Inputs and Outputs
Thankfully though, the Eee PC 1000 hasn’t just had improvements and tweaks on the system specification size – the inputs and software have also had a few improvements and tweaks.
The keyboard is the best place to start, both because it’s the most obvious part of the Eee PC 1000 that has been improved since the 701 and 901 versions, and also because the original keyboard design was so infuriatingly flawed.
The original keyboard design for the Asus Eee PC 700 line did a lot of things right – it was a little squashed, but usable and once you’d spent a few thousand words getting used to it you found you could type at fairly good speeds.
The main problem was the fact that the whole board felt splooshy and rubbery, so the space bar was often unresponsive. I privately hold it responsible for every spelling mistake I’ve ever made on bit-tech
, even the ones made on a desktop machine.
By comparison though, the new Eee PC 1000 line has a keyboard that is larger and much, much more easy to use. The keys don’t wobble when you press them and are individually better sized so you don’t keep pressing two keys when you don’t mean to. The space bar too is vastly improved and has much better support beneath it so that it is constantly level and easier to hit with the side of your thumb as you type.
That said, there are a still issues with the placement of certain keys and the way that the keyboard is slightly sunken in beneath the chassis so that you can’t always hit the lower keys as easily as you want.
Most irritating of all though is the undersized Shift key on the right hand side of the keyboard. Try to hit this without looking and you’ll invariably hit the Page Up key instead and ruin your entire sentence. Given that there’s room for the keys to be shifted over, lowered or expanded a little there doesn’t really seem to be a reason for this flaw.
It’s these little issues that really hold back the Eee PC 1000 in terms of input, with the MSI Wind
or its OEM alternatives still being our notebook of choice for ease of use.
Elsewhere though, the news is a little better. The touchpad is still decently sized and placed, with responsive metal buttons that press with more certainty than a Richard Dawkins speech
There’s also the addition of a quick launch bar at the top of the interior too, hovering above the keyboard like hungry flies over a melting Marshmellow Man. The quick bar has four buttons at one end, plus a power button at the other. The space between is vast, unexplored wasteland where not even the crumbs of discarded muffins can survive for long.
The four buttons themselves probably aren’t all you’re hoping they’ll be, as for starters none of them can be used to eject the Sword of Thundera from a hidden recess in the Eee’s shell and no matter how many times you press the first button He-Man won’t appear.
Instead, the first two buttons are used for quickly turning the screen off or changing the resolution. The last two are user-configurable but by default they’ll boot up the included Skype software or tweaks the ‘Super Hybrid Engine’ option, which basically cycles the entire Eee through a few performance settings.