Now, let's take a look at the practical side of this contraption, ergonomics, ease of use, the works.
Keyboard and Touchpad
You're probably guessing that typing on such a compact keyboard is a bit strange and you're right. It takes a few days of getting used to and even then you should expect some typos.
The layout is straightforward, apart from the position of the number keys. As you can see they've been moved one position to the left.
In spite of its small size, the keyboard is still rather good, but don't get your expectations too high. It is a bit cramped and it simply can't be any bigger on such a small notebook. It's just something we'll have to live with, not just on the Eee, but on similar products set to appear soon. Apart from the layout and size, the keyboard feels a bit fragile, in sharp contrast to the rest of the package.
The touchpad is tiny, as well, however, it is a lot easier to get used to. Its scroll area (on the right) is a bit too sensitive, but coming to grips with it is also just a matter of time. The same can't be said for the buttons, or should we say button. Asus decided to place both buttons under a single plastic bar and this wasn't their finest hour.
It's an unnecessary complication of an otherwise simple machine and the keys themselves demand too much pressure for our liking. Note the dark, circular stains on either side of the touchpad. The lid is cushioned by four tiny bits of black rubber, and they rub off against the white plastic in no time.
Size and Weight
Its dimensions are what makes the Eee so special and suitable for everyday use, so let's take a closer look. Weighing in at a mere 920g (2 lb ½ oz), it's a true featherweight. It measures just 225 × 165 × 21~35 mm (8.9 × 6.5 × 0.9~1.4 in) and, unlike most notebooks, it really can be compared to a book as far as size goes.
Here's how it looks on top of an old 15" notebook, with a few other everyday items.
It can even fit into a large pocket, but we would advise against carrying it around like this. Remember the bargain priced notebook without an adapter I mentioned earlier?
In spite of its size, the Eee doesn't feel fragile. It doesn't bend, squeak, the lid doesn't twist and its battery fits in tightly. Its tough, matte plastic hides fingerprints and smear marks well. Due to its rough finish, we think it will stand up well against small scratches.
We believe Asus did the right thing when it comes to the choice of materials. It didn't try to make a cute, shiny toy which will scratch and wear easily. It opted for durability and robustness over looks, but the Eee still looks great and it will probably look just as good after months, if not years, of use.
In our opinion, the only major aesthetic issue is the huge black bezel around the screen. It looks slightly better on a black Eee, but it's a bit too much for the white and lively colored Eee models.
A cute toy, from any angle, wouldn't you agree ?