One more question: If I ruled out the importance of DVDs and CDs, would the Asus be a better choice for net access and email?
Suz, if all you want is a laptop for web surfing and emailing, the Eee PC is a great choice. I use mine for all that and more (word processing, reviewing digital photos (the screen's too small and processor seriously underpowered for serious digital photo editing, but just right for sorting out usable and unusable shots), and lots of word processing. Just make sure you're comfortable with the smaller screen size.
And it might replace your DVD player, too. Some people are using their iPod with the Eee as an in-flight video player.