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Asus T91 review

Barry de la Rosa
21 Sep 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
386
inc VAT

A touchscreen and small size and weight make the T91 an interesting netbook, but average battery life and a cramped keyboard let it down.

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Specifications

8.9 in 1,024x600 display, 960g, 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520, 1.00GB RAM, 16GB disk, Windows XP Home Edition

The T91 is a small tablet netbook with an 8.9in screen that swivels through 180 degrees and folds back to cover the keyboard.

The screen has a thinner bezel than most 8.9in netbooks, making the T91 even smaller, and at less than a kilogram, it's amazingly light and portable.

The touch-sensitive screen is of the resistive type, which means it senses pressure rather than just touch. The resistive layer is a soft film that sits on top of the screen, and we worry that a sharp object might tear it. It also makes tapping the screen feel less precise, as there's no tapping noise, but despite this we found the touch controls accurate.

Asus bundles some basic touchscreen software with the T91 in the form of a drop-down menu that sits at the top of the screen. There aren't many applications, though, and apart from a photo viewer, calculator and a collection of widgets, there isn't much of use. The touchscreen doesn't make Windows any more usable - those features will come with Windows 7, although as the T91 ships with XP, you won't be eligible for a free upgrade.

With a standard netbook resolution of 1,024x600, there's not a lot of desktop space on the screen. It isn't a huge issue, though, as touchscreens don't lend themselves to highly detailed work anyway. The LED backlight is even and colours are natural and bright. The central hinge assembly that allows the screen to turn back on itself is sturdy and the screen itself has no flex. We're a little disappointed that such a hands-on device comes with only a one-year warranty, though.

There's little room for a keyboard on a 9in netbook, and Asus has had to use the entire width of the case. Despite a crisp action, the keys are too small for large fingers. At least the layout is fairly standard, although we'd have preferred a double-height Enter key. The touchpad is big considering the size of the computer, and the large see-saw button has a light action.

The T91 uses an 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520 processor, which is slower than the 1.6GHz N270 found in most netbooks. The overall score of 14 in our benchmarks is about as low as you'll get, but it's adequate for basic office and internet tasks. The T91 certainly won't handle HD video or demanding tasks such as photo or video editing, and modern 3D games are out of the question.

Storage is limited to a 16GB solid-state drive (SSD) and a 16GB SDHC card, supplied. There are two memory card slots in all, so you could fit another 16GB SDHC card for around £25. Even so, that's much less storage than you'd get from a hard disk-equipped netbook. It's sufficient for storing documents and emails, but photo or music collections will rapidly fill it. On the upside, SSDs are more power efficient and robust.

Even with an LED screen and SSD storage, the T91's battery life is average at just over four and a half hours. In comparison, the Samsung N120 manages eight and a half hours. If you really want a touchscreen, the T91 is a good buy. However, there's little software here that takes advantage of the display. We'd wait until Windows 7 is released before buying a touchscreen computer.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Atom Z520
Processor clock speed1.33GHz
Memory1.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory2GB
Size28x225x164mm
Weight960g
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad, touchscreen, stylus
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle10W
Power consumption active12W

Display

Viewable size8.9 in
Native resolution1,024x600
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 500
Graphics/video portsVGA
Graphics Memory64MB

Storage

Total storage capacity16GB
Optical drive modelN/A
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports2
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseYes
Operating systemWindows XP Home Edition
Software includedMicrosoft Works 9

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£386
Detailswww.asus.com
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop

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