on pre-order at http://www.jr.com for $499. Are you sure about the $399 price?

  6. Chad W Smith Says:

    Does the $399 price for the XP version and the upcoming 8.9 inch screen mean that the price of the LInux version will be dropping soon? I hope so. Then I would have to get one.

    Also, do you think Windows would run better if it were Windows XP FLP (For Legacy PCs)? It would seem like that would take up less space and run better on a slower system. And the first thing I would rip off of there is MS Works. Replace it with Google docs online and AbiWord offline.

  7. Chad W Smith Says:

    @Anonymous Slashdotter, I mean coward – XP is being discontinued, as in not sold on store shelves – that doesn’t mean it will somehow stop working. Nor does it mean that Microsoft will suddenly stop supporting it. They supported 98 for years after they stopped selling it – and they will likely do the same with XP.

    There are hundreds of millions of computers that are still running Windows XP – and will be doing so for many years to come. Microsoft will be supporting that OS for a long time.

    Also – there’s no guarentee that they will actually stop selling XP when they said they would. They’ve already pushed back the cutoff date at least twice now. People prefer XP over Vista – for a number of reasons that I don’t want or need to get into. It’s just a simple fact that some people prefer it, and would rather have it.

    Plus, if Microsoft doesn’t allow companies like Asus to sell Windows XP, they will miss out on this sub-$500 UMPC market, because there is no way Vista would run on this thing. Not in any kind of practical way. So they have to offer something. And since Windows XP still works, and I haven’t come across a computer program yet that is Vista only, there is a market for a device like this with Windows. And that Windows is going to be XP (or 2000 – but I think MS has already stopped selling that).

  8. Randy Says:

    Every time I hear a dolt mention Web 2.0, I can’t help but laugh.

  9. Luke A Says:

    Microsoft doesn’t have a choice but to continue selling XP for some systems, such as this one.
    Microsoft knows that Vista isn’t really a feasible option for the new upcoming lower spec machines which require a light operating system, while XP can still be used as it’s more suitable (will work better with a slower processor/less RAM).
    While officially XP might be dying, Microsoft aren’t going to cut off their own arm and scrap something that still serves a market they don’t have a ground up designed product for.

  10. Sal Pagano Says:

    Now that the eee has wifi capability, is this a good tool for audio and video, turn by turn auto navigation?
    Is a car power cord available?

  11. Lawrence Says:

    Having an external drive which is real cheap these days 4G or 8 G USB external drive will satisy the limitation of the built in storage. Looks good when will 9inch be available?

  12. anonymous Says:

    I would think Windows Vista Basic is about the same footprint as XP.

  13. Jonah Hex Says:

    Yeah “anonymous” and I would think that my Ford Mustang would get the same amount of gas mileage as my Honda Civic because they both have four tires!!!

    (Obviously you haven’t used Vista and fail to realize we’re talking about performance, not how much disk space the O/S takes up.)

    The fact that Vista is unable to run on new hardware coming out (even though we are talking about sub $500 computers) shows exactly why people like to call Microsoft O/S’s “bloatware”. I do like the fact that ASUS has appeared to answer the shortcomings of it’s early models with this new one.

  14. Richard Gagnon Says:

    I’m interested in seeing what the full review says about battery life of this new system. There were rumors about dropping power usage from 12W to 7W and possibly about eliminating the fan. I’m hoping to see five hours or more usage when not plugged in.

    Asus already has a new 6 cell with 7800mAh battery announced on their EEE site (not yet available), but no real specs about what additional battery life this would provide. The math shows that the old EEE’s, with a battery life of 2.8-3.5 hours, would be extended to about 4.2-5.2 hours. If this new EEE model uses the lower power consumption design, it could mean even longer battery life.

  15. vwra Says:

    So, if Microsoft is so anxious not to lose out on the sub-$500 market, when are going to see the “announced”/rumored discount price for a copy of XP to existing (registered) early-adopter owners of eeePCs ?

    vwra

  16. Gleth Says:

    The artical is not quite right in a couple of ways too. Skype video conferencing works under the standard Xandros linux (“can’t do video chats”), and my Huawei E220 USB mobile broadband modem works right out of the box. (“no mobile broadband support”)

    I still don’t ‘get’ the gripes about powerpoint, as the installed Open Office is able to cope with .ppt files (and over the years I’ve found OO displays word docs more consistantly than word does itself)

    The biggest thing for me, though, is that after buying, installing and trying XP on the EeePC for myself (I’m a geek who loves to play with things) I found it so crippled and lacking compared to the original ‘easy mode’ Xandros that I wiped and restored my EeePC to factory condition, which is where it stayed apart from updates and following the mplayer ‘downgrade’ tips on the http://www.eeeuser.com wiki and forums.

    Sal Pagano: the EeePC has always had WiFi. My standard EeePC is also great for watching DVDs and playing MP3s etc, there’s no change to the capability of this great little legtop just because a different OS is being installed so customers can have the choice of which one they want.

