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By Olly Fallon

I love gadgets. I am addicted to them and if I see something I like then I feel a massive urge to immediately go and buy it.

Looking in a recent PC magazine I came across the EeePC by Asus - looking at the pictures I saw something that I had longed for, for some time. A small portable PC, a cheap price tag, seemingly specifically geared up for Internet on the move.

The EeePC is pronounced e-pc - it is meant to stand for three easy points - easy to learn, easy to work and easy to play. I think the original idea was to make something affordable to the many including students and families.

What attracted me to the device was it's apparent portability. Measuring 225 x 165 x 21 mm this is tiny in comparison to any other laptop. It has a solid state hard drive so pretty rugged in the fact you can knock it and bang it about without damage occurring. With three hours of battery life and a mobile phone sized charger makes it all pretty portable.

Of course as with any relatively new gadget the demand is great and getting hold of one was pretty tough. They come in different colours. My preference was the black one and I guess this was the same for most people as it was completely out of stock. In the end I settled for the blue.

After pressing the power button the wait is minimal. I would say about 20 - 30 seconds. It's strange as the machine is silent when booting. You kind of expect to hear the hard disks spin and the fan going. Peering into the 7 inch screen is surprisingly easy although I guess it could get annoying depending on what you are trying to achieve. However, so far, for just MSN, email and web browsing it is absolutely fine.

More surprisingly is the keyboard. It is obviously relatively small but it is quite easy to type on. I think after a small amount of adjusting typing should be relatively easy. Ok you would not want to type a full novel on it but for emails, blogging short articles etc - absolutely fine.

Even though it is hard to think of this little gadget like this, this machine is a fully functional PC. This means you can pretty much do anything on it that you could a normal PC. It comes with a Linux based system on it. This is open source and subsequently, with a couple of minor modification, there are literally thousands of free applications that can be run on it. The main screen is easy to navigate round giving you obvious icons such as 'Internet' or 'email' or 'messenger' so you really do not have to be a techie to work your way around. Having said that, if you wanted to, the machine is powerful enough to run XP on it should you require.

With wi-fi built in, connecting to the Internet is easy. A webcam, microphone and speakers allow for easy communication. You also have USB ports as well as a flash memory slot allowing for an addition 32gb of storage on top of the 4gb included within the machine. For me, this means I can take this machine and take it anywhere and where there is not a wireless network to connect to, I can connect via 3G from my data card. This means that I can be in the Internet anywhere without taking, what I now consider, a bulky item such as a laptop. This will even fit in the glove box of your car or in a handbag!

Whilst opening the EeePC will void your warranty - this system is upgradable. There are countless modifications or upgrades that can be done to make your Eeepc unique and super quick. As the software is open source, it can be modified to do pretty much anything you require.

I think this machine is going to be a huge success and pave the way for truly mobile computing. I have just paid £250 ($500 approx) for the 4GB model. There was a 2GB model for £200 and I have heard rumours that Asus have managed to relocate the speakers allowing for a greater screen size on a soon to be released model.

Olly is the webmaster for JBO Solutions - bringing you PC Parts at great prices. Full range of Computer Components including TFT Monitors

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