More: Storage and Memory
The 12GB Windows model we looked at has two separate flash storage drives, one 4GB and one 8GB; the Linux Model has 8GB and 12GB to add up to 20GB. Both use Samsung flash memory chips. Although you’re getting the same space as if you had a single flash drive, this means you have to manage it more carefully and decide where to install applications and store files. Works is installed on the 4GB flash and with hibernation enabled we didn’t have enough room to install three synthetic benchmarks on that drive at the same time.
The main reasons for having Windows XP in the first place are the familiar interface, familiar applications and drivers for all your peripherals. The Linux interface is simple enough to navigate and without FireWire or Bluetooth there are fewer problematic drivers to worry about, so the point of having Windows XP comes down to being able to use your favorite applications. That means storage can be an issue, so as the prices of larger SD cards come down, support for 32GB SDHC cards in the SD card slot will be important.
Without Bluetooth or the option of 3G, the three USB ports are welcome, so you can add storage and connectivity without having to swap cables back and forth. The VGA connector is a full D-SUB port so you don’t need to carry an adapter. Headphone and microphone sockets mean you can get better quality sound than the speakers. Wi-Fi is still 802.11b and g, rather than Draft-N but like the original Eee, you get the gigabit Ethernet port Apple couldn’t fit into the MacBook Air.