I stopped by J&R Electronics this evening and got a good look at a couple of Eee PC 2G Surf models. They have three on display, one with a white lid, one with pink, and another with green. I didn't have my 4G model handy, but fortunately there was a black 4G demo unit handy, so I was able to compare the different models side by side.

First up, the 2G Surf lacks a webcam, as we knew it would. But surprisingly, it still seems to have a spot in the front panel for one. When you look at the screen from the front, it looks exactly like a 4G unit with speakers on either side of the display, and a little grated area for a webcam at the top. The only difference is that you don't see a camera lens.

When you flip the units over, you'll notice the other main hardware difference: There is no RAM access panel. If you want to upgrade the RAM, you'll have to disassemble the case. The plastic case also has a different feel to it. While my 4G unit has a smooth polished plastic feel, the 2G units (and the black 4G at the store) had a rough plastic finish. It probably makes it easier to grip the Eee PC and make sure the tiny computer doesn't fall off your lap, but I didn't really like it.

As for the software, I'm sure this isn't a comprehensive list, but I did get a sense of what Asus removed in order to fit the OS and applications into 2GB while leaving users with a little bit of room to play with.

The Eee PC 2G Surf has:

  • 1876MB of storage
  • 1466MB are used by the system
  • On the in-store units 31MB of the user storage as already used
  • That left just 379MB free space for installing applications or storing data. That's 20% of the total disk space.
I went through the tabs in Easy Mode and found the following applications that are available on the 4G are missing from the 2G Surf:
  • eBook (Internet tab)
  • World Clock (Internet tab)
  • Mail (Work tab)
  • Notes (Work tab)
  • PIM (Work/Accessories)
  • Science (Learn tab)
  • Language (Learn tab)
  • Crack Attack (Play/Games)
  • Sodoku (Play/Games)
  • LTris (Play/Games)
  • Voice Command (Settings)
Overall, I'd say they made the right choices. If I didn't value the quick-restore feature that comes with the Eee PC, I'd think about deleting the UnionFS file system and removing most of those applications from my 4G to save a few MB of space.

2 comments:

Mike Reynolds said...

Hi Brad, found your site via:
http://asuseeehacks.blogspot.com/2007/12/asus-eee-pc-2g-surf-missing-some-apps.html

I tend to think that as long as the Eee PC has Firefox, then it will be ok.

Having offline Open Office helps, too. Can't wait until Google Docs introduces offline via Google Gears.

Brad Linder said...

Yeah, odds are you could sell a portable Firefox machine with bookmarks to Google Docs/Zoho/Picnik/Gmail/Flickr/YouTube and a few other web based services, and people would hardly notice the lack of storage.

But I did overhear customers talking about the Eee PC at the shop. They stopped and stared because of the tiny size and low price, but most were turned off by the easy mode interface and what looks like the specs of a laptop from 2002.

Still, if I were a retailer, I'd go ahead and load the advanced desktop on a few units just to show that you can get a more Windows-like experience if you want.

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