For the most part, the Eee PC 1000 hasn’t focused so much on changing the software and operating system in the Eee PC as much as it has on improving the existing software – which actually seems to be something of a theme.
Rather than drastically overhauling the overall design and approach to the Eee, Asus has decided to incrementally improve on the original design. The good news is that means there’s plenty of options and models to choose from. The bad news is that some of the flaws are still getting left in.
There are two choices for the operating system on the Eee 1000 – either Windows XP Home or the free Xandros distro of Linux. Linux can be a scary world to newcomers, but rest assured that it’s incredibly easy to use and has a straightforward tab-based menu system to use.
Best of all, even if you do start tinkering with the hidden control terminal and fiddle the Eee PC to the point of destruction then the Eee PC 1000 retains the ability to completely wipe the drives and restore to an unmarred factory back-up if you just hold down F9 as you boot it up. It’s a function I’ve had to use many times.
The look of the Xandros distro is basically the same as it has always been and the Eee 1000 hasn’t changed anything here other than adding in a few new apps and games. If you’re dead set on getting an Eee PC or upgrading from an older Eee PC model then that’s a good thing, but personally we prefer the customisable interface of something like the Acer Aspire One
That said, there is a substantial amount of new stuff and software included in the Eee PC 1000 and Asus has switched around a bunch of stuff that it arguably didn’t need too.
Take Open Office for example, which was the word processing and office suite used for the Asus Eee PC 701 and 901. Open Office has been rebranded as Sun Microsystems’ Star Office, which takes its place.
Elsewhere, the choice of software has been more dramatically expanded. The games tab is the most fun example to look at with a whole bunch of new games being added in such as the air hockey clone of Tux Puck
, plus Mahjong
and a low-tech but still impressive little RTS game. It ain’t Starcraft
, but it’ll do to while away the odd bus journeys.
Besides, if you’re into the really into your Linux gaming then there’s plenty of decent games out there which are ideally suited to the Eee PC and its smaller than average screen. We recommend the Java-based adaptation of the Fabled Lands RPG books
, or the thoroughly addictive and impressively featured FreeCiv
remake. Both are great fun to play on the Eee PC, offer plenty of longevity and are absolutely free.
There’s better and more important updates too – and speaking of which, the system update tool has been mercifully redesigned to be easier to use. There are direct links to Google Maps on the Internet tab, the facility to wirelessly connect direct to other PCs, plus the usual assortment of open-source PDF readers and address book managers.
Interestingly, the focus for the Eee PC 1000 seems to have shifted somewhat to be more of a media machine. There’s now a DVD player installed as standard, though the Eee PC 1000 itself doesn’t have any optical drives. There’s also Picasa, plus the standard video, photo and music managers left over from previous Eee SKUs.
The addition of a DVD player is definitely weird, though we suppose useful. The Eee PC has a plenty of USB ports, plus WiFi and Bluetooth and a VGA output, so connecting it up to a external drive could feasibly be helpful in some situations though surely just buying a DVD player for your TV would make more sense?