For a company that delivers so many great innovations, Asus seems to be stuck in a rut when it comes to the design and names of its netbooks. Not only does the 10-inch Eee PC 1005HA Seashell have an almost identical handle to the Eee PC 1000HE and Eee PC 1008HA Seashell, it's also very similar physically, meaning it's extremely difficult to tell them apart. For reference, the 1005HA is the model with the removable battery and a copy of Windows 7 Starter. It's available to buy now from around £230.
All machines in the Seashell series -- the 1005HA included -- look and feel terrific. Sure, the 1005HA doesn't look anything like an actual mollusc, but it's an attractive machine with a very contemporary aesthetic. The keyboard is particularly worthy of praise -- it's 92 per cent the size of a full laptop keyboard, feels responsive, and has near-perfect travel and spring. The mouse trackpad, with its multi-touch functionality, is also a joy to use.
Two versions of the 1005HA are available -- one with an Intel Atom N270 CPU, and another with the slightly quicker Atom N280. You'll notice very little difference in performance between the two processors in day-to-day use, although Asus claims the latter boots approximately 8 seconds quicker. Both models have 1GB of RAM along with an impressive 10-inch, 1,024x600-pixel display. Crucially, some retailers are shipping the 1005HA with hard drives as large 250GB, plus an additional 500GB of online storage -- a huge improvement on the 160GB disk in the 1008HA.
The 1005HA's connectivity is fairly standard. The machine has a 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, rather than the faster 1,000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet that's available on some of its rivals. You do, however, get high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi, in addition to the slower 802.11b/g versions, plus three USB ports, one VGA port and an SD/SDHC/MultiMediaCard card reader. The version of the machine that ships with the N280 CPU also has a 1.3-megapixel webcam, as opposed to a 0.3-megapixel webcam, and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, so keep this in mind if you're into making your own YouTube movies.
The 1005HA is, as expected, pretty average in the performance department. Both CPU versions are only fast enough to perform basic tasks, such as browsing the Web, playing music, organising and light editing of photos, and playing standard-definition video. Anything more demanding -- playing 3D games or watching 1080p movies, for example -- is a bridge too far.
The 1005HA truly excels in the battery-life arena, though. Our N270 test model shipped with a six-cell, 5,800mAh battery, which helped it last an impressive 6 hours and 15 minutes in Battery Eater's intensive Classic test. Your mileage will vary depending on use. The 1005HA is also available with 5,600mAh or 4,400mAh batteries, both of which offer slightly inferior battery life.
It's hard to find fault with the Eee PC 1005HA Seashell. Sure, it's not as impressive as the larger, slightly more powerful Acer Ferrari One, but it's a great all-rounder and comfortable to use, and it also offers fantastic battery life. As such, it's up there with the best of the netbook bunch.
Edited by Charles Kloet