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First Netbook with ODD: Asus Eee PC™ 1004DN

It’s a fact for netbook enthusiasts that 2009 is the year when the inexpensive and lightweight sub notebook are being packed with more features previously only available on their bigger brothers.

Last year we had MSI Wind, Acer Aspire One and Asus Eee to choose from. They were all equipped with the same basic features such as Atom N270 CPU, 1GB DDR2 memory, 3 USB slots, multi-format card reader, 8.9″ to 10.2″ display, optional bluetooth and built-in webcam and mic. There’s nothing else that are different from each aside from cost and style.

Consumers were happy with those basic features that helped them accomplish their tasks such as e-mailing, web surfing, chatting, socializing and making reports with office suites until there was a clamor for more features.Of course it’s a big opportunity for PC manufacturers, so vendors responded with improved features and sleeker design.

Leading the innovation is Asustek with its Eee PC series. Last March 28, they unveiled their newest netbook, the Eee PC 1004DN boasting a Super-Multi optical disc drive as its primary feature. Also, 1004DN is equipped with Atom N280 processor and GN40 chipset which is capable of 720p playback. Blueray is not supported yet though. That is until the Ion platform from Nvidia is introduced.

The owner of this new netbook will have an easy way of watching DVD movies. There’s no need to rip DVDs from your main desktop machine as you can simply insert your DVD movie on the drive’s tray.

The Eee PC 1004DN is also equipped with ExpressCard 34 slot and fingerprint scanner for biometric security. Other standard features include 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, a multi-format card reader, three USB 2.0 ports, a D-sub connector, an Ethernet port and a pair of audio jacks.

Display remains limited to 1024×600 but Asus says that it is capable of displaying 720p high resolution playback though I doubt if it could since its 720p requires higher resolutions in full screen.

With regards to storage, Asus chose to equipt 1004DN with 1.8-inch 120GB 4,200rpm PATA drive. This is a big drawback that will hold back its disk write and read performance. Standard to other netbooks are 2.5-inch SATA 5,400rpm drive.

Finally, Eee PC 1004DN weighs 1.45kg with a 6-cell battery,  a bit heavy. The battery can reach 5.9 hours in full power with the power saving features enabled. Expect 4 hours with normal use.

If you are the type of person who likes to watch movies then this netbook is definitely good for you but if you seldom use a DVD-drive then you may look for other netbooks and just buy an external ODD.

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