Asus Eee Top ET1602, a new type of desktop PC

Asus Eee Top ET1602, a new type of desktop PC
Rating
Overall:

An impressive touchscreen all-in-one PC for an equally impressive price, but the single-core Atom holds it back

Performance:
3
Features & Design:
4
Value for money:
4
Price
Price: $1299
> Pricing info
Specs
Product name Asus Eee Top ET1602
Vendor ASUS
CPU model/brand Intel Atom N270

The Eee PC range continues to rapidly expand, with an incredible 15 netbook variants. Asus has also begun to produce Eee-branded desktop PCs, with the Eee Box now joined by the touchscreen Eee Top.


The new model sets itself apart from other Eee PC products: while the white chassis is reminiscent of the netbook range's toy-like looks, the 15.6in screen, Apple-style keyboard and glass bevel beneath the unit give it a far more stylish feel than the rest of its low-cost brethren.


The screen itself is sharp, bright and clear enough for most tasks the Eee Top is intended for. It uses the 1366 x 768 resolution more commonly found in LCD TVs than PC monitors, so it's capable of displaying 720p video. But don't get too excited: there's no optical drive, so no easy way to watch either HD or SD movies.

The Eee Top is slim enough to squeeze into even the tightest space
The Eee Top is slim enough to squeeze into even the tightest space


The touchscreen interface works well. While the Eee comes equipped with Windows XP Home, it's hardly noticeable - Asus layers an interface over the top, styled to resemble the tab-based version of Xandros Linux installed on the original Eee PCs.


A stylus, which can be slotted into the rear of the keyboard when not in use, makes navigation easier, but the majority of the icons scattered around the four tabs are of a decent size and we naturally defaulted to using our fingers. Coupled with the responsive screen, it makes navigating the Eee Top both quick and painless.


The four tabs house the majority of the Eee Top's applications. The first, labelled Communication, takes care of Skype, email and web apps, with direct links to popular sites - including Windows Live Mail, Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook, MySpace, Google News and Blogger - which makes getting to specific sites slightly easier, although we still found ourselves resorting to keyboard and mouse on most occasions.  


The Fun tab contains media-handling software, which is remarkably similar to Windows Media Center's interface, as well as a couple of basic games that work with the touchscreen. The Work tab includes everything you'd expect, with individual links to each facet of Sun Microsystems' StarSuite productivity software, as well as a PDF reader, calculator and file manager. There's also a Tools tab with links to specific apps, including Opera and Internet Explorer, as well as a raft of customisation options.


Asus positions a 1.3-megapixel webcam above the screen - with accompanying Eee Cam software - while scattered around the sides and rear are four USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a card reader and a trio of audio ports.

Underneath the attractive exterior and slick touchscreen interface is largely the same hardware that powered the Eee Box. Intel's 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor is joined by a gigabyte of RAM, GMA 950 graphics and draft-n wireless, while a 160GB hard disk is a step up from the majority of netbooks. Asus is also planning to release another model with discrete graphics, in the shape of ATI's Mobility Radeon HD 3450, although there's no word on its price.


The familiar spec means performance is similar to that of the Eee Box and Eee PC netbooks - functional, not fast. Despite this, XP and the touchscreen interface run without any problems, likewise word processing and web surfing. Attempt something a little more demanding, however - such as video editing - and you'll run into problems as the Atom CPU struggles to cope.


But that isn't really the point of the Eee Top. Like netbooks, this is meant to be a secondary PC for simple tasks, and we can see it finding a niche both in homes - say, the kitchen, or a child's bedroom - and offices. It even has enough style to be a front-of-office PC.


That's not to say it's without frustrations. The touchscreen is useful for listening to music, watching movies and basic web functions, but every time we needed to do something more complicated we immediately fell back to the familiar keyboard and mouse.


For anything more than the most basic tasks there are plenty of better options than the Top. You could indulge in a cheap dual-core PC that would be far more versatile. Nevertheless, we do like this little machine, and if your needs fall within its niche you won't regret buying it.

 

This Review appeared in the March 2009 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine

Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing

See more about:  asus  |  eee  |  top  |  et1602
 
 
Comments: 9
petergaskin
24 February 2009
I would never buy a touch screen computer. I occasionally use a couple at work and I just dont thing they are all they add up to.
As an aside, I never liked using a mouse in the early days of Windows, but now I use a mouse every day.
Still, I dont expect to be using a touchscreen at home any time soon.
Think of all of us 2 thumb and 2 left handed peoplke who are just as happy to use a keyboard and mouse to get around...


Comment made about the PC Authority article:
Asus Eee Top ET1602, a new type of desktop PC?
An impressive touchscreen all-in-one PC for an equally impressive price, but the single-core Atom holds it back

What do you think? Join the discussion.
Lost-Benji
25 February 2009
I personally love the concept of touch screen, especially on smaller systems designed to be portable. The finger prints all over screen issue still sucks.
1plusone
26 February 2009
Does anyone test ASUS Eee Top yet? i would like to know more about it before I buy it :)
Toby
26 February 2009
I saw this at Harvey Norman last weekend and i am seriously thinking of buying one this weekend! Did a bit of research, i think asus tocuhscreen is the best buy out off all - HP too expensive and way to big. But the only thing with the asus one is they are missing a dvd drive - i guess i don't really need it these days - everything is download. Anyway Touchscreen is the way to go man!!
pyttsai
27 February 2009
I guess it's a great entry level all in one PC with an intuitive interface and UI. especially at this time of year where economy isn't at the best and market is slowing down, consumers are very aware of the product they are purchasing. most people want something value for money, and I think the ASUS Eee TOP is a great solution, considering the price range vs product specs. I know it's not the most powerful desktop in the world. but it's just the right tool for everyday computing. surf the net, word processing, music, downloading, facebook or compiling a photo albums. i think it's an efficient tool. you don't need something that cost $1700-$2000+ for a high end, eg. HP TouchSmart I think it's an overkill, only if you are after a high-end model. but for that price, i'd rather get a good performance desktop.
empire
3 March 2009
Hey guys,

I just tested this out in Harvey Norman, it was great! Spec wise it's perfect for a second computer! It's also a little fun and my little brothers and sisters can use it!

I think it's worth the money as a second PC in the home for surfing the web and simple stuff like that!
Stone
5 March 2009
Its reflect the developed view in software field
clyd3robert
18 March 2009
I could see these being great for classrooms. Small, cheap, touchscreen devices that can fit on the desk and still alow plenty of room for taking notes by hand could be a winner. Do they do an educational discount for these things? If not, they should, it'd be great.
csilkno
20 March 2009
does anyone know how big is the unit? I dun hv much room at my renting apartment
could I watch DVD with it so I dun have to buy a TV as I just moved to a new apartment
I've been typing with my laptop and my wrist is hurting ... just thinking that it could be good if the unit is not so big and i could suft the internet by touching the screen.
As I am aware that the unit is with windows XP and atom N270 which is just great at its price point.
Comments have been disabled for this article.

Latest Comments

Latest Poll

What PC component are you planning to upgrade in the next six months










Ads by Google

From our Partners

PC & Tech Authority Downloads