I helped a friend in Kuala Lumpur search for and purchase a new laptop. At 1200RM we ended up purchasing a Asus Eee PC 900
So - details; starting with the areas where it's a real hit;
Most importantly - size and weight
It's dimensions are 22.5cm(W) x 17.0cm(D) x 2cm~3.38cm(H) - it fits in a handbag! - the screen is 8.9inch diagonal, and has a resolution of 1024x768 - filling most of the lid area unlike it's predecessors.
Weight - 1kg (or 0.99kg according to Asus! 2.2lbs) - that's very light and as an added bonus the power supply is tiny and light weight as well.
Price - around $400 are the prices shown on Google - ours was a little more because of added Ram and increased storage.
Operating system - Windows XP - I personally like and use Linux - but I know that most people are familiar with Windows - it runs fairly smoothly on the 900mhz processor startup times are a little slow (I'll time it - but 30s is an estimate) - we paid for a 2GB Ram upgrade to aid performance.
Storage - our model came with 30GB mini HD - I'd would have preferred a SSD (solid state device) but they had none in stock - SSD means that it would run that bit faster and in theory be more robust - drops and bumps shouldn't affect it.
: web-cam, wi-fi, SD-Card read (SDHC importantly!), 3 x USB2 ports (nice), VGA out for an external monitor, and standard RJ45 network socket.
: Dialup socket (no big problem here), DVD player/writer (this is it's biggest limitation - but there just isn't room!)
The battery life is advertised at 2.5hrs - but generally we've seen about 1.5 hrs - web browsing - application work - so 2.5 is problem best case scenario, playing music or something non-intensive - maybe WinXP is shortening it's life compared to Linux also...
Image features, Asus Eee PC 900, power-supply, 320GB 2.5inch western digital Portable Hard-drive, a pen, and a very nice chequered table cloth
- for me the keyboard is virtually impossible to use, trying to touch type on it leads too many double key-presses and missed letters. The mouse pad is also difficult to use.
: I may well get one of these as a travel machine despite the problems - but will have to also include a USB - mouse, and keyboard, I have average male sized fingers - and those keys are just to small and temperamental.
For storage - a 320GB USB2 PHD - is a perfect accessory - it apparently works well with USB DVD writers - so if I were travelling longer term with it - I would also invest in one of those. But with all those accessories - wouldn't I be better off with a slightly larger machine with these peripherals?
The beauty of it is - I only take the things I need for the day - hitting the coffee shop to browse email and the web - just the book sized laptop and the power-supply, the peripherals stay in the backpack in the hotel. Watching DVD's on a rainy day in the hotel room - just plug in the USB DVD drive. Backing up photos - plug in the 320GB PHD - and DVD-RAM and copy away.
: Acer have a similar sized model - tried in the stores but rejected due to a terrible mouse-pad and a slightly higher price tag, Sony have the TZ-Series - but at 3-4 times the price - and I'm sure a whole host of alternatives will appear on the market as these ultra-portable ultra-affordable machines demonstrate their effectiveness.