Asus Seashell review: Eee PC 1008HA

Reviews 20 May, 2009

Surely not another Asus Eee PC netbook. Sasha explains why this one stands out from the crowd.

4
Price: 
£320
ex VAT
Verdict: 
Stunning design goes hand in hand with fine usability, but the non-replaceable battery and high price count against it.

The arrival of yet another Asus netbook might not seem much of an event - after all, prospective purchasers can already befuddle themselves with the other 22 in the range - but its latest, the 1008HA, is a little bit special.

Glossy plastic reaches around its gorgeous, curvy physique, and whatever colour you plump for - choose from black, white, red or pink - the slim, futuristic lines are more reminiscent of Apple's far pricier Macbook Air than the average netbook: a commendable achievement given the price.

It isn't, however, quite as sturdy-feeling as Asus' previous design-led netbook, the stunning S101. Pick up the 1008HA by the corner and the all-plastic construction creaks gently in response. Dare to be a little rougher with it, and you'll discover noticeable flex in both the chassis and the glossy screen above.

But, a few creaks here and there are understandable given the headline weight of just 1.13kg and dimensions that peak at just 26mm thick. Next to this netbook, even the class leader - the Samsung's NC10 - looks chunky at 37mm thick and a little overweight at 1.31kg.

The clean, crisp lines of the Seashell's figure are aided and abetted by a number of design choices, some sensible, some less so. The most glaringly obvious of these is Asus' decision to secrete all the ports and connectors away out of sight.

Unclip the flaps on the left and right-hand edge of the Seashell and you'll discover two USB ports, a 10/100 Ethernet socket, two 3.5mm audio minijacks and a curious little socket, which looks rather like one of the mini-USB variety. It's nothing of the sort, however, and is actually a mini-VGA port. To save space, Asus provides a VGA dongle which, cleverly, stows away in a magnetic compartment in the 1008HA's underside.

Other compromises are a little more difficult to forgive, however. Flip the 1008HA over and you'll spot the second omission: there's no removable battery. To keep the Seashell's figure suitably trim, Asus has opted for a three-cell internal Lithium Polymer battery rated at just 2,900mAh.

Specifications: 

Processor: 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280

Memory: 1GB 533MHz DDR2 RAM;

Storage: 160GB hard disk;

Graphics: Intel GMA 950 graphics;

Display: 10.2in 1,024 x 600 TFT;

Ports: 15-pin mini VGA out; 2 x USB, card reader;

Connectivity: 802.11bgn + draft-n WLAN; 10/100 Ethernet;

Bluetooth 2.1; 1.3MP webcam;

Operating System: Windows XP Home 32-bit;

Warranty: 1yr RTB warranty;

Dimensions: 262 x 178 x 26mm;

Weight: 1.13kg.