ION packing EeeBox EB1501
pioneered the nettop market, and since the introduction of the
first EeeTops a year ago, we have grown to admire their sleek design.
The new EB1501 takes good taste a step further, offering a stylish
white or black chassis mounted on a brushed metal stand. It just looks
great, no question about that, and it doesn't look cheap either.
Unfortunately, this time looks don't deceive - it isn't cheap. Prices will start from €399, just short of $600, and this is quite a lot for a nettop, even a gorgeous one.
On the upside, it's not just good on the outside, it packs a wallop under the bonnet, too.
It's based around Intel's Atom 330 dual-core processor at 1.6GHz and
Nvidia's ION chipset. There's room for up to 4GB of memory, you get
Gigabit Ethernet, b/g/n wireless, 6 USB ports, eSATA, SPDIF, HDMI and
VGA out. Unlike most nettops, it even packs an optical drive, but the
250GB hard drive could and should have been a lot bigger.
As we said, its biggest problem is its hefty price tag, and here's a
comparison. Asrock sells an ION based nettop with a dual-core Atom and
Blu-ray drive for just €315. Without Blu-ray, it costs just €249. True,
it's not nearly as good looking as the new Asus, but a 40 percent
premium for good looks is something you'd expect from Apple, not Asus.