Asus Eee PC 1000HE review

A slew of products have appeared since Asus introduced the concept of the modern netbook computer. We look at its latest machine, which claim 'all day' battery life. Does it have the staying power?

Asus claims that this increased capacity results in a battery life of nine and a half hours and, while that's a little optimistic, our tests proved that battery life is still superb: in our light use test, the 1000HE lasted just shy of six and a half hours. It even performed well in our heavy use test, lasting just over five hours. It's one of the first netbooks we've seen that could, conceivably, last a working day.

There's been some cosmetic changes, too. The childish white chassis of the original has been replaced by a glossy black finish, and the small chrome accents around the trackpad, at each end of the hinge and above the keyboard add some welcome class. It's an improvement over the original, even if it's a bit of a fingerprint magnet and still can't match the Samsung NC10 and NC20 for style.

The screen offers a small amount of flex but there's no sign of the desktop becoming distorted as you tweak and tug, and the wrist-rest offers little evidence of weakness. The 38mm height may make the 1000HE marginally chunkier than some of its netbook rivals, but the extra girth makes room for the larger battery, and the 1.45kg weight means that it's easy to toss the Asus into a bag.

This stylish makeover has meant that the traditional keyboard has been abandoned in favour of a Sony-style scrabble-tile layout. As with any netbook, the slight reduction in the size of the keys takes a while to get used to, but the positive action and reasonable amount of travel on offer mean that typing on the 1000HE is a pain-free experience.

Unfortunately, the trackpad isn't nearly as accomplished. The pad itself feels a little too sticky for our liking, lacking the pleasing light touch of the Samsung, and the pair of buttons don't feel light or clicky enough: too often, it's too much of an effort to press them, despite their decent size.

The screen is another area where old netbook deficiencies crop up. The native resolution of 1,024 x 600 is standard for a netbook, but quality is lacking: the panel suffers from grainy colour reproduction, which is especially noticeable on the plain white of a Word document, and the entire screen looks slightly washed-out. It's not a terminal criticism, though, and this latest Eee will be fine for its intended purpose of surfing the web and tapping out documents.

The screen and trackpad are average rather than outstanding, then, and the lack of HSDPA connectivity alongside the new draft-n is a minor drawback but the latest Eee PC is still well worth considering. That's due to the superb battery life, decent performance and stylish, effective keyboard. If you're looking for a netbook that can work effectively all day without a recharge, and want it to look good at the same time, then the 1000HE could be the Eee for you.

Verdict

The trackpad and screen are merely mediocre, but everything else about the Eee excels: from the excellent, all-day battery life to the satisfying keyboard and draft-n connectivity. If you’re after an Eee PC with both endurance and versatility, this is well worth consideration.

CPU: 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280 processor

Memory: 1GB 667MHz DDR2 RAM,

Storage: 160GB Seagate Momentus 5400.5 hard disk

Wireless: 802.11b/g + draft-n wirelesss,

Screen: 1,024 x 600 10in TFT

Ports: 3 x USB, 10/100 Ethernet, SD/MMC card reader, VGA output, 10MB/s ethernet

Dimensions: 266 x 191 x 38mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 1.45kg

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