- Doesn't use much electricity
- Can decode 1080p content
- Vampire power
- Stutters on some HD Flash
- Pricey for feature set
The EeeBox is a handy little box that does a few things very well and everything else well enough - all while taking up less room than a bag of chips.
ASUS made waves a few years ago by creating the netbook category with the first Eee PC. Since then, Eee-branded products have sold in the multiple millions around the world, and the Eee line has come to include nettops, desktops, all-in-ones, monitors and even peripherals. The EeeBox EB1501 is a tiny Atom- and ION-powered box, but is it worth your while? Read on and find out.
- Processor: Intel Atom 330 Dual-core @ 1.6GHz
- Memory: 2GB DDR2-800 SDRAM
- Hard drive: 250GB SATA @ 5400RPM
- Optical drive: Slot loading Super-Multi DVD+/-RW
- Sound: Integrated HD audio
- Graphics: NVIDIA ION integrated
- Networking: Gigabit Ethernet
- Wireless networking: 802.11b/g/n
- Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
- Windows Media Center remote control, IR receiver, 2.4GHz wireless keyboard and mouse
- Power supply: 65W external
- Dimensions: 7.59 x 7.59 x 1.54 inches (HxDxW)
- Warranty: One year limited parts and labor
The ASUS EeeBox EB1501-B0167 can currently be found online for $459.99.
Build and Design
Obviously, the most immediately noticeable aspect of ASUS EeeBox line of nettop computers is just how tiny they are. Comprised of a metal frame and surrounded by a black and silver plastic shell, the whole unit weighs less than three pounds. It’s light enough, in fact, that ASUS includes a very cool little curved bracket that mounts to any monitors that include a VESA-compatible mounting system. Going that route, anyone who buys an EeeBox and a compatible display can have a build-your-own all-in-one system.
The curved sides of the EeeBox EB1501 are black, with the ASUS logo pressed into the middle of each one. At the top left is the only real venting grid for the nettop; a mirror of the grid is on the right half, but it’s fake and stops a few millimeters in. A power light sits at the apex, with the power button close by at the top of the unit’s face.
The front itself is silver, matching the stylish stand that ASUS includes in the box. The stand is heavy, and built like the unit itself – a metal base covered by a moderately high quality plastic. ASUS had to make the stand heavy so that the unit wouldn’t tip over; to make the final appearance both striking and unique, the pair are designed such that the nettop mounts on the bottom rear corner, resting at an angle. EeeBox is emblazoned in the front of the stand, next to the user.
ASUS tried to give the machine the appearance of floating; not only does it rest at a telling angle, but there aren’t many cords involved in setup. Plug the machine into the wall socket, attach a display (either VGA or HDMI) and that’s it. The included keyboard and mouse are entirely wireless. Networking is covered by the built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, though Gigabit Ethernet is also included if higher speed is necessary. A twistable antenna is built onto the back to make sure that signal strength is maintained.
Inputs and Expansion
Given the very compact nature of the EeeBox, it’s hard to think of any possible means to expand upon the included functionality, which is good – there aren’t any. Theoretically, it’s not impossible to think about upgrading some of the components within the machine: the slot-loading DVD+/-RW drive could be swapped out for a pricey slot-loading Blu-ray drive. The memory could be doubled to its maximum 4GB, and the hard drive density could be increase or replaced entirely by a solid state drive.
Opening up the machine is difficult, however, and it’s clear that it’s nothing ASUS ever intended the end user to do. Even once the ten screws are taken out, the shell has to be popped open. It’s not impossible, but it is a pain, and probably not worth it. The EeeBox is pretty capable, taking into account certain factors, right out of the box. Regardless, there’s definitely no empty space into which customers can add some sort of expanded functionality.
The front of the machine is monopolized by the slot-loading optical drive; given the small stature of the machine as a whole, the ODD feels much bigger than it otherwise might. There’s also a physical eject button to the right of the slot, which is a pleasant surprise. Most slot-loading optical drives don’t offer a button, relying instead on software with the operating system (of course, the button is probably just a physical manifestation of the same, but it’s still reassuring).
To the left of the slot are two USB2.0 ports, is a 3-in-1 (SD, MMC, MS) memory card reader. There aren’t any USB3.0 ports on this machine. Below the data slots are two audio jacks: one out for headphones and one in for microphones. Most of the ports are on the rear of the machine, even on a nettop. At the top is the Wi-Fi antenna, followed by four more USB2.0 ports. Video out is handled by either a VGA or HDMI port, with one eSATA and the Ethernet jack on the bottom. There’s also a Kensington lock slot for keeping the EeeBox secure, and a second analog audio out jack.