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ASUS Eee PC 1000HE Netbook - A Home and Office Powerhouse?
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The ASUS Eee PC 1000HE’s battery life is nothing short of spectacular. It also provides quite acceptable performance for most business computing tasks. I wouldn’t hand it to a heavy duty spreadsheet or database user, but for the average office worker who needs a mobile computer, the 1000HE would be a fine choice. Add a USB keyboard, a mouse and a low cost monitor, and you’ve got a pretty good desktop alternative for that average office worker. And, of course, you’ll need XP Pro for office networking.

For the record, that white 1000HE to the left isn't available in the USA. There are two color choices, black and blue. Hey, it's ASUS's choice, not mine.

But, how about a standard notebook as an alternative to a netbook? Toshiba’s L305-S5891 notebook is a pretty good example. At this writing, it is selling for $580 on Toshiba's website. It comes with a 2.0GHz processor, 2GB of PC6400 memory, a 160GB 5400RPM SATA-II hard disk drive, 15.4 inch display with a resolution of 1280x800, and Windows Vista Home Premium. The L305-S5891 weighs about 5.5 pounds, compared to the 1000HE’s 3.25 pounds. It’s the functional equivalent of my two year old $1600 Toshiba M200-ST2002 notebook with a slight processor upgrade and an upgrade from SATA-I to SATA-II. As with the 1000HE, for business networking use, you’ll need to upgrade the operating system to a business-friendly one. The Toshiba comes with MS Works 9.0, so, as with a netbook, you can use Works, upgrade to Office 2007, or go for a version of OpenOffice.

But, what if your goal is small size and weight in a more standard notebook? Well, that's where netbooks shine. Ultraportables are not only expensive, as much as 4 or 5 times the cost of the 1000HE, but they also tend to be smaller than the 1000HE.That means you're going to be working with a cramped keyboard and touchpad. In the past, ultraportables were only for top execs. Today, they're sort of the equivalent of a failing bank or auto maker buying a new corporate jet. Listen up, corporate execs, want to appear fiscally responsible. Take a 1000HE to those Congressional hearings.

One final point, no netbook manufacturer is offering business level warrantys in the two to three year range. Repairs and parts for the current crop of netbooks are covered for a one year period, 6 months for batteries. That's what ASUS offers on the 1000HE. If you're used to having a stable of exactly the same computers for a couple to three years, don't count on it with netbooks. The manufacturer's right in the warranty to replace the computer with a newer model rather than repair it, if it fails during the warranty period, is far more likely to to be invoked with netbooks. Then again, at the rate netbooks are being significantly upgraded, the possibility of swapping a last generation netbook for a newer one is at least somewhat attractive and could be worth making new images for mass cloning of under warranty replacements. Oh yes, that Toshiba L305-S5891 doesn't come with a business level warranty either.

In the end, the choice between a netbook like the Eee 1000HE and a standard notebook like the Toshiba L305-S5891 boils down to cost, weight and needed functionality. If netbook functionality is enough, then, today, a netbook will set you back about 65% less than a standard notebook like the Toshiba. The $205 price difference between the two computers may not seem like much when you’re buying only one computer, but if you need 25, 50 or 100, that difference becomes significant, especially in today’s economy.

The ASUS Eee PC 1000HE is not yet widely available. However, you can find it here.

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