Thursday, 31 January 2008

Macbook Air vs Eee PC

Thinking of buying into the Uber Ultra-Portable market and don't know what the ideal buy for you is? The two hottest products on the market seem to be Asus' Eee PC and Apple's Macbook Air. Let's take a look at these and compare them...

The Macbook air is being touted as the worlds thinnest notebook and while this is an extremely great thing it all comes at a price. The thin design has led to there not being an optical drive on the Macbook Air which means that users will have to purchase the external optical drive, the "super drive". The drive will of course, not work with anything else.

While the Eee PC is not as thing as the Macbook Air, it's smaller screen size allows it to be a much smaller system and thus more portable. The Eee PC could be carried around in any sort of bag that would be able to fit a book in whereas with the Macbook Air you will need a laptop sized bag or sleeve.

It's obvious what wins in this category...the Eee. This is where the Eee has a considerable advantage over the Macbook Air because when carrying a laptop around with you, every lb in weight helps.

This is the category which may make you decide which one to go for. The Eee has an extremely small screen and a tiny resolution when compared to the Macbook Air. The small screen on the Eee may mean bad quality and could also make it extremely hard for some people to see certain things on it. Although this is a huge disadvantage for the Eee, the screen seems enough for simple tasks such as web browsing and occasional word processing.

If you require a larger, good quality screen for either doing normal tasks or watching videos then the Macbook Air is the one for you.

This is another category where the Macbook Air completely blows the Eee PC out of the water. Having a custom Intel Core 2 Duo, the Macbook Air packs a large amount of power into it's small frame.

The Eee, having a Celeron processor means it isn't capable of anything near what the Air is but this chip was needed to also keep the costs of the machine down. Although the chip isn't powerful, it is still more than capable of web browsing and word processing amongst other things.

The Eee PC comes with 512MB of RAM as standard and the Macbook Air comes with 2GB. This probably won't be a deciding factor for many of you though as you know the Eee PC doesn't need any where near the amount of RAM to execute tasks as the Air does. If the RAM in the Eee is a problem though, it can be easily upgraded.

Here again is a category that can be a deal-breaker for some. The Air has an 80GB hard drive and also comes with the option to have 64GB solid-state flash memory but for a larger amount of money. The Eee has the option of 2GB or 4GB depending on which model you decide to purchase.

Operating System
The Macbook Air is running Apple's latest operating system, Leopard. The Eee PC runs a customised version of Xandros Linux but a lot of people have had no trouble installing various Linux distributions and Windows XP on it. The customised version of Xandros Linux comes packed with open source applications such as Open Office and Mozilla FireFox.

One big problem with the Air's battery is that it isn't user-replacable. Meaning you will have to send your Air off to an Apple tech when the battery dies. The Eee on the other hand sports a user-replacable which is useful when on the road for long periods of time.

As you can see from the specifications of both of the machines, the Macbook Air is obviously going to cost you more so in this category the Eee wins. If you are just looking for an ultra-portable to browse the web while not near a computer, the Eee is for you. If you have the cash to splash about and need an ultra-portable that looks beautiful and is capable of much much more, the Macbook Air is for you.

Apart from looking amazing, the Air also features a full-sized keyboard which is rare among the ultra-portable machines. Whereas the Eee certainly doesn't look terrible, it's not even in the same league as the Macbook Air in the looks department and probably won't have heads turning like the Air will.

Another noteworthy feature of the Macbook Air is the multi-touch trackpad but i imagine this will also end up in future versions of the Macbook and the Macbook Pro.

Hope this comparison was helpful and if you have anything to add to this throw me a comment.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Portable Applications

Thought i'd do this post because like many of you i'm sure, can't live without certain applications that you need to use from wherever you are. This is now made easy through the use of portable applications which can be stored on a USB Flash Drive. I'll post a list of useful ones and you can feel free to use the comment box to also show your own recommendations.

Development Tools:

  • Dev-C++ - This application allows you to edit code wherever you are (of course). The environment is extremely similar to the Microsoft Visual Studio one.
  • Notepad++ - Free source code editor.


  • GIMP - A feature-rich environment where you can create and edit digital graphics and photographs.
  • Blender - 3D animation program.


  • Open Office - Word processor, spreadsheet and presentations with Microsoft compatibility.
  • Foxit Reader - PDF Viewer
  • AbiWord - Word processor that is also compatible with Microsoft Word files.


Music and Video:

Operating Systems: