ASUS EEE 904HA – REVIEW (warning, biggg! review)

The competition in the netbooks is getting fiercer and fiercer everyday. Everyday or so, we hear new computer manufactures jumping into the Netbook battle ground. ASUS, being the most experienced company  has remained the leader so far in the netbook business. It’s new netbook, the EEE 904HA promises to give user excellent features at quite affordable price. Has it been able to impress us? Read the review to find out!

Unboxing

The ASUS has comes in a small box. The contents of the ASUS EEE 904HA are 100% same as 1000H, which includes the following:

  • EEE 904HA (what else, Beyonce?)
  • AC adapter/charger
  • Restore XP CD
  • 6600mAh battery
  • Silicon Case
  • Soft cleaning cloth
  • Few documents

I received the ASUS EEE 904HA with 160GB HDD and not 80GB HDD like some EEEs. The extra space is always welcomed.

Bootup

The bootup times is quite fast thanks to the boot-booster which does not displays the splash screen upon hard boot. The XP Home which comes with the EEE 904HA loads up pretty quickly. It also seems that ASUS has tweaked the XP quite a bit to the EEE’s hardware. Also, it comes with hard disk and not SSD which also boosts up the boot times. Generally, the SSD that comes with the EEE is quite slow, which results in longer boot timings. the EEE 904HA has fast Seagate HDD of which we will learn about later in this review

Exterior, Size

The ASUS EEE 904HA adopts the shell/casing of the EEE 1000 series, though there are few differences too, which you will learn later in this review.

The EEE 904HA has shiny exterior, which looks very sleek. Currently, almost every netbook in the market comes with shiny exterior and 904HA is no exception. But, shiny exterior means that it also catches fingerprints easily. This may be another reason, why ASUS included cleaning cloth in the package.

On the left side of the unit, you will find the familiar ETHERNET port, a USB port, microphone and earphone jack. Note that it does not have Dolby Digital support.

On the other(right) side, you will find the VGA output port, AC adapter port and 2 USB 2.0 ports. You will also find the MMC/SD card reader, which is integrated into the unit. It is SDHC compatible meaning that it can read/write all those high-capacity SD cards in the market. The capacity of these cards go upto 32GB.

MMC/SD slot

Unlike ASUS EEE 1000H, it has matte, grainy interior. I like matte interior over the shiny black interior of EEE 1000 series. This makes it not to catch the fingerprints. It also prevents you palm slipping away from the keyboard while you type. Nice touch ASUS!

Keyboard

This is the best part of the EEE 904HA. It is just fabulous. You can type on it just the way you type on any normal laptop keyboard. ASUS claims it to be 95% of the usual laptop keyboard. This makes typing on it a no-learner job. Anyone can just start typing on it without making any adjustments. This is a great news for those people who work or blog on the go. Since the size of the EEE 904HA is smaller than the conventional laptop, it makes it an ideal companion for everyone who do a lot of input and are always on the move.

The keyboard is big and it is spacious!

Screen, Resolution

The ASUS EEE 904HA comes with a 1024 x 600 resolution, which is definitely better than the shabby resolution of the EEE 700 series (800 x 480). The screen of the ASUS 904HA is nice and bright. The text is easy to read on it. The images looks crisp. You can work on this netbook for an hour and your eyes won’t feel tired at all. Webpages, office documents all look fine and you won’t find yourself scrolling like you had to do in EEE 700 series. The speakers surround the screen just like they did on EEE 700 series. I personally like the front facing speakers as the sound does not get muffled when you are using the netbook on your lap.

notice the 1.3MP camera on the bezel

Battery, Battery life

The EEE 904HA comes with a big 6 cell battery which promises really nice run times. It is 6600mAh and is exactly the same as the one used in 1000H. I tested its battery in 1000H and vice-versa and it worked fine in both cases. In auto-powersaving mode and normal brightness, I got nearly 5 hours with wifi on. In power saving mode, you may be able to squeeze out even more.

SHE (Super Hybrid Engine) – The actual player behind the great battery performance

All credits to its awesome battery life goes to the SHE. It gives you to underclock the EEE when you feel that you don’t need all the horsepower. The result: long runtimes. You would absolutely love this feature. You can toggle between: power-saving, auto power-saving, high performance, auto high performance and super performance modes with a touch of a button. By default, it is assigned to the 3rd button from the left in the top row.

Multitouch Touchpad

The touchpad of the EEE 904HA supports multi-touch. You can use various gestures like moving your fingers apart at the same times will trigger zoom in in a webpage or image and bringing your fingers together will zoom out. In a web browser, you can use two fingers to scroll up and down. Three finger tap to a right click and so on. The touchpad is also much more comfortable when compared to many of its rival netbooks like Lenovo Ideapad S10, S9 or its little brother ASUS EEE 700 series.

Basic tests of applications

I loaded up the following applications and they all ran fine.

  • Office 2007: runs flawless
  • Visual Studio 2005: runs great and EEE 904HA can be a huge asset for programmers
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • klite codec
  • Microsoft Activesync: to sync with my windows mobile device

Size Comparisons

This is the part I like to most: comparing it to other gadgets.

EEE 1000H and EEE 904HA

EEE 1000H, EEE 701 and EEE 904HA

Thickness comparison of the ASUS EEE 701 and EEE 904HA

Keyboard comparison: I would like to reiterate the fact the EEE 904HA is perfect for typing making it great for businessmen who work on the spreadsheets and office documents; perfect for the students and programmers who would appreciate it nice size.

like the wallpaper of my EEE 701? ;)

Ability to upgrade? = Yeah!

You can easily upgrade the RAM module and HDD of the EEE 904HA. You have to unscrew the backdoor panel of the EEE 904HA to gain access to the RAM module and HDD.

Take extra care of the ‘holders’ of the RAM chip and take the RAM module out.

The HDD is fast @ 5400rpm and has 160GB storage capacity. You need to unscrew the 6 screws to take the HDD out. Now since it is the normal 2.5″ HDD, you can also swap-in a 2.5″ SSD in the future.

Here is the RAM module that came with EEE 904HA. As you can see, it came with 1GB DDR2 RAM.

I took the 2G Transcend RAM @ 667Mhz bus speed out from my EEE 701 and swapped it in to the EEE 904HA. It worked fine. Note that if you don’t go into the BIOS, your device won’t recognize the newly added 2G RAM as the boot booster is enabled by-default. Infact, it will still think that only 1GB RAM module is there. To enter into the BIOS, repeatedly press F2 immediately after hitting the power button. Then, you must press F10 to save the changes. After that, your device should be able to use the full 2GB RAM.

Final Verdict

It is around 100gm lighter than the 1000H and has front facing speakers. It has the same resolution as the EEE 1000H. The difference of screen size is just 1.3″, which is just not noticeable to me as I was using both the devices at the same time. It is also around $50-80 cheaper depending upon from where you buy it. But to me, the front facing speakers and lighter weight wins the battle over 1000H.

Here are some bigger pictures of the ones used in the review. It also includes some which were not used in the review at all. Click on the thumbails too the bigger pictures:

Read these reviews too:

Aspire One D150 Netbook review
ASUS EEE 1002HA review
Lenovo S10 review

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