Eee's back: ASUS resurrects its budget brand for $199 Windows 8.1 laptop

Seven years ago, ASUS launched the Eee PC, a $199 laptop that kicked off the short-lived netbook craze. The budget-focused Eee brand later made its way to other devices, including desktop PCs and tablets, before it was finally phased out in 2012.

But in a rather unexpected move, ASUS today resurrected the brand, with the launch of its new EeeBook X205. The new device is certainly channeling the spirit of the original netbook line-up, with basic hardware and an ultra-low-cost price, for those seeking only the bare essentials in a new PC. It also represents Microsoft's latest push against the rise of Google's increasingly affordable Chromebooks.

The mini-laptop features an 11.6-inch LED-backlit display with 1366x768px resolution, and runs Windows 8.1 with Bing. Other key specs include: 

  • Quad-core Intel Atom T3735 Bay Trail processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB / 64GB onboard storage (plus microSDXC slot)
  • VGA webcam
  • microHDMI port
  • Up to 12 hours of web browsing 

The device is also remarkably light, at just 980g, and will be available in four colours: black, white, gold and red. Unlike the earliest netbooks, the X205 features a full-size keyboard and a generously sized trackpad, as Engadget reports. 

The device will cost just $199 USD / €199 EUR when it goes on sale later this year, and to sweeten the deal further, ASUS is also throwing in 100GB of Microsoft OneDrive space (in addition to the 15GB that all users get free), as well as 500GB of ASUS WebStorage for two years. 

Source: Engadget | images via ASUS

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Not a bad travel device from the looks of it. I'd be interested a bit more if ASUS could put a more premium device together for under $350.

I'd be willing to trade my HP 11 Chromebook for one. I'm selling that machine on eBay soon. I could buy one of these with the cash. May not look as nice or have a display quite as good but would provide much more function, power, and battery. The HP 11 is nice if you like Chromebooks. I have nothing against them and recommend them for certain users, but I just prefer Windows for getting work done using Office or my Mac for the Macish things I need to do.

Netbook Redux: Son of Eee

I remember when Ballmer and the vendors were pushing netbooks hard back in 2008, then Microsoft all but immediately walked away from the hardware with Windows 8 preview at the Build Conference because of their stupid self-imposed screen resolution requirements. Now they want you to buy back into a cheap laptop again so that they can turn around and screw their customers in another year. Not gonna be duped on this incarnation of the netbook v2.

The Netbook v2 could well do MUCH better with the current Atom lineup and W8.1.. I always though the formfactor was great but the previous Atom was just not good and held the design and product back. Not so this time around I feel. Might pick one up just to have around..

I like this particular lineup. I believe there is still a place for the Netbook. I have one where I erased Windows and installed Linux. I leave it running at times just serving up media.

If it's anything like the Asus T100, this would actually be a good buy. Love my t100. Had a eee back in the day, it was slow and painful to use. The t100 is good for pretty much everything I've thrown at it so far.

I keep hearing really good things about the T100. I have been looking for a cheap and small Windows machine that I can use as a portable dev/test/play machine. By any chance have you done any dev-type work on it? The 2GB RAM is my biggest worry with things such as Visual Studio.

bithush said,
I keep hearing really good things about the T100. I have been looking for a cheap and small Windows machine that I can use as a portable dev/test/play machine. By any chance have you done any dev-type work on it? The 2GB RAM is my biggest worry with things such as Visual Studio.

I have not tried it, but I think it would at least run. Loading large projects would probably be slow, and if you have a lot of third-party or your own custom controls in the toolbox it would probably be even slower.

The most demanding thing I've done so far is play AoE II HD edition. I have VS2013 installed but haven't played with it yet, I don't actually code, but I've been meaning to learn and I spend a lot of time on the road, so I figure this would be a decent machine to learn on and if it looks like something I'm going to do, I'll get something more powerful later if necessary. As it is, love this little computer. You can get it for $240 refurbished on eBay.

bithush said,
I keep hearing really good things about the T100

I am hearing the opposite:
- battery drain issues during connected standby
- sound playback issues during connected standby

Those two literally kept me from buying one.

agtsmith said,

I am hearing the opposite:
- battery drain issues during connected standby
- sound playback issues during connected standby

Those two literally kept me from buying one.

There were several power management-related issues when it was originally released. There have since been several firmware updates to correct the issues. I bought one of these recently and applied the updates. I have not run into any of these issues myself.

TMYW said,

There were several power management-related issues when it was originally released. There have since been several firmware updates to correct the issues. I bought one of these recently and applied the updates. I have not run into any of these issues myself.

Lucky for you - been following transformerforums.com for quite a while (as I really wanted to get one) and people still seem to have those issues, despite installing firmware updates. I wonder if T100TA still has those issues.

Edited by agtsmith, Sep 3 2014, 9:25pm :

agtsmith said,

Lucky for you - been following transformerforums.com for quite a while (as I really wanted to get one) and people still seem to have those issues, despite installing firmware updates.

Either lucky for me or unlucky for them. I vote unlucky for them.