Although it boasts a touchscreen and simple to use interface, the Eee Top seems to be aimed at a niche market with a fairly high price tag attached. The general idea is a good one though, and we could start seeing other slightly tweaked versions showing up in the future.
Compact; easy to navigate; neat touchscreen feature.
High price tag; only suited to basic computing tasks.
The Eee Top is best suited as a kitchen top PC and would be quite at home in a kid's room or for use by a student. Essentially the device is designed to fit in anywhere space is at a premium and the requirements are relatively basic.
While it could be used as a work PC for basic computing tasks either in the office or at home, the touchscreen would not add huge value for business use, the interface would have to be reset to a more standard Windows configuration and the keyboard is not well suited to long typing sessions.
The all-in-one unit includes an Intel Atom 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 1Gb of RAM, a 160GB hard drive and Intel 945 Express onboard graphics chipset, which shares up to 128Mb of system memory.
With these specifications it certainly isn't going to handle the latest games, but it will comfortably manage internet browsing, email, office applications, playing music and instant messaging all at the same time. It will also handle watching streaming or downloaded videos quite comfortably as long as nothing much else is running.
Sticking with the very minimalist feel, the Eee Top has only a handful of buttons and ports. The front is dominated by the 15.6in 16:10 touch screen, which runs at a default resolution of 1366 x 768, a good size for easily displaying most web pages and giving plenty of space for working on emails or other documents. Although the graphics card can support dual monitors there is no port available to connect a second screen or TV.
Above the screen is a 1.3-megapixel webcam and a small microphone, while below are the volume and brightness controls, power and LCD toggle buttons, and a pair of stereo speakers.
There are three sound ports at the back, which can act as either a headphone, line-out and microphone connectors, or as front, rear and centre/bass speaker connectors when using a 5.1 surround sound system. There is no option for a digital speaker set-up despite the fact that sound card supports the feature.
On the back is a carry handle and sprung stand, a Gigabit Ethernet port, power socket and four USB ports, with one offset from the other designed for a USB TV tuner or something similar that should not share a hub with other devices. On the left-hand side are another two USB ports and a multi-function memory card slot for plugging in MMC, SD and MS/PRO memory sticks.
Running Windows XP Home edition, the interface has been optimised for touchscreen input with the default settings configured with large icons and fonts. There is also an overlay dubbed Easy Mode, which provides a large, simple menu system to access the most common applications, and a few custom programs such as Eee Memo to leave Post-it-style notes on the screen, and Eee Cinema, a suite from CyberLink to access media such as video, movies, music and pictures.