  17. georgie Says:

    hi i live in england and was wondering if the eee PC with windows is available to be ordered online if so can you tell me the website for ordering. thanks.

  18. .NET FANATIC Says:

    Actually vista can run but it requires modifications to the .iso. I know people who use it for development in Visual Studio 2008.

  19. manny Says:

    i prefer to purchase the cheaper linux 1 (over $100 less) and install XP afterwards (if i need it).

    anyway, i think i’ll stay with eeexubuntu or normal ubuntu.

    staying away from virus and spyware is my priority.

    i feel ubuntu fits me perfectly on this small umpc.

  20. Jonathan Hughes Says:

    I have one of these little Eee PC’s (Linux version). Being a developer and ex techie I saw it and simply had to have it. I am all around impressed. Once I got the camera working everything worked fine and the speed is quite amazing. Using my home media PC through the TV and having satelite TV means I cannot access the home PC conveniently when my family it watching digital TV. Having this little Eee PC means I can now browse the web, send emails and chat online while the wife watches the telly. All in all it does exactly what I want.

    I see some of the complaints on various websites, but I am not impressed or convinced by the arguments against this machine. At the price, and with avaliable USB devices to cover the shortfalls (broadband and bluetooth), I feel the complainers out there are just trying to be wiseass and too clever. You saw it in the showroom, you saw the screen size and keyboard size, then you bought it. If you wanna complain now then you have simply made a bad buying decision – don’t blame ASUS..

  21. Henry Says:

    I have a 4G EEE. I installed XP and able to use internet Video chart with YAHOO messenger. I never test with MSN messenger and skype, but i will do more testing later.

  22. Keith Lohmann Says:

    Can’t “port over” powerpoint files to Xandros? What about OpenOffice, which comes pre-installed and is free. Admittedly, it is not the latest version (which you can download) but I use OpenOffice Impress, save the files in .ppt format, and have been free from the having to buy or use MS Office for years now. Of course, others can read and use the files because they were save in ppt format. And, if I copy and install the windows fonts from an old version of Windows (which I originally purchased but no longer use), there are no problems with font conversion (because of Microsoft using propriety fonts in their slide designs — clever, eh?) either. I haven’t (and won’t) load XP on my 4G, but I imagine that the performance of the unit with XP will be significantly degraded, due to the size of Windows. That might be worth investigating.

  23. Richard Says:

    I have ad my EEEPC for 3 months now, the only hing i can not do is hook my paper scanner up to it. Came with a $49 printer 5 years ago, there have never been linux drivers for it. HP has the linux drivers for their scanners on their web-site, This will fix my one drawback.

    The one thing i still am dong is going over to friends and my fathers, to get their Windows Xp and Vista working.At leat to get it to do what it did yesturday but won’t do today.

    This Linux Just Works Why would I want to own grade to Windows!!!

    As for as Skype video goto http://www.eeeuser.com adlearn how to install the latest Skype, and by the way if you need online customer sevice from wwwasus.com theysend you to http://www.eeeuser.com!

    Open Office
    Their Maoro language is different from Micro$$oft Office.
    Does M$ Office come with a relational Database?
    Can you design Vector graphics in M$ office?

  24. Richard Says:

    I have ad my EEEPC for 3 months now, the only hing i can not do is hook my paper scanner up to it. Came with a $49 printer 5 years ago, there have never been linux drivers for it. HP has the linux drivers for their scanners on their web-site, This will fix my one drawback.

    The one thing i still am dong is going over to friends and my fathers, to get their Windows Xp and Vista working.At leat to get it to do what it did yesturday but won’t do today.

    This Linux Just Works Why would I want to own grade to Windows!!!

    As for as Skype video goto http://www.eeeuser.com adlearn how to install the latest Skype, and by the way if you need online customer sevice from http://www.asus.com they send you to http://www.eeeuser.com!

    Open Office
    Their Macro language is different from Micro$$oft Office.
    Does M$ Office come with a relational Database?
    Can you design Vector graphics in M$ office?
    I ould not know since early 80s I have been sing Star Office, and then OO. Only 1 file from some body else did not work, it had a macro.

    I find my XP machine can share files with this laptop, XP is good for something, if for storing files. Everyday it miss it less.
    On the EEE I do find the keyboard a little hard to use when I’m laying on my bed.
    ie double post.

