Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell
The skinniest netbook yet - and the best?
Review We liked the Asus Eee PC 1008HA - aka Seashell - when we first saw it at the CeBit show this past March. Asus has done 'luxury' netbooks before - most notably the Eee PC S101 - but they never won us over. Just too darn angular for us. You might as well have a regular netbook and pay a lot less for it.
But the 1008HA, with its MacBook Air-inspired curves, contoured port covers and, crucially, sheer darn skinniness made us think it might be something worthy of purchase.
Asus' Eee 1008HA: MacBook Air for buyers on a budget?
The potential stumbling blocks were, as always, price, performance and practicality. Asus' most stylish netbooks have never been cheap, and then there was the company's confession that the 1008HA has a built-in battery that you can't take out and replace.
If the ability to swap the battery, no matter how long its runtime, is a deal-breaker for you, the 1008HA's performance and styling are unlikely to win you over. Fear not, Asus has an alternative model on the way, the 1005H. It does have a removable battery and sports the 1008HA's features and looks. It'll be cheaper too, though the catch is that it'll be substantially thicker and heavier than the machine we have in front of us here.
We'll be taking a look at the 1005H shortly. In the meantime, if you want a really slim and sexy netbook, the 1008HA is the only option available to you right now. And there's a lot to enjoy. Like the Air, the Seashell is considerably thicker in the middle than it is at the edges, but it's still very thin. Closed and sat flat on the desk, its lid doesn't even reach as hight as the keyboard of our Aspire One A110 - and that's the thinner version of the Acer, the one with the SSD rather than an HDD.
The 1008HA has a hard drive, a 2.5in 5400rpm Sata unit with a 160GB capacity, the de facto storage standard for netbooks now. Unlike past Eees, the 1008HA doesn't have any hatches on the base for access to the HDD or the memory. So that's easy upgrades out of the question.
@AC - REFUNDS?
>claim a refund from Microsoft for the unused XP license.
My understanding in the UK is that you have to claim the refund from the vendor you bought the PC from. laarge vendors seem to make a habit of accepting the EULA for you before they hand the machine over, so you don't get the chance. It certainly cuts the ill-informed out of their rights.
The only succesful attempts I have heard of involved Photographing each screen during the initial power up process, including the EULA rejection; going via the weights-and-measures people; and issuing a claim in the small claims court.
I think this sort of thing should be on the EU's agenda, as uk.gov would certainly side with M$
I agree that ultraportables, like the Q40 Ramazan mentions, have a completely different niche as compared to netbooks, but as you say, a £300+ machine is not that chuck-about-able at all, and in all fairness, you can find older £1000+ machines for £150 on eBay as well. I use my old Vaio TR5 that is 5 years old for netbook tasks, but I just love that it is the same weight range (1.4 Kg) and same dimensions (10.6 inch screen), but with a great keyboard, and with 1280x768 resolution, and the screen is of such a high quality that it is entirely usable. It is no longer my main laptop so I don't mind it taking a bit of a battering either, but it really is a great little machine that I will be sorry to see die off.
I would like to see how the Atom handles an Oracle instance which I need for work, as the little Pentium M ULV could work happily away with it, and the higher rez allows for useful spreadsheet viewing, but then again, those tasks are not what netbooks are designed for! Unfortunately, with the growth of netbooks into the larger, pricier form, such as the Acer Aspire 751, people will be thinking of them as small notebooks and that may well turn people off them.
As per other posters, it will be interesting to see what the new, small, ARM based machines will do to the market - I have noticed they are growing as a sector over in the Far East, but that region always produces many items that never make it over to the West...
Skinny Beach Bird
I wanna see a skinny Beach Bird to match the skinny eeee.
The other one was a bit of a porker.
If you don't like the pre-installed windows XP, install Linux and claim a refund from Microsoft for the unused XP license.
@@Ramazan & @Peter Gathercole
Thanks Big Bear. Yup, aside from highlighting the omission of the detail in the review, if I had to be pinned down to making a point, it would merely be this: a weight of 1.1kg is (as Senor Tony Smith points out) nice to have. But it's hardly a revolution.
I'm not gonna slate the machine before I've seen it in the flesh, but the price/features combo doesn't make me want to trade in my NC10. That's not to say that £380 is an utter rip off for what you get. Just that £380 is more than I'd pay for what I want a netbook for.
I'm very happy with my NC10, but if I was going to replace my NC10, it would probably be in the other direction to the 1008HA - I'd probably plump for a second hand EEE 901. It's a largely comparable machine to the NC10, but with an SSD. And "from under £150" on eBay it'd be eminently more chuck-about-able than a new £300 NC10.
It goes without saying that anyone who mentions thin little £1000+ Sonys/Samsungs or 14"+Dual Core £400 Dells/Acers in a thread about netbooks is utterly missing the point.
I made the point about installing these Fisher Price broken Linuxes was a bad bad move, but got utterly shouted down by a few folk for being an MS apologist. I'm far from it. But MS realised the situation and at an effective price of less than £20 a pop, they started giving XP away as a stalling measure until Win7 arrives. It'll be interesting to see how things pan out in the Win7 era.
Isn't the Samsung Q40 an ultraportable in the £1,000+ price bracket? W is comparing a bunch of cheap netbooks, hence no mention of the stupidly expensive Fujitsu Porteges or Sony Vaio T-series machines, which are all in the same size and weight range as netbooks but have much more capability like Core 2 Duo CPUs, fast RAM, integral optical drives, and decent screen resolutions. Of course, good quality components like those cost a lot more money...