ASUS Eee Box B202
A small PC for basic tasks
- Very small, quiet, won't consume too much power
- No optical drive, problematic wireless networking drivers under Windows XP
Its low power consumption, Gigabit Ethernet and small footprint mean its best use is probably as a PC for an Internet cafe. Home users might also want to consider it as a second PC for basic tasks, but office users might want to shy away from it due to its lack of an optical drive.
Price$ 429.00 (AUD)
One thing's for sure: the ASUS Eee Box, like the Eee PC, is tiny and inexpensive. But while we like the idea of a slim PC for the home or the office, we wish that the Box was a better product straight out of the box.
ASUS has attempted to make the Box the smallest PC in the world (it's 22x18x3cm and weights about 1.25kg), and is aiming it at users in a few different markets — from point-of-sale scenarios, to research points in libraries, to small office users, to home users and kids. There's really no focus to this product. Its looks make it an exciting prospect for a media centre PC, but it lacks the functions of one. For an office PC we think it could also use a slot-loading optical drive.
To keep the unit under the magical $430 price point, and to be able to boast about the small footprint and weight of the unit, an optical drive has been sacrificed. Instead you get four USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, audio and DVI ports, and an SD memory card slot. On the inside, the unit relies on a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM, Intel 945G graphics and an 80GB hard drive. You also get an 802.11n wireless card built-in. So as you can see, it's very similar in functionality to the Eee PC 901, except you don't get the benefit of a screen and input devices, nor a solid-state drive or a battery.
Its configuration allows it to handle most office applications easily, and it will even supply enough grunt for some basic photo editing to be undertaken; however, it doesn't have enough power to be effectively used for encoding files such as MP3s. That shouldn't be seen as a negative though — it's simply not designed for that sort of work. What the Box is good for is word processing, Web browsing, viewing photos, and listening to music and watching videos. It handles all of these tasks well; when it works, that is.
We had all sorts of issues trying to get its Ralink 802.11n wireless adapter to work under Windows XP in 802.11n mode with our Linksys WAG160N wireless router. We chalk this up to being a Windows driver issue — when using the unit's Splashtop interface the wireless adapter worked like a dream and we were able to stream video and surf the Web with no problems.
Splashtop is available in some of ASUS' other products, such as the P5Q Deluxe motherboard. It's an embedded, Linux-based operating system that can be loaded in a few seconds. We configured the Ralink wireless card easily under Splashtop; its driver recognised WPA and WPA2 encryption methods and was able to connect to router without any problems. Splashtop has a Web browser, Skype and instant messaging functionality, and you can also use it to browse photos. It's a nifty feature for when you just want to browse the Web and can't be bothered loading Windows. Essentially, the inclusion of Splashtop makes this a dual-boot device — and you could even use it without a hard drive!
The Box isn't ideal as a media centre, because it only has a DVI output. If you want to connect it to a TV, you'll have to use a DVI-HDMI or DVI-Component adapter, depending on what type of connection your TV has. It also doesn't have an integrated infrared receiver, so you'll have to use up one of the USB ports for this function.
With its supplied stand, we think the Box definitely looks good enough to reside in a lounge room. If its wireless card didn't give us any problems under Windows, it would make a fine streaming device for MP3s and compressed video files. The 80GB hard drive is also large enough to store a decent library of files so you don't even have to use the wireless network if you don't want to, but it is probably more convenient to access files off a server.
While it's running, the Box makes only a slight whirring sound, which is its cooling fan, and it doesn't consume too much electricity. We obtained a reading of around 20 Watts while the unit was being used to surf the Web; while switched off, but still connected to the outlet, it consumed 1.5W. It ships with a tiny external power adapter and a collection of international outlet cords, should you ever decide to take the unit with you while travelling. Of course, you'd also have to take a monitor!
The Eee Box ships with a stand as well as a VESA-standard mounting bracket, so it can either stand up straight, or hang on a wall or the side of a desk. There's also a Kensington lock facility present, so that the unit can be tied down.
Overall, the Eee Box's low power consumption, Gigabit Ethernet and small footprint mean that its best use is probably as a PC for an Internet cafe. It could easily be hidden out of the way behind the monitor. It might be useful as a family's second PC for basic tasks, but office users might want to shy away from it due to its lack of an optical drive; after all, even we still get press releases sent to us on CDs!
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- How to fix a limited connectivity problem on a Windows 7 PC
- Intel's silence on Optane SSDs raises questions about launch and focus
- Microsoft Surface Studio teardown reveals Intel and ARM chips inside
- You wear Zotac's new gaming PC on your back
- This may be the most expensive 'free' computer you've ever seen
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- TPSenior PMO AnalystNSW
- TPOrganisational Change Manager | CommunitiesQLD
- FTSalesforce Technical Business AnalystQLD
- CCNetwork Security Specialist - Palo Alto Firewall ExpertVIC
- FTChief Architect - Public SectorACT
- CCTester (6 month contract) FinanceNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantACT
- TPTechnical Solutions Architect-Dynamics CRMVIC
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantVIC
- CCWeb Architect - Ruby, Python, Java, Open sourceNSW
- CCSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- FTLife/400 Testers - Permanent - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTTechnical Account ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Drupal DeveloperNSW
- CCChange ManagerQLD
- CCProject/ Operational CoordinatorNSW
- FTFull Stack Web Developer - UI/UX - .NET or JAVANSW
- CCPeoplesoft SpecialistACT
- FTNetwork EngineerNSW
- FTTSM SpecialistNSW
- CCProcurement AnalystQLD
- FTMS Exchange System Engineer l PowerShell l Message LabsNSW
- CCFIS Connex Developer (Brisbane Based)Other
- FTNetIQ Development & SupportNSW