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Reviewing the Asus Eee PC 4G - page 2

Giddy for the Eee

  • November 26, 2007
  • By Eric Grevstad

Asus provides drivers for users who want to install Win XP and will offer a higher-priced Eee with Windows -- surely not the hardware-hungry Vista, given the 4G's humble Celeron processor and 512MB of RAM -- next month. But many users will neither notice nor care that the Eee uses a customized version of Xandros Linux. Its friendly graphical interface is that good.

The OS appears as a series of tabs -- Internet, Work, Learn, Play, Settings, and Favorites -- offering large, one-click icons to launch programs such as the Mozilla Firefox browser and Thunderbird e-mail client; Skype for Internet voice calls; the Pidgin instant messenger; Adobe Reader 7.08 for viewing PDF files; a multimedia player; Xandros Anti-Virus; links to Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and AOL webmail; an e-book reader; and a handful of educational programs and games such as Solitaire, Sudoku, and the snappy Penguin Racer.

The Eee can play YouTube videos and MP3, WMA, WMV, WAV, and MPEG files out of the box. A photo manager and video manager help organize snapshots and home movies, while a music manager makes quick work of creating playlists. There's a generic webcam above the screen for video phone calls.

Word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tasks are handled by the open-source OpenOffice.org 2.0 suite, which offers seamless compatibility with some 90 percent of Microsoft Office documents (the exceptions are files with ultra-complex formatting or macros or the non-backward-compatible Office 2007 format). There's a link to Google Docs if you prefer productivity applications inside your browser.

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