Asus Eee PC 1008HA 'Seashell' netbook

Written by Tim Smalley

May 14, 2009 | 10:27

Tags: #battery #design #eee #evaluation #keyboard #life #netbook #performance #review #specifications #trackpad

Companies: #asus #test

Features & Build Quality

Like so many other netbooks these days, the 1008HA features a finger print magnet – it's something that Borat would probably request if he was buying a netbook. It's naiiice!

Or not.

In fact, it's probably our single biggest disappointment with the 1008HA because there's no avoiding the inevitable finger prints and the black finish is probably the worse showcase of this. We had a brief play around with the white version a few weeks ago and although it picked up the finger prints, they weren't quite as visible as they are on the black finish. Out of the four colours available then – black, white, red and pink – we'd recommend the white version.

The finger prints don't take away from what's a gorgeous design though and, in many respects, we prefer the Seashell's svelte figure to Asus' previous design-led netbook, the Eee PC S101. Unfortunately though, the 1008HA isn't quite as sturdy as the S101 – our usual build quality test highlighted this perfectly.

Asus Eee PC 1008HA 'Seashell' netbook Features & Build Quality Asus Eee PC 1008HA 'Seashell' netbook Features & Build Quality
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Picking the 1008HA up by its corner reveals an uncomfortable amount of creak in the all-plastic camshell. If you're a bit more heavy-handed, there's a noticeable amount of flex in both the screen and the base.

it's understandable but it is a cause for concern even factoring in its incredibly sleek dimensions – it's just 18mm thick (when closed) at its thinnest point and expands to 26mm at its fattest point, which makes even the excellent Samsung NC10 look a little fat at 37mm. What's more, the Eee PC 1008HA tips the scales at just 1.13kg compared to the NC10's chunky 1.31kg curb weight.

Asus Eee PC 1008HA 'Seashell' netbook Features & Build Quality Asus Eee PC 1008HA 'Seashell' netbook Features & Build Quality
Click to enlarge

The screen is a glossy type and features the familiar LED-backlit 1,024 x 600 native pixel grid we've become accustomed to on Netbooks. It's not a bad example of a transreflective screen and although it does naturally reflect, it’s not so bad that it ever interferes with using the machine like it did on the Dell Inspiron Mini 12. Viewing angles are pretty good and the transreflective finish does help to add a touch of vibrancy to photos in particular, but the panel’s TN heritage is impossible to hide.

One of the most interesting decisions Asus has made is how it has hidden all of the expansion ports from view with a number of flaps – this was clearly a design-led decision to protect the 1008HA’s sleek curves, but it does make using the ports a bit of a fiddle. Unclipping the flap on the left hand edge reveals a single USB 2.0 port and a mini DisplayPort connector. On the right hand edge, there are a couple of flaps – the one closest to the rear edge hides a lone 10/100 Ethernet connector, while the larger one hides another USB 2.0 port and the two 3.5mm audio jacks.

Asus Eee PC 1008HA 'Seashell' netbook Features & Build Quality Asus Eee PC 1008HA 'Seashell' netbook Features & Build Quality
Click to enlarge

Surprisingly, Asus looks to be the first netbook manufacturer to implement a digital display output and a number of you might be worried by the lack of a D-SUB connector. Fortunately, Asus alleviates these worries with a magnetic expansion connector that is conveniently housed in the 1008HA’s underside – it’s quite an interesting way of doing things and again, it’s clearly done to keep the Seashell’s svelte lines free from any interruptions.
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