back to article Asus speaks out on UK Eee PC 900 battery issue

Asus today offered little solace for British Eee PC 900 buyers who've found that the machine packs a lower-capacity battery here than it does in some other countries. When Register Hardware reviewed the 900 last month - you can read our evaluation of the elfin PC here - we noted the 900 comes with a 4400mAh battery. We asked …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    So thats it...

    The biggest IT cock up in rip off GB and we get an extended warranty. Too right the UK customers are going to get *really* pissed with this.

    Where was the Reg Biting the Hand that Feed's it?

  2. smell fresher

    2 year warranty

    In most European countries the minimum warranty period for electrical goods is two years - so Asus cannot provide less and it appears they are off-setting this (forced) additional cost by providing a lower capacity battery.

    In the UK I think that one year is the minimum warranty but it makes sense to have one product for the entire European market.

  3. Marc Lawrence
    Dead Vulture

    Options

    it seems that in Europe / rip off UK we get the option: choose Windows and 12GB or Linux and 20GB. However with the battery we were given NO choice - and indeed no advance warning. Mine was preordered before the full UK battery specs were released.

    Please El-Reg - give them some more stick. this is an easy cop-out and it is an obvious one most people will try to wriggle from. it will also be interesting to see if all Europe really does get the 4400 or whether it is just UK?

    Next time I will import from USA or wherever best deal comes from.

  4. peter
    Go

    statutory rights punk

    These extended warranties are pointless. I would expect an Asus Eee PC to last for at least 2 years anyway.

    Guarantees are "in addition to", not "a replacement of" statutory rights and the PC must be of merchantable quality & "fit for the purpose it was made for". If the screen went or the speakers broke after a year through a major fault or inherent issue I could claim anyway. Accidental damage isn't covered so no benefit to me.

    Give me the battery instead.

    This is the same as Washing machines, where they offer 5 years warranty or 3 year coverage. I am covered anyway because any court is going to agree a washing machine should last more than 12 months. I suppose the question is why do computers have such short "accepted" lifespans for a very very expensive home item.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank you Tony!

    I was beginning to doubt El Reg's credentials but you have decided to bite rather than lick the hand that feeds IT.

    One thing though: the US model comes with a 5800mAh battery, not 5200. Its capacity is almost a third more than the UK's.

    I agree about the "caveat emptor" but Asus told me at least twice on the phone before I received mine that it would have a 5200 battery. I called them because the supplier (play.com) didn't have a clue, and suggested I talked to Asus.

  6. Kenny Millar
    Flame

    Can't legally have a shorter warranty in europe.

    European law REQUIRES that everything comes with a minimum 2 Years warranty. A fact that seems to be lost on most manufacturers.

    We should also remember that warranties are IN ADDITTION to our statutory rights, which state that anything we 'buy' must be 1. Merchantable quality, 2. Fit for purpose and 3.Last a reasonable amount of time.

    No amount of clever wording in your '12 month' warranty can take away from your statutory right for things to work for a 'reasonable amount' of time.

  7. Steven Raith
    Paris Hilton

    Do they supply the hi-cap battery...

    ...as an optional extra?

    Hardly ideal, but for an on-the-go laptomajobamajig, a spare battery isn't a bad thing, is it?

    Better than [what appears to be] the kick in the teeth the EU buyers seem to be getting at the moment.

    Steven R

    Paris, because she prefers hicap batteries, but not for her EeePC...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Not just Hong Kong, but singapore as well

    According to http://www.hardwarezone.com.sg/articles/view.php?id=2543&cid=14&pg=5 Asus are offering a battery replacement in Singapore as well.

    So we have

    Hong Kong - originally shipped 4400mAh, replacement programme for the 5800mAh

    Singapore - originally shipped 4400mAh, replacement programme for the 5800mAh

    US - originally shipped with 5800mAh

    UK - shipped with 4400mAh, tough, deal with it.

    Gee thanks Asus. now why didn't I wait till the MSI wind was released...

  9. Steve Evans
    Thumb Down

    Nope...

    "or buy from another country - if you can..." put up with a keyboard lacking a £ symbol and @ and " swapped... etc etc...

  10. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    Well

    Well the creative boys in Hong Kong central , the ones that brought the touch screen to the 700 series have it seems created their own unique solution with two additional "Cartman style fat ass" power packs one has a claimed 6600maH and the other is a 10400maH monster along with the standard factory jobs or so it would seem , but with that shyster town who really knows ?

    Like wow the beach babe is back , thank you very much !

