Monday, January 5, 2009

Asus Eee Top

NOT resting on its laurels after its wildly popular Eee PC launched in October last year, Asus has come up with the Eee Top, an all-in-one desktop PC with a touchscreen display.

The Eee Top is likely to become a second PC for the home. In fact, one of my first thoughts after unpacking the machine was that it could go into the kitchen. Its 15.6 inch screen takes up little space on the counter top, or on the wall, should you choose to mount it.

Besides offering storage for the bundled keyboard, the carrying handle also allows for the easy transportation of this 4.3 kg machine,

Like its brothers in the Eee series, the Eee Top sports an Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB of memory and onboard Intel graphics. Storage is a 160GB hard disk.

There are six USB ports and a memory card slot. There is no optical drive though, so users who want to play their CDs and DVDs will need an external USB drive.

Nevertheless, there is fast Wireless N and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, so the machine can easily play music and videos over, say, a home network without stuttering. A 1.3-megapixel webcam is included.

The star feature of this machine, however, is its touch interface. The entire display is touch-sensitive. So, you can junk the keyboard and mouse if you wish and poke your way around the programs.

While the Eee Top runs Windows XP Home, it starts up in the Easy Mode interface designed for neophytes who have not used a computer, let alone the Windows interface, before.

You can launch the most commonly used applications by simply touching the large icons organised under four tabs - Communication, Fun, Work and Tools. Apps such as Skype, Internet Explorer and Opera are also included.

Using the Eee Cam, I had a blast sending animated emoticons such as flying kisses and punches and doodling on the screen during Skype video chats.

Most of the time, the finger-pointing was via the SoftStylus application, a handwriting recognition software that features a virtual keyboard. Use it to input Web addresses and search keywords. For long reports though, you would want to fall back on the real keyboard.

Also fun is the Eee Memo, an electronic post-it pad. Scribble messages for family members using the pen stylus rather than your fingers for better legibility.


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