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ASUS Eee PC S101 (XP)


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Clad in brushed metal and adorned with Swarovski crystals in its hinges, the ASUS Eee PC S101 is the best-looking mini-notebook on the market and, at less than one inch thick, one of the thinnest, too. But despite its fashion-forward design, the $699 Eee PC S101 shares almost all the same internal components of its cheaper predecessor, the $479 Eee PC 1000H, including a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM. While we were impressed with its thin stature, LED-backlit display, and multi-touch trackpad, we’re not sure if those features merit a $220 premium, especially since you can’t outfit this netbook with a six-cell battery and it offers less storage.

The Mercedes-Benz of Mini-Notebooks

Measuring 10.3 x 7.0 x 0.7 inches and weighing 2.4 pounds, the S101 is the lightest and thinnest netbook to grace our testing lab. When placed next to the Eee PC 1000H, the S101 is noticeably thinner (the 1000H is 0.8 inches thicker) and lighter (the 1000H is 0.8 pounds heavier). When stacked up with the MSI Wind, HP 2133 Mini-Note, and Acer Aspire one, the Eee PC S101 was hands-down the the most svelte. After we slid the S101 into our purse we almost forgot it was there as we walked around New York City; with the AC adapter it has a travel weight of a mere 3 pounds.

But slim isn’t the only design aspect in which the S101 hits home. The glossy copper brown (also available in Graphite) lid is accented with a new Eee logo in flowing cursive. The lid picked up fingerprints easily, but the included cloth helped keep the case glistening. And with the chrome trim and Swarovski crystals in the groove of the hinge, this high-fashion netbook is bound to turn heads.


Spacious Keyboard, Improved Trackpad

The premium design on the S101 continues under the hood to the brown, brushed-metal palm rest and a silver power button that looks like a cuff link. Even the keyboard has a subtle speckled treatment. The layout is spacious and comfortable for long typing stints; however, the Shift key is awkwardly placed to the right of the Up arrow key, which makes capitalizing many words more difficult than it should be.


The touchpad has been remolded for the S101; it’s coated in a brushed metal, which gives it a smooth yet textured feel. The dedicated left and right buttons from the 1000H have been replaced with a single bar that’s more comfortable and easy to press.

eeepc_s101_hThe touchpad also supports the latest multi-touch controls and drivers from ElanTech. It supports the typical pinch-and-zoom functions in pictures and Web pages, but it can also recognize other gestures, including two-finger scrolling and three-finger swipes, which can be programmed to launch specific applications. You can also magnify certain parts of the screen by holding a finger on one part of the pad and double-tapping another; this creates a small magnifying glass that you can pan around the screen.

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