Computex Taipei: Fear, loathing and the mini-laptop war

Ultraportables battle it out at Computex

Fear: Being woken by an earthquake my first night in Taipei. Loathing: New ASUS Eee PCs face a battle royale for low-cost mini-notebook dominance, as does the new Intel Atom chip that powers them.


I spent some time with the just-launched Eee PC 901, 1000 and 1000H on the show floor and at their launch I kind of want one (I'm already having visions of hooking one up to a solar-charging backpack when I go hiking, but that could just be the lack of sleep). The new Eee PCs all boast a power efficient Atom processor, integrated 1.3Mp Webcam, Bluetooth, 802.11n Wi-Fi (a WiMax version is also planned) and six-cell batteries providing up to about 7 hours of battery life.


Solid state hard drives (SSDs) are also an option for those seeking quicker boot-times, maximum battery life and improved shock resistance. (That'd be why ASUS bizarrely strapped a GPS-less Eee PC to a bicycle for models to pose with.) A couple of clever extras: an included 20GB online storage service allows for file encryption, 5GB of downloads per day, and works with both the Windows and Linux flavors. ASUS also intends to bundle a Wii-like Eee Stick wireless gaming controller with the Eee PCs and its desktop Eee Box B202 that's set to hit the US in July starting at $US269.


ASUS hasn't committed to a US launch date for the new Eee PCs, but did say the mini-laptops would be available throughout much of Asia by the end of the month. The 901 has already gone sale here in Taiwan for $ NT16,988 (roughly $US560). The Eee PC 1000H will be available here on June 13 for about $US 630, followed shortly after by the 1000 at around $US660.

ASUS expects Eee PC sales to double to 10 million units next year, but boy has it got some stiff competition ahead. Major competitors include HP's 2133 Mini-Note (VIA C7-M chip) in addition to the just launched Acer One and MSI Wind (pictured below); both Atom-based mini-laptops start at $US399. Not to forget Dell's elusive "Mini Inspiron" or the vast range of yet-to-be-announced mini-laptops that will use competing chip platforms from Nvidia, VIA, Qualcomm, Arm and Texas Instruments. A lot of positioning right now, but this Reservoir Dogs-style stand-off is going to break out into an all-out war anytime now.


Hopefully the competition will be a good thing because I'm definitely going to get a mini-laptop. Here's the new Eee PC breakdown, what would you do?


Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Danny Allen

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?