Asus Eee PC 1005HA netbook review

Are you fed up with netbooks costing almost the same as fully-fledged laptops? Asus brings the concept closer to its humble beginnings with the 1005HA.

The 10.1in display marks another change, supplanting the 1008HA's glossy panel with a matte one. It's a decision that's bound to please many, with the reduced reflectivity making the 1005HA even more suited to a life on the road. Colour reproduction and contrast levels are solid without proving exceptional, but just like that of the Samsung NC10, the matte display does bring with it a noticeably grainy quality.

And despite its markedly lower price the 1005HA loses little in the way of features. Bluetooth is a notable absentee, but its absence leaves room in the budget for draft-n WiFi, which is an impressive sight in a sub-300 netbook. Peer around its matte-black edges and the 1005HA also manages to squeeze in three USB ports, an SD/MMC card reader and a set of speakers that manage to make music rather than choke it.

It's a similar story when it comes to ergonomics. Where many netbooks find their aspirations dashed by a poor keyboard or a wayward trackpad, the Asus stays firmly on target. It might not reach the tactile delights of Samsung's NC10 or N110, but the keyboard is still very fine. A full-height Enter key is partnered with a refreshingly wide right-Shift key and the layout is spacious and sensible.

The keys don't have much in the way of travel, but their positive action more than makes up for it. Even the strange-looking, dimpled trackpad works well, with multitouch gestures enabling you to quickly zoom in and out of photos or scroll effortlessly through long web pages or documents.

The 1005HA doesn't quite scale the heights of Samsung's superb N110, but for the money it's easy to cut the 1005HA a bit of slack. It's good-looking, well built and just as capable as many far pricier netbooks. If you won't settle for second best at any price then the Samsung N110 still wins out overall, but for most people, the Eee PC 1005HA is the netbook they've always wanted with the price they've always dreamed of.

Verdict

Asus redefines the affordable netbook with the capable and charming Eee PC 1005HA.

Processor: 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270

Memory: 1GB 533MHz DDR2 RAM

Storage: 160GB hard disk

Graphics: Intel GMA 950 graphics

Display: 10.1in 1,024 x 600 TFT

Connectivity:, 802.11bg + draft-n WLAN, 10/100 Ethernet, 0.3mp webcam

Ports: D-SUB out, 3 x USB, 2-in-1 card reader

OS: Windows XP Home 32-bit

Warranty: 1yr C&R international warranty

Dimensions: 262 x 178 x 37mm

Weight: 1.16kg (1.41kg)

Part Code: 1005HA-BLK083X

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