jamie goode's wine blog: MacBook Air or EeePC?

Monday, February 25, 2008

MacBook Air or EeePC?

The new MacBook Air is a beautiful-looking piece of kit. I've yet to see one in the flesh, but from looking at the various online reviews and the promotional video, it is enough to induce techno-lust in even the most hardened PC advocate. (See another review here.)

It's designed for those who want something smaller and lighter than a conventional laptop for working on the go. So how does it compare with the EeePC, which is my current preferred solution for ultra-mobile computing? I guess they aren't designed to be competitors - but they do share a common role, as a secondary machine where portability is key.

The MacBook Air weighs in at just under 1.4 kilos, as opposed to the eeePCs 0.9 kilos.
The Air has a 13 inch screen; eeePC gives you just 7 inches, but this does make the eeePC smaller.
The Air looks very sexy; so does the eeePC, in its own sort of way. However, the Air will get you more of those jealous glances.
The Air is less robust than the eeePC because the eeePC doesn't have a hard disk.
The Air has a bigger keyboard and is therefore less fiddly than the eeePC.
The Air runs the Mac operating system, if you like that kind of thing; eeePC runs a version of Linux and all the software is open source.
The Air has one USB port; the eeePC has three.

But the clincher, in my view is this:
The Air is 1200; the eeePC is 200.



At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Er, I think you should stick to the wine writing....

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

Interesting! I think your report does show some bias, Jamie (at least that's the way it reads to me).

I don't think the Mac Book air is necessarily a secondary machine. It could easily be one's main machine. Thus a more meaningful comparison would be with a heavy PC laptop/desktop + the Asus eee (in which case the price comparison isn't so extreme).

You slightly suggest that open source software is a good thing that can only be run on the Asus. Neither of these is true in my opinion! Certainly things like NeoOffice (the Mac port of OpenOffice) runs very nicely on a Mac.

The screen/keyboard of the Asus are somewhat tiny compared to the Mac, but clearly the Asus is more pocketable.

There is a flash-based alternative HDD for the Mac, but it costs a fortune.

All in all, I suspect that there won't be many people making an agonising choice between the two.

At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Dave Worthington said...

The big apeal for the Air is the look. Its perfect for top end Sales people, Execs etc who want/need to show off in front of the client (or their mates down the pub).

In the flesh the Air seems quite wide and not as handy for plane travel as I'd orginally thought, as you have to lug around all the extras.



At 6:55 AM, Blogger Robert Joseph said...

If you go looking online and google eee asus and xp or osx, (http://uneasysilence.com/archive/2007/11/12654/) you'll find instructions on how to run an eee as a Mac or as an XP notebook. It all looks pretty geeky to me but might be the answer for a lot of people.

At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Stuart Peskett said...

What I will never understand is why when it comes to computers, people always feel the need to place themselves in a particular camp, and try to rubbish the competition all the time!

Personally, I prefer Macs, because they're simple to use, but I would never buy the MacBook Air, because it seems daft to market something because of its slimness, then you find out you need to buy a bulky external hard drive etc etc

I agree, Alex. Jamie's post does appear to wish to convert people to his little-known laptop!

At 8:12 PM, Blogger zooplah said...

Is it really little-known? It seems to be known a lot in Linux-land. I've considered buying one, but the small keyboard and small disk space make me think I'm not.

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Stuart Peskett said...

I didn't mean to suggest that it was obscure; I'm sure it is well known among people who know a fair bit about computers.

Just that most people in the street probably won't have heard of it.

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Ben said...

The Air only represents good value to those who can easily afford it, in particular the $4000 solid state hard drive version. Two flaws are:
- 1 USB drive, if this breaks you are in trouble (most laptops have 4, often one will stop working over the years).
- You can't remove the battery, which always deteriorate over time. For other laptops you can buy spare batteries from Asia on eBay.

I know less about the EeePC, however its resolution of 800x600 is a killer for me - sideways scrolling on websites is annoying. However, when the 1024x600 (or thereabouts) version comes out it will be a viable option for most people.

When the new EeePC comes out, most people would be better off with it compared to the Air.


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