  25. cavgirl Says:

    I have to confess I’m seriously considering buying the XP 9″ version when it comes out – purely and simply because they’re not making any difference price wise. I know that the Linux version will have a significantly larger storage capacity, but I think the 12GB cited for XP is more than enough for what I use the EEE for. This is not to knock the 4G Xandros version- I have it, love it, use it every day and wouldn’t dream of putting Windows on it…. but the larger model with better res and specs? Yes please. Partly because I’d like to buy the T-mobile PAYG dongle and I’ve already been through the wrangle trying to get network cards to work with Linux. If they work, they’re fantastic and easier than Windows… but there’s that ‘if’. I suppose I should buy the dongle anyway and see if it will co-operate with my current EEE, just out of curiosity…

  26. Linda Says:

    Hey Lynn, I’m wondering if you’re talking US or Aussie dollars – maybe the $399 is US and the $499 Australian? I just ordered the Eee with Windows & can’t wait for it to arrive! The site had free delivery too. I had to pay $579 Australian, because Asus has to pay an $80 fee to Microsoft, so that’s why it’s more than the Linux version. I’m excited!:))

  27. Braden Says:

    yeah I also had to pay some 80 dollars extra. Anyways I just ordered mine from directcanada.com and also received free shipping, Can’t wait for this thing to get here.

  28. Costas Says:

    I have a HUAWEI E220 USB Modem, which I use with my big Vista laptop for broadband internet. Can I use it with the EeePC, running Xandros? Will it be automatically installed, if I plug it in, or should i try and find any available Linux drivers? Thanks!

  29. Ciza Says:

    I just recieved my 4g (not the surf). Ran it’s linux for a few days but I’m really comfortable in XP. Used nlite and installed it. No issues whatsoever, internet works great, video playback is great, have all of my apps on an external SD card (photoshop, office). My only gripe is small keyboard takes time to get used to.

  30. Rob Says:

    I have a 4G machine running XP and all runs great. The real key for me is that I use the Application Suite from PortableApps.com. It includes portable versions of Mozilla Firefox, Sunbird and Thunderbird, ClamWin Anti-Virus, Open Office and a couple of other programs. They also have a full selection of other programs that can be run from a flash drive or SD card. It’s the perfect solution for this computer!

  31. Linda Says:

    Ok, update!

    Got my eee a few days ago, charged the battery (impatiently) and went through the windows xp setup wizard….booted up and got to the page where it says ‘to begin click on a user name’ – BUT no icons were on the screen, so I couldn’t click on anything! It was just a blank blue space, even when I scrolled up & down. My only option was to shut down. Hmmm!

    I rang Asus service number & the guy told me to press F9 as soon as it starts up..well, nothing happened with that!

    My reason for this post is just in case anyone else has this happen – DON’T press F9, do F8 instead. I did this (after reading some other posts from people elsewhere) and accessed the Windows Advanced Options Menu. From there, choose ‘Directory Services Restore Mode (Windows domain controllers only)’. Sounds scary, I know, but I got in there and the computer started up in Safe Mode. From there I was able to access ‘Control Panel’ and ‘User Accounts’ and I created a User name all over again. Success! It worked perfectly from then on.

    The funny thing is that the Asus service guy told me the wrong thing to do, and I just worked it out via ‘poke and hope’ method. Hopefully this doesn’t happen to others, but I’m so glad I didn’t have to send it back!

    I’m really impressed with the little beast now. It even detected my internet/router setup automatically & I didn’t have to enter settings or anything. I’ve used it every day since I fixed that initial problem. The little keyboard takes a tiny bit of getting used to, but not a problem at all. It can do most things my main computer does and faster too. I have OpenOffice org on it (as it is free & compatible with Microsoft Office progs), AVG Free and AVG Anti-Spyware Free.

    I love it. And it is cute.

    Hope all that info helps someone!
    Cheers.

  32. joebish Says:

    Can you boot programs on the Eee with a flash drive, SD card, or USB hard drive? Cause I have an 8GB flash drive, hard drives aren’t expensive and SD cards are getting to be 4GB for $30 or so. please answer if you know. thx!!

  33. Joanna Stern Says:

    Joebish, You defintley can boot programs from a flash drive, external hard drive or SD card. I have been doing it all week long.

  34. Matt Says:

    How do you load photoshop and office on an SD card to use it? I assume you need to use a desktop computer or external Optical drive connected to the eee. Can you explain the process?

  35. Bob Mc Says:

    I bought a 16gb SD card for my 701XP and it sees it as D drive. I install all my software to it and mostly use the 4gb SSD for XP. I also found a car cord that keeps the battery charged then shuts itself off. It was a little pricey $26.00 but it works great so I leave my 701 in my van. I use thumb drives for most all pictures plus I found a small 40gb external hard drive that works fine with the Eee 701. LOL

  36. Anonymous Says:

    how come i cant save anything to the desktop? it wont let me download the newyahoo messenger..why is that? help me

  37. Sharon Joyce Says:

    Hello all–

    Hoping someone can tell me how to make my 701XP recognise a 16GB chip as the main drive, so I can run voice recognition programs on it.

    Have tried these instructions. The first option failed, and in the second option, the drivers were unavailable.

    http://wiki.eeeuser.com/xp_sdhc_mounted

    Would be very appreciative of any advice.

  38. jason Says:

    where can i get xp download for my eee pc 4g

  39. shevki Says:

    asus eee pc4g

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