Well, I finally got a netbook computer, after months of shopping and research. The Asus Eee 1000HE seemed like the best choice, with its 10 inch screen, latest Intel Atom CPU, Bluetooth capability, 9.5-hour rated battery, and generous ports (although it does not come with an optical drive). There is also an external monitor port, which is nice, a built-in microphone and webcam, 10 Gb of free online storage, and Skype software. So far, I am very pleased with my choice; in fact, I am using it to write this post.
The keyboard is fairly comfortable at 92% of a standard keyboard size, although I do not think I could recommend typing an appellate brief on it. The SD Card port allows me to upload photos from my camera for viewing and storage, while the headset port allows me to use it to listen to my music. I have yet to try out the Bluetooth capability with my cell phone (post to follow), but that would be great for backing up my phone data, including the pictures I take with it. The battery is holding up well and so far holding up its promise on longevity, but only time will tell.
The point here is that, although it is not a replacement for your main machine, it is a great, all-purpose workhorse for many tasks on the road, including:
- More effective out-of-office web browsing than a smart phone (although naturally not as portable);
- Access to music and pictures;
- PowerPoint presentations off-site;
- Access to files from anywhere when they are on Asus’ online storage server;
- More effective document editing than on a handheld device (although nothing that long term or involved); and
- Video conference calls using Skype for VoIP.
The only criticism I have so far is that it did not come with a trial version of antivirus software to keep me safe until I can download and install something else. Also, I was hoping to be able to use a USB external CD-ROM drive I have for system recovery, but the rescue disk that came with the machine was a DVD. Oh well. I can still use it to install software from CDs.
The bottom line is that a mobile lawyer can certainly use this machine to be more effective while out of the office. It does not replace a full-blown laptop, but it does act as a smartphone on steroids. Asus is a good company that makes solid products, which are certainly worth a look.