Review: Asus Eee PC 1101HA

 
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Published: November 19, 2009 11:00 PM
By Fabien Pionneau
The Eee PC 1101HA netbook is the largest model in Asus's Seashell line. With its 11.6'', 16:9 format display, it's designed for comfortable use. Asus' press release claims that this range of netbooks 'draws its inspiration from seashells' and stresses the aesthetics of this model's 'opalescent and glossy exterior.'

Handling: Nicely finished, but too much gloss


The Eee PC 1101HA is available in two colours, black and white. This netbook has a good deal of class, with a totally glossy finish, except on the keyboard and the underside. This approach undeniably gives it an elegant look (provided you like glossy finishes), but it’s also its major defect. Reflections are all too visible and greasy fingerprints are inevitable after a few minutes of use. The result is that you tend to spend a lot of time wiping it down, before finally giving up and living with it, fingerprints and all.

Asus Eee PC 1101HA

The keyboard is wide, with big, smooth, flat keys measuring 17 x 16 mm. Typing is comfortable, despite a certain firmness to the touch. The additional functions are clearly visible, identified by a blue logo.


The multi touch trackpad blends into the rest of the shell, standing out only because of the little bumps embossed into its surface. This gives it a somewhat unaccustomed feel, but gliding is fast and precise nonetheless. The click bar is chromed and set just below the touchpad. The quality is good, but clicking is a bit noisy.

Asus Eee PC 1101HA webcamThe image produced by the webcam is just adequate. The colours are a little too warm, and overexposed areas tend to burn. The image lacks fluidity.

The Asus Eee PC 1101HA is a quiet netbook. Most of the time all you can hear is a slight ventilation noise.  It only gets louder during processor-intensive photo and video tasks

Connectivity is very standard. There are three USB 2.0 ports, one VGA, a headphone out, a mic in, an RJ45, a 2-in-1 memory-card reader and an anti-theft connector. WiFi b/g/n is also included. We’d like to have seen an HDMI connector on this model.



Under the netbook is a single panel providing access to the RAM. The battery is removable.

Asus Eee PC 1101HA Asus Eee PC 1101HA
Headphones, mic, 2 USB 2.0, RJ45
Headphones, mic, 2 USB 2.0, RJ45
Asus Eee PC 1101HA Asus Eee PC 1101HA
Power, VGA, USB, anti-theft
Touchpad

Processing power: Office applications only


The Intel Atom Z520 processor in the Eee PC 1101HA is one of the slower models in the Atom series. Its performance index only hit 14, compared to the 20 achieved by the Asus 1008HA, which uses the Atom N280, and the 100 of our reference, the Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Xi 3650 and its Intel Core 2 Duo T9400. So if you're the impatient type, don’t plan on using this netbook for photo or video applications. But it’s powerful enough for running basic office applications and browsing the Web.

While the CPU is short on performance, the chipset associated with it is very video-oriented. In fact, it can decode HD video. With hardware acceleration enabled, CPU usage dropped from 100% (in other words, unplayable) to a little less than 40% (tested with PowerDVD).

Gaming: Little or no 3D

The Intel GMA 500 graphics processor just doesn’t have the muscle needed for gaming. You can forget the great majority of 3D games.

Audio: Only the headphone output passes muster

The sound from the netbook’s speakers is poor. There’s no depth (no bass) and the treble is predominant. But then that’s par for the course for netbooks. Only the headphone output is worthwhile, it’s free of hiss and feedback.

Portability & Battery Life:  A good score despite the display size

At 5 hours, 15 minutes playing video (Wi-Fi disabled, headphones plugged in, brightness set at 100 cd/m²), the 1101HA is in the high average for netbooks. It scored better than the two models that use the NVIDIA ION chipset: the Samsung N510 clocked 4 hours, 6 minutes, and the Compaq Mini 311c 4 hours, 52 minutes. But do remember that both of those netbooks have better performance, especially with 3D.



The six-cell, 4400 mAh battery is well-integrated and protrudes only slightly under the machine. Weighing in at 1.4 kg, the 1101HA is on a par with the Samsung N510 – in other words, light enough. The charger is also very small and takes up very little space in your laptop case.
4/5 Asus Eee PC 1101HA DigitalVersus 2009-11-20 00:00:00

Pros

  • Good quality finish
  • Large display
  • Comfortable to use
  • Battery life: 5 hours, 15 minutes
  • Can play HD video

Cons

  • Glossy, poor-quality LCD panel
  • Glossy plastics everywhere--very shiny and easy to get dirty
  • Sluggish performance
  • Video games won't run
  • Disappointing audio

Conclusion

Asus' largest Eee PC is getting user comfort right. The 1101HA is a handsome netbook, though unfortunately too much use has been made of glossy surfaces and its performance is below par. We did like the HD support and reasonable battery life, though.

OUR SCORE 4/5
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