The PackageThe PackageConsidering a whole PC is packed inside, the box is actually pretty small. The front of the box doesn't give us a whole lot of info; we've got a picture of the product in two colours along with the name of the product and a little motto.
The EeeBoxThe EeeBoxPulling the EeeBox out of the package, there isn't a whole lot to it. Really, you're not looking at much more than a black chassis with some stickers and a logo on it.
Getting hands on with the EeeBoxGetting hands on with the EeeBoxSince I hadn't had a chance to play with the new Intel Atom processor before, I wasn't really sure what to expect. While 1.6GHz is considered pretty low to the general computer enthusiast, when Intel first launched the Core series at a similar speed we all ended up pretty surprised at what it was capable of.So with expectations a little bit all over the place, it was time to power on the EeeBox. We quickly find ourselves in Windows and staring at a pretty standard Windows XP desktop. Thanks to this particular unit doing the rounds to a few other people already, we had a number of applications already installed which was handy since I didn't have a USB ROM drive handy.It was time to take the unit for a spin; first I fired up internet explorer and checked out everyones favorite tech website, TweakTown.com. I then proceeded to set it as the start page so the next reviewer could be greeted with the same awesome site.Cruising the net on a whole was all pretty effortless; it's not exactly the most intensive thing for me, but for people who just want to do a bit of email and cruise some websites, the EeeBox is looking like a perfect companion. Next, it was time to check out Office and see how we go. Firing up this review, I started to write on it. Again, there wasn't anything wrong with it, everything was pretty responsive. Since I was also using a 24" monitor outputting 1920 x 1200, I had a fair bit of desktop real estate so it was time to fire up an XVID movie and see if I could watch something in the background. Not to any real surprise, the EeeBox handled the whole multi-tasking process pretty well. Feeling pretty confident with what the EeeBox could do, it was time to see how it went with some higher def content. Firing up a 1080P movie had us greeted with a very chunky picture. Not being able to handle 1080P, it was time to see how we went with 720P. While it was looking a lot better, it wasn't smooth. What I found was 100MB sample files would run ok but the 4GB+ movie files wouldn't run as smooth. That's a bit disappointing as the unit would make a great little media center. Unfortunately it just wasn't meant to be, so I continued on my way using it as an office machine.
Checking out Express GateChecking out Express GateExpress Gate is something that ASUS has been pushing for a while now between their motherboards and laptops. It's another operating system embedded that loads almost instantly and lets you do a few things. With our network plugged in we fired up the Express Gate and checked out how the whole thing worked. While you can do little things like cruise the net and play some online games, it doesn't seem like it's all that helpful.ASUS have been pushing it in Australia on their laptop range, saying that you could check in online for your flights without having to get into Windows. The thing is, though, Windows load time is pretty quick these days and the whole Express Gate feels a bit pointless. The whole feature seems to be more of a marketing thing rather than anything else. Who knows though, while it may have no use to me, some people may have a use for it and if you do please comment in our forums as to how it is handy to you.
Final ThoughtsFinal ThoughtsThe EeeBox really does what it's supposed to and very well. It's a well priced machine that is compact, looks good and does general office work well, including email, MS Office and internet. You could watch some XVID movies and TV shows, but that's really about it. The whole thing really isn't bad for someone who wants to get their kids something that pretty much lets them only do work on, or perhaps for a company where what you are allowed to do is limited; not so much in the permissions department, but the power one.While I personally would never have a need for an EeeBox, I can understand how it will be handy for people. I don't think it's going to have the impact like the EeePC, but people are definitely going to like it and no doubt we're going to see clones come out that will offer better performance and more aggressive pricing as time goes on.You really could pick at the EeeBox for hours as to all the things it can't do, but the bottom line is ASUS has designed it to do certain things and it manages to do them very well. With a range of colours and no doubt more models coming out in the near future, the chances are you're going to be able to find an EeeBox to not only suit your needs, but also your decor. As long as you're not expecting to play Crysis on the machine or work with intensive programs like Photoshop and any other graphical manipulation software, you will find yourself happy with the EeeBox. If you are expecting to be able to do those things and more, you will find yourself quickly disappointed.Like I've said so many times, the EeeBox isn't for everyone, but a $700 graphics card isn't for everyone either, nor is $1500 processors. The EeeBox has its market clearly pointed out and it manages to attack that very well. Really, though, if the EeeBox does kick off we're going to see more and more companies attack the genre with more power and cheaper prices.
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:27 pm CDT
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