Asus Seashell review: Eee PC 1008HA

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

Price
£320

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.

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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.

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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.

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