The netbooks in Asus' Eee PC Seashell series have always been among the best-looking models on the market. That hasn't stopped Asus trying to spice things up further, however. It's reached out to eccentric fashion designer Karim Rashid in a bid to extend the appeal of the 10.1-inch Eee PC 1008P Seashell to fashionistas far and wide. The Eee PC 1008P Seashell Karim Rashid is available to buy now for around £330.
Hot pink or brown?
The 1008P Seashell Karim Rashid is based on the standard 1008P chassis. It's had a few tweaks, though -- the slick, glossy surface of the original has been replaced by something that resembles snakeskin, or the lining of an alligator's spleen. Its surface is clad with hundreds of small, rectangular scales, each of which is twisted slightly, giving the netbook's surface an unusual texture and spectacular light-reflecting properties. It's available in brown or in a pink finish that only Carrie Bradshaw could pull off.
Form over function
This 1008P model has a number of other cool touches that separate it from the crowd. Its ports are shrouded behind flaps in order to preserve the uniformity of its pink, leathery appearance. Also, its battery is located inside the chassis, rather than being clipped on at the rear. To access it, you'll need to slide a switch on the base of the netbook, open a flap and tease the flat, rectangular battery from its hatch.
Asus could have opted for a larger battery. Instead, it's decided to go for form over function. Whether that's a good move depends on how aesthetically driven you are.
Values your input
Netbooks have a reputation for offering terrible keyboards and trackpads, but that's not the case with this 1008P. Asus has plenty of experience of shoehorning large input devices into small frames, and has once again delivered a comfortable keyboard with isolated keys that's extremely easy to use, even when touch typing.
The netbook's trackpad is also a joy to use. Its textured surface provides great feedback beneath the fingers, and it's highly accurate. It also recognises multi-touch gestures.
Surprisingly, Asus hasn't stuffed this 1008P to the gills with superfluous extras. There's no cheesy screensavers or pointless, fashion-inspired software -- just a couple of desktop wallpