One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine - Sir William Osler
Product: Eee PC T91
System Specifications: 8.9-inch LED-backlit / Resistive Touch Panel, Intel Atom Z520, 1GB RAM, 16GB SSD, Ethernet, WIFI, Bluetooth, Memory card reader
ASUSTEK HAS RELEASED a tablet touch-screen netbook, the Eee PC T91.
The Asus T91 is a netbook, except it's a netbook with a touch screen display, which can be turned into a tablet PC by swivelling the display around to cover the entire keyboard.
It's driven by a low power 2W Intel Atom Z520 at 1.33GHz, an Asus favourite for netbooks and nettops. We found that the chip was up to web-browsing and other light tasks we threw at the device all at once, from email writing to word processing and even 720p HD video playback.
The T91 comes with Windows XP preloaded currently, but Asus has said it will run Windows 7 Starter Edition when it arrives. So far Asus is not offering a free upgrade to Windows 7 on the T91, however.
It'll be interesting to see if Windows 7 Starter Edition will run well on the Asus Eee T91, now that the three applications at once limit has been removed.
Besides running Windows, there's also the Asus ExpressGate, which is a Linux OS on a chip. This is bootable within seconds from powering on into a fully working platform, with nearly everything one might need, from a web browser through email and skype to even viewing images.
The T91 also has a third, proprietary Asus OS, only onscreen there's just an array of widgets with the same functionality as ExpressGate only they're solely touch screen based. This more or less comes from Asus Etop range, which is just a touch screen computer with this primarily as the main OS.
All of the OS's worked well and loaded fast, as two were ROM based and the third ran from the SSD. The widget based mode was good enough for minor web browsing and a few other lite tasks, but really wasn't up to the role of being a good solid tablet based OS as it lacked decent character recognition.
The T91 really did excel in the Windows XP mode, where the netbook responded very well with its touch screen environment plus kept up with the onscreen writing and everything else that a tablet pc should really do.
Both the ExpressGate and Atop widget based modes should really just be used when the full might of Windows XP isn't really needed or required for a full boot of the OS.
As a resistive touch screen it's fairly responsive to the touch, although in tablet form there was no locking mechanism in place leaving the T91 flapping around a lot. In that tablet form it was handy to write upon as the character recognition was pretty darn good, this is where they should really push the T91 as an alternative to an actual writing pad.
What will raise the flags in the weakest link department of T91 design is the hinge on which the screen rotates around, for the tablet mode. After many hours in use over some weeks in all of its modes, with far more stress in fact than any normal person would put the netbook through - the hinge came out unscathed.
If you're familiar with the Eee PC netbooks then its dimensions are a close match to the earlier devices only slightly more compact. The T91 weighs in at 0.96kg whilst measuring 225mm by 164mm whereas the 901 is 1.1 kg 225mm by 175.5mm.
The screen is obviously a draw on the battery's power, there's no two ways about it. Inside an average days usage, with the likes of WiFi constantly fired up it lasted almost 5 hours. Taking into account lunch time and coffee breaks, that's a reasonable amount of time we feel although it's somewhat let down by the battery not being replaceable we feel.
Netbooks were starting to look stale, until Asus pulled this hybrid netbook-touchscreen-tablet from outta nowhere. It performs well enough to be a good netbook replacement by itself ontop of everything else it offers, although there’s the fear that it might be trying to be too many things at once and could confuse some.
Netbook with a touchscreen and a tablet PC in one.
Processor speed in doubt for running Windows 7.
Hinge might put some people off as it could be seen as the weakest link.
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