For its Eee PC Seashell series, Asus claims to have been inspired by one of nature’s most beautiful creations: seashells. From this starting point, Asus have created an elegant and functional series. The range is headed up by this very light 1008HA: 1.1 Kg. It has more or less the same components as the 1000HE, so how is this model any different?
Handling, design and build
Asus has held true in terms of the finesse of the product. There is a noticeable difference in volume with the 1000HE or even the 1005HA. A second point differentiates it from the smaller 1005HA: traps for the connectors. To reinforce the hermetic look of the product, Asus had gone for traps to put BSB sockets and other connectivity behind, which adds to the overall aesthetic.
The keyboard takes up almost the entire available surface. The keys are wide and comfortable to use. The arrows bottom right are very particularly shaped. The top and bottom arrow keys are arranged within one key’s space. The multitouch touchpad is built into the casing. Its surface is demarcated by a series of small bumps and extends over a 6.5 x 3 cm area. Under it, a shiny, metal monobloc bar gives you access to right and left clicks.
The webcam slightly burns the colours for the lighter tones. Nevertheless, you don’t get the dominant red that is visible on the most recent Eee PC tested, which is a good thing. The sound captured by the microphone is a little metallic and there is a permanent background noise.
On the sides of the device, behind the coverings, you’ll find: 2 USBs (could have more), 1 RJ45, 2 mini-jacks, an SD format card reader and 1 mini VGA. Asus supply a mini VGA to VGA adaptor (housed under the casing) for use with the mini VGA socket. We were surprised by how low in height the RJ45 socket is. This is explained by the fact that the product casing lowers to reveal the total height needed for connectivity. A last point, the fineness of the casing has an up and down side. It is difficult to insert a thick USB key (see image below).
There is no access to components from under the netbook, nor to the battery.
||USB, 2 mini-jacks
|mini VGA, USB
||Limited USB access
The results obtained for various netbooks are very comparable. This is because almost all of them use Intel Atom N270 or N280 processors. In practice there is little difference between them. The results of tests compared to an index of 100 attributed ot the Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Xi3560 (Intel T9400), give 19 for the 1000HE (N270) and 20 for the 1008HA. In other words almost the same and 3 to 6 times slower than a good laptop, depending on the tests.
Playing films, you’ll have to draw the line at heavy HD files (Blu-Ray type files).
Generally speaking, gaming on netbooks is only for real fanatics as graphics quality is low.
As usual, don’t count on the audio quality of the various audio sections of your netbook. That said, the audio on the 1008 does the job. The sound is clean and sharp and there isn’t too much interference on the headphones out. We’re far from hi-fi quality but for a netbook, it really is ok.
Battery life and portability
The big selling point with this netbook is its weight: just 1.1 Kg for a 10 inch screen. The charger is also featherweight at just 190 g. To help here, Asus has reduced the size of the metal connections so as to get them to around 2 mm. This really is thin and we hope that they won’t be too fragile.
Playing films continuously, with the screen brightness at 100cd/m², the headphones plugged in and Wi-Fi turned off, the 1008HA battery lasted 3h20. Much lower than the 1000HE that lasted just under 6 hours but that is 350 g heavier. As a consequence we have given it a four here, largely because of how light it is.