Thanks to my colleague Dinan, I've been able to spend the evening playing with the hottest laptop. No, not a Macbook Air; but an Asus Eee. In case anyone reading this isn't a Geek: the Eee is an ultra-lightweight Linux laptop. It weighs 920g and has 4GB Flash rather than a hard disk. Incredibly it costs 219pounds! Amazing.
Having fiddled with it, I'm pretty impressed. The keyboard is really pretty small, but as I'm not a touch typist it has proved reasonably easy to get used to. I wouldn't want to write my next POPL paper on it - but it's perfectly good for writing blog entries (this one!).
The screen is a little low resolution and small, so the surfing experience is dependent on the website being visited. For example, the bbc.co.uk website beautifully resizes itself, but others (that I shan't mention) are less pleasant.
As this laptop runs Linux, it uses Firefox. I haven't used this browser before but its pretty good. I tried youtube and my daughter tried cbeebies, so I can safely say that the flash support works!
All in, this is a really nice machine. There is an obvious trade-off: If you want small then you can either pay serious money for a full-powered machine - like the Sony TZ range, or Toshiba R500 - or you pay little and get compromises. As compromises go, this is pretty impressive. You just can't argue with 220 pounds! As a little machine for blogging, or a machine for kids to surf - this is fantastic! If I found an extra 1500 pounds down the back of the sofa, Id buy a Sony TZ31.
V2.0 of the Eee ought to have (i) a bigger screen/higher resolution, and (ii) better battery life.