The Asus EEE PC has made its mark around the world. Yesterday I was reading Stephen Fry's blog post about it and I realized that Asus EEE PC is now a gadget for adventure. Since most people can't get the OLPC/XO (even after donating one to a child), its good to use the Asus EEE PC. I happened to be among the first to see the Asus EEE PC officially in India and it was an interesting experience although not a "Wow" one...
Asus plans to sell lots of these laptops in India and to compete in this new market of small laptops, India's largest manufacturer of hardware, HCL has released its own version of small & cheap laptops. The HCL MiLeap X Series is a direct answer to Asus's EEE PC and I happened to use one just today evening at an HCL workshop.
The following is a comparison able between the HCL X and the Asus EEE PC:
|HCL MiLeap X Series||Asus EEE PC|
|Processor:||Celeron-M (900 Mhz)||Celeron-M (900 Mhz)|
|Chipset/GPU:||Intel GMA 900||Intel GMA 900|
|RAM:||512 MB||512 MB|
|Harddisk:||2 GB SSD||4GB SSD|
|Weight:||1440 gms||920 gms|
|Price:||Rs. 14000/-||Rs. 18000/-|
From the above comparison chart you can see that both the products have the same configuration with the difference in harddisk space and price. The 2GB on the HCL X seems a little less, but then the price is also about Rs. 4000/- less. If you will not be installing any other software other than those pre-installed, then it doesn't make much sense to have more space. Normal avi and divx works well but h.264 video stutters on both the machines. The speakers on both the machines isn't very good and hence you can't expect to load too many songs into either of the laptops. The HCL MiLeap X has slightly better trackpad compared to the EEE PC, but the Asus EEE PC had a better interface, not that the HCL UI is bad!! HCL also has been selling its laptops with Linux instead of windows for sometime now and hence Linux support from HCL has been there from the beginning.
After looking at the HCL X, I can say that its a worthy competitor and it saves a few bucks. You can always fit in your USB drive and get more space. I'm not sure about HCL's service, but in that sense Asus partners haven't done very well in its motherboards service and support. The build quality is an important criteria for ultra-mobile laptops, but I can't comment on this factor since I haven't owned any of these laptops for a considerable period of time.
Now to the conclusion: Which machine do I think is better?? Personally in my frank opinion, I don't think much of both these machines. They aren't as powerful as I would like them to be. I'm not saying that these are bad products. On the contrary, I think cheap portable computers are extremely necessary and both these machines have special capabilities and are great designs. But I would rather run a slightly more powerful machine, with a touch interface and more RAM and disk space, which does not need to be kept on the lap for typing. May be a UMPC with Origami 2.0 and Via Isaiah CPU and these features is more my type!