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Eee PC With Optical Drive: Still a Netbook?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 29 comments

The original idea of the netbook, at least in modern terms, was for a light, no-frills, barebones PC that was used to access and communicate on the internet. After all, that’s why it was called a ‘net’book.

Like in many other product categories, companies are not only competing on price, but also in features. Just as how the Honda Civic grew far enough from its humble origins that it’s no longer the entry-level offering, it seems netbooks are growing closer just becoming notebooks.

According to Digitimes, Asus will next month launch the Eee PC E1004DN, which will have an optical disc drive. The E1004DN reported to sport an Intel Atom N280 CPU paired with GN40 chipset, a 120 GB hard drive, and will retail between $531 and 590 -- sitting straight inside the territory of budget notebooks.

In May Asus is expected to launch the aesthetically-oriented 1008HA, which could also encroach on full notebook ground.

There’s no arguing that today’s netbooks are more capable and feature-filled than products from just a year ago, but are netbook makers losing sight of the original philosophy behind the concept?

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    korsafist , March 27, 2009 10:53 PM
    seriously $500 for a netbook?
    i'd rather get a 13 inch notebook with a core 2 duo and 2gb of ram.
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    korsafist , March 27, 2009 10:53 PM
    seriously $500 for a netbook?
    i'd rather get a 13 inch notebook with a core 2 duo and 2gb of ram.
  • 1 Hide
    jeanluclariviere , March 28, 2009 12:03 AM
    Agreed - I have an asus eee 900HA. At 1.6ghz & 1gb of ram, it does everything i need. I dont think these netbooks need optical drivers - it just adds to the weight.

    I use a flash drive & external harddrive to transfer files back and forth, and if needded, i would just get an external burner.

    Optical drive doesntjustify the cost increase, either...
  • Display all 29 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    judeh101 , March 28, 2009 12:05 AM
    the EEE pc can now be considered as laptops.
  • 0 Hide
    jsloan , March 28, 2009 12:29 AM
    $531 what are they apple, i mean nuts, i could get a nice dell for that, not an underpowered, over priced, old hardware junk, sounds like apple...
  • 7 Hide
    Tekkamanraiden , March 28, 2009 12:29 AM
    At that point you might as well get a notebook.
  • 6 Hide
    JimmiG , March 28, 2009 12:57 AM
    No matter how many bells and whistles they put in, no device running the Atom CPU can be worth more than maybe $399 max. The CPU itself is just too slow to be a viable alternative in more expensive note/net/notbooks.
  • 3 Hide
    thejerk , March 28, 2009 1:01 AM
    Agreed. Crazy to think that price is remotely reasonable.
  • 0 Hide
    joex444 , March 28, 2009 2:28 AM
    In response to the title: false. It is now a budget notebook. Not because of the optical drive -- you could always attach a USB DVD drive to the old EEE, but the price. $531 is notebook territory; cheap, sure, but notebook nonetheless.
  • 0 Hide
    kewl munky , March 28, 2009 3:02 AM
    I honestly think that an optical drive is a must for a netbook. My aspire one doesn't have one, but I can usually use my 8GB flash drive for most of my data transfer needs, and where my flash drive can't do the job of an optical drive I have my external dvd drive.
  • -3 Hide
    waffle911 , March 28, 2009 5:32 AM
    I think the industry needs a standardized and regulated definition for "netbook", in much the same way that there are standards that dictate the classification of a car. In may ways, this is similar to what's happened to the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV-4, and the Kia Sportage. They were originally intended as economic, no-frils, compact SUVs—and now the RAV-4 (or was it the CR-V, or both?) offers third row seating. This was a class of SUV that originally competed with the Suzuki Vitara/Sidekick/Geo-Chevy Tracker and the Jeep Wrangler, mini-utes, the whole lot of them, many of them with ragtops, no less. They've lost sight of what they originally intended to create. The Honda Fit/Jazz, Honda's entry-level sub-compact, is in fact larger and more powerful than the first-generation Honda Accord, whose successor is now within a stone's throw of Large Car status, a segment housing the likes of the Dodge Charger and the ancient Ford Crown Victoria.
    People are always going to demand small and cheap, and when they get it, they want something just a little bit bigger, and just a little bit higher quality (and consequently, more expensive). That turns into a vicious cycle, the grass always being greener on the other side. They go bigger and better until they realize that it's too big and they decide to further downsize from the (now super-sized) "down-sized" option.
  • 7 Hide
    midnightgun , March 28, 2009 6:52 AM
    ^^ Conclusion, things keep getting bigger and wider cause us north americans keep getting bigger and wider.
  • 2 Hide
    rtfm , March 28, 2009 7:15 AM
    Netbooks are basically just small form factor laptops with really shitty spec components, bleh. How about making one in that form factor with some decent (cpu, gfx)power, then I would havee to listen to friends moaning when they can't play 4 year old games (!!!) on them?
  • -2 Hide
    Master Exon , March 28, 2009 11:31 AM
    I've only put a disc in my new (Christmas) desktop 2 times!
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , March 28, 2009 1:36 PM
    korsafistseriously $500 for a netbook?i'd rather get a 13 inch notebook with a core 2 duo and 2gb of ram.

    Where do you get a 13 inch notebook for that price? And dont bother mentioning the Dell Inspiron line ;-)
  • 0 Hide
    presto311 , March 28, 2009 2:02 PM
    I bought an external dvd/burner along with my 1000H Eee, and I would recommend that to anyone considering a netbook over getting one with the actual optical drive. I can install anything easily if need be.
  • 0 Hide
    daship , March 28, 2009 2:55 PM
    The only time you need a optical on a netbook is if you need to reinstall the OS. I use Dameon tools to mount images to install disks on my Asus eeepc 900HA. I agree a netbook is worthless after you break the $399 price. $500+ is absurd, looks like Acer will the top Netbook producer with their low prices.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 28, 2009 4:21 PM
    A netbook needs an optical drive to watch DVD movies without having to decrypt/rip/process/copy. Sure, there is SW available to rip DVDs - but one ventures into controversial territory when doing so: Is it legal "fair use", or illegal breaching of the DVD copyright warning screen and DMCA? (The answer probably depends on how much $ you have to hire teams of lawyers to fight MPAA, if it comes down to that.)

    And since one of the few valid uses of the small/light-for-travel netbook is to watch movies in-flight, this is a relevant issue.
  • 0 Hide
    indigoataxia , March 28, 2009 5:59 PM
    And since one of the few valid uses of the small/light-for-travel netbook is to watch movies in-flight, this is a relevant issue.

    If all you wanted to do was watch movies, spend $80 on a portable dvd player. Else, use image rips and mounts.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 28, 2009 6:42 PM
    I have the new Eee PC 1000E and it has everything but the G40. All of my friends with $500 laptops are envious, because they have Vista which takes forever to boot on a low end machine. XP or Linux is definetly the way to go. My other laptop is a Dell M1730, but it is just too big to lug around. I want the G40 because I watch .MKV files and this is just bearly shy of being able to play them, although it is great playing back DVD .ISO's using Magic Disk (free).
  • -1 Hide
    solymnar , March 28, 2009 8:58 PM
    rtfmNetbooks are basically just small form factor laptops with really shitty spec components

    Yeah...pretty much.
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