  11. Ian McNee
    Stop

    SHOCK-HORROR! Asus offer less RIP-OFF in Rip-Off Britain than other IT companies...

    Is this The Daily Wail? Let me see...so the more powerful and higher spec 900 offers almost as much battery life as the old 701 - I can see plucky British punters shaking their cloth caps in outrage in the streets and kicking their whippets in frustration.

    *yawn*

    Really, get over it, what a non-story! Tell me something significant and I my might raise an eyebrow at it. For example: what's the price comparison between an Eee PC 900 in the UK/USA/HK once taxes etc. are taken into account? If the disparity is less than for M$ Fistula or a Sony PS3 then I will remain underwhelmed. If not then I might become outraged about how much we have to pay for this very desirable bit of kit.

    Please find something for us to be genuinely outraged about, I for one am not a Daily Wail reader and do not have a big red button on my back labelled "PRESS HERE FOR APOPLEXY"

  12. colin ward
    Flame

    2 year warranty as a bonus?

    excuse me if I'm wrong - but the other Eee PC's such as the 701 also come with the 2 year warranty - it's "standard" and I think it's standard on Most if not ALL Asus laptops sold in the UK / EU?

    so how can something you get free anyway - be the reason for the "cheaper" battery?

    come on Asus - why Mislead people with reviews and also info stating "2.5 to 3 hours battery life" - when on the 4400 you are very lucky to see 2 hours?

    yes you never said it came with a 5800 battery - but theres no way on earth you can get 3 hours with out it...

  13. red death
    Thumb Down

    Sounds like they have spun you or us a line

    The initial response from Asus was that the suppliers were at fault for ordering the wrong model and they offered a choice of batteries. That was soon de-bunked by any discussion with retailers who confirmed that they were given no choice.

    The latest from Asus has been that Asus UK is reviewing the situation...

    The real issue here is that the 4400 mAh battery for a UMPC is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Even with the screen dimmed and without Wifi activated the battery life is pretty pathetic - for word processing I think the longest I have had is 2 hours and frequently less. With Wifi on and doing anything more intensive then word processing it is even more limited.

    No offence to you Tony but when many of us bought our 900s your review was not available and we had to go on reviews from abroad which all had the 5800 mAh battery.

  14. Steve Medway
    Thumb Up

    WELL DONE ASUS - no joke I'm serious!!!!!!!!!!

    Well from what ASUS have stated it to the Reg It would appear that the Battery is covered for two years as well as the laptop.

    That's BRILLIANT :-)

    Batteries are classed as a 'consumable item' under UK law so the two year warranty doesn't count against batteries.

    90% of laptops sold in the UK only warranty the battery for SIX months (e.g. Toshiba) . Sony are even more evil in that their batterries are only covered for THREE months.

    I'd much rather be able to get a battery which doesn't hold it's charge after two years replaced for free than a larger capacity battery which won't be replaced as it's out of warranty.

    Come on people, Asus really arn't being playing nasty, I'd say they are playing downright fair.

    Note to Reg. Can you confirm with Asus that the battery is covered for the two years rather than just the eee itself please?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capacity faking

    Looking at a colleagues battery here, they indeed have the lower capacity version. However, the OS reports it as an over 5Ah battery read from the PCB

  16. Steve

    @Marc Lawrence & ref death

    Well guys, if you ordered before the specs were released then you have no reason to complain. It's a bit like me complaining that I ordered a new Ford Fiesta before the specs were released and then feel let down when it didn't come with a V8. After all, Ford never said it wouldn't.

    Seriously, if the spec matters that much to you then read it before you spend your money. Otherwise, live with it.

  17. Tom
    Alert

    Heres a threadfull...

    ... of ripped off UK Eee PC 900 Users;

    http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=27140

    check the thread for Asus UK phone numbers and addresses to send your complaints to.

  18. David Neil

    On warranties

    If it's a legal requirement for a 2 year warranty (as mentioned by smll fresher) how do Dell get away with their 90 days and your out of luck warranty?

  19. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Coat

    Asus is not the only one

    I just bought Wacom Bamboo Fun and was disappointed to find out that it came with pen only - no mouse nor spare "nibs", both of which are supplied with same product sold in US. Separate purchase of these accessories set me back by ~50 euro (apparently available only from Wacom shop online). No mouse was explicitly promised in any of the marketing material I found in UK, but I assumed (wrongly, as it turns out) that product reviews written by American users would also apply to product sold in Europe. Mouse was just one obscure detail that I missed - as the vendor hoped I would. Maybe because I turned my attention to another, more visible difference between markets : black version is only available in US, but not in Europe. Which reminds me of leaks that Asus Eee 901 might be available in black. Exercise to the reader : watch our for other specification differences between "white" and "black" version.

  20. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    Flame

    @Ian McNee

    Ian McNee - you should bother to read the article and engage whatever brain cells you have before flailing about with your foot in your mouth...

    It's *not* an article complaining that the EEE 900 has a different capacity/life to the earlier 701, it's that the EEE 900 sold in the UK has a different (considerably lower) battery capacity than those sold in the US.

  21. andy gibson
    Unhappy

    laptop warranties

    What's the warranty of the battery though? I've seen some manufacturers claim the warranty on a new laptop is 1 year but only 6 months on the battery. I recently heard that Samsung only provide a THREE MONTH warranty on the charger.

  22. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    Nice one Reg

    Given the increased competition for small, cure and useful PC's. You have to look at what the others have. They all do what the asus does and because it is no longer cheap and cheerful at £300+ you have to look at the specs a lote more. Tha means the battery life as well as wifi, SD cards and bluetooth etc.

    So perhaps ther other alternatives can nip in here and steal it.

    Though their reasoning sounds like why Vista costs twice as much instead of half price.

    @Ian Mcnee, you need to live in the real world. Whippets, cloth caps... I live in Yorkshire and that doesn't happen here and that IS the most back to basics place. It's all hoodies and burberry now. Only the toffs of the dales still wear the caps.

    That being said. As for the daily mail. Sadly most yocals round here read the sun, so probably can't understand battery as it has more than one syllabel. The sun readers coping with more than one is a rare treat.

  23. red death
    Stop

    @ Steve

    The 900 has been on sale for over 3 weeks now and there are no official specs. Most retailers just quote what Asus produced for the 70x series Eee ie 2.8-3.5 hours battery life. Is it not reasonable to expect the new flagship model to have at least the same battery as previous top models? The 900 is more power hungry (bigger screen and faster operating processor) than the 8GB 701 yet comes with a smaller battery...

    Plus some reviewers were supplied with a 5800 battery when the retail units were coming with 4400 batteries - that is dishonest or a mistake.

    But the real point is about how can a laptop that is designed as a UMPC be expected to function with such a poor battery and why should we in the UK just roll over when it seems that everyone else is either getting a replacement battery or the 5800 from the start?

    C'mon people let's not be side-tracked by the red herring of the warranty issue.

    This is really about useability not specs or warranties.

  24. Ian McNee
    Flame

    Dear Nick Ryan

    Actually Nick I credited other readers here with the intelligence to spot that my point was that:

    (i) in spite of having a battery with a lower capacity than the same model available in the US and elsewhere it still has a very usable battery life;

    (ii) there are more significant things to get upset about.

    I'll be happy to supply you with the Fisher-Price explanation of El Reg article comments in future :)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Wrong lifestyle shot

    Why the rickety old beach babe?

    I want the new wine guzzling 'housewife'.

  26. red death
    Unhappy

    Dear Ian McNee

    Our definitions of "usable battery life" are obviously very different if you think that 1.5 to 2 hours is enough for what is marketed as an ultra-mobile laptop.

  27. colin ward
    Alert

    stranger...

    ok - now Italy are starting to get stock of the eee pc 900..

    and they are getting the 5800 mAH battery... AND the 2 year warranty..

    last time I checked Italy was in the EU...

    same as the UK

    come on Asus.. whats the game???

  28. roger

    Disappointing

    its shocking that Asus are spouting this drivel about the 2 year warranty preventing the uk from receiving these batteries when their are reports that Italy is receiving both the 2 year warranty and the better battery.

    this really doesn't seem fair

  29. Adam Elphick
    Thumb Down

    Shocking disregard for early UK buyers

    I like so many UK buyers scrambled to buy the eee900 as soon as it came out. I believe this shows commitment to Asus especially as many many 900 buyers were ex-700/701 owners!

    None of us expected the UK only to be completely shafted over the 900's power requirements. It is an absolute disgrace that for some weird reason Asus thinks the 900 will take less power in the UK. I mean where do they get this information from? We pay more in the UK for the machine, yet have a laptop that now run's for less time than ANY other country's version! They state all sorts of rubbish about the battery issue to different complainants. The latest being 'European 900s come with both types of battery' yet Italy is the latest country to get 5800mAh from the start...

    Come on Asus do the right thing. You may have our money for this 900, but unless you sort somethign out for the 'loyal' I am afraid not only will you lose our future trade, but also taint your previously good image. Doing this to the UK goes against your own company Mission Statement!

  30. Dave
    Thumb Down

    ASUS is still not telling the truth, it's nothing but a UK RIP-OFF!!!

    So the UK gets the inferior old Surf battery because ASUS have to comply with EU law? what a joke!

    If their "excuse" about the warranty was actually true why are their reports on the forum at www.eeeuser.com of Italians buying EeePC900's in Italy from authorised stockists (ie. not grey imports) BUT SUPPLIED WITH THE PROPER 5800 mAh BATTERY? Or has Itely suddenly left the EU?

    Come on ASUS, either do the right thing and upgrade the batteries of the early adopters, say, everyone who registered before 20th May, OR tell us you don't care about the UK market.

    Maybe then we can vote with our wallets and move on to the products from a more ethical company.

  31. Matthew
    Thumb Down

    so there saying its likely to break in 2 years

    .. not very confidance inspiring is it?

    Why not just get acer aspire.. build quality is just as good as an eee, better battery life and chaper!

  32. Laurence
    Go

    Don't taint the eeepc's brilliance ASUS!

    I would like to add my voice to the dissent. I'm a prospective 900 buyer (was going to buy one this evening, but i knew there was an issue with the batteries -- little did I know how big it was until I read this thread).

    ASUS need to do something, and fast - they are losing prospective buyers because of this one issue. It would be a real shame for the 900 not to fulfill its potential because of poor customer care.

    The product is excellent -- sort it out ASUS!

  33. Kevin Reader
    Dead Vulture

    I think EU warrantee's are portable

    I may be wrong but I think the EU require the warantee to be honoured in any EU country - although you might have to return it to the subsiderary you bought it from.

    That's probably the main reason they all have uk/de/it/etc subsiderary companies to do the selling.

    Buyers should also remember that the distance selling regs will allow you to return within 14 days. The law may even say a reasonable time...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Shame on you ASUS

    Well it looks like the pace is picking up now that Engadget has jumped on this - about time! Asus seem to be taken quite unaware by this, which is absolutely bizarre. Do they not understand the anticipation about these items, and the fact that early adopters worldwide are comparing specs and running intensive tests? Jerry Shen has been receiving direct emails and passing them to Emily in the UK - lets hope she points out to Jerry that this won't just go away, and needs to be resolved immediately if Asus want to salvage their reputation.

  35. colin ward
    Thumb Up

    People Power wins - kinda

    well, well well...

    after many complaints - least not from the great users at Eeeuser.com - we have it sorted...almost

    Asus UK today has confirmed, that they are working on a rebate scheme whereby for approx £10 early purchasers will be supplied with a 5800 battery.

    an official announcement will be made in due course but this won't be before they are able to secure enough 5800 batteries. At the moment they do not have enough. I couldn't get a timescale out of him but he said they are definitely going to do something.

    they admitted that the 3 hour claim on ToysRUs POS material and the several hours in the manual was based on the higher capacity battery and also that we (UK) received the 4400 battery as there weren't enough 5800 batteries.

    they agreed you cannot get 3 hours with the current battery even with his own tests.

    so due to Asus qouting the same 3 hour battery life everywhere - even in places with the much smaller battery we get a result

    so we pay £10 for a 5800 battery -and from what we can gather - we keep the tatty old 4400 as a spare..

    lets hope an Official statement comes from Asus UK shortly..

  36. Sabbie
    Happy

    It could be worse ..

    I bought one of these systems and have so far been happy with it .. the fact that we are now offered a new battery for a small fee of a tenner is great .. There was obviously a mess up with the marketing and reviews etc but I feel Asus have addressed this .. The concerns I keep reading about online are that we are being ripped off in the UK .. Asus have taken note of us and said ok for a small admin fee we will give you a battery that costs £45 quid for £10 .. I feel they are being fair and not just brushing us under the carpet ..

    I would still recommend an Eee Pc to friends and family as for its purpose and price tag is a great little gadget .. Battery life on the smaller battery is still superior to my partners laptop ..

    All in all I am a very happy customer ..

  37. red death
    Thumb Down

    Battery poll

    Sabbie - do you work for Asus ;-)

    Seriously, I am happy with the Eee except for the battery which is crippling it as a laptop - 1.5 hours is not acceptable in anyway.

    Anyway there is a poll here which is producing some interesting results already:

    http://www.mobilecomputermag.co.uk/20080602546/is-the-eee-pc-900-battery-brouhaha-a-storm-in-a-teacup.html#josc648

    The poll is on the right hand side under the ad.

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