The standard Eee status LEDs - power, hard drive activity, wireless and Caps Lock - are here mounted in the hinge, which pivots within the thickness of the machine, angling the screen lower than it is on may other netbooks, including Asus'.
A good keyboard for typing
Below, the keyboard's angular but not the chiclet kind. Still, it's got a reasonably solid foundation, extends almost the full 262mm width of the machine and is comfortable to type on.
Actually, the trackpad's comfortable too. Like the one on the pre-production Seashell, it has no edge, allowing you to run your finger from one side of the 1008HA to the other with no interruption. That was slightly odd before, but Asus has now given the touchpad a bump texture to give you a tactile guide to its limits.
The odd, bumped trackpad is surprisingly nice to use
We like it. You don't slip off the edge and wonder why the cursor's not moving yet there's no edge to get in the way. The bumps are tiny and don't impede your fingers progress. It's multi-touch too, but only to allow pinch-to-zoom gestures. Where's the two-finger scrolling, Asus? That's the only multi-touch gesture worth having.
The buttons are formed from a single, smooth piece of plastic, but unlike the ones on many early netbooks, the Seashell's have a gentle action, triggering with a light tap rather than a good, hard push. Thumbs up for that.
One of the more work-friendly netbooks around
We're less sure about the covers over the 1008HA's ports - which include only two, not three USB sockets, one on each side. They're no substitute for the Air's flip-down port mechanism, leaving you to pull off plastic covers every time you need a port. Unlike the Air, you do get a second USB port, Ethernet (behind its own cover, which opens sideways and barely far enough for the cable header), a 3.5 audio in as well as an headphones port, and a VGA connector.
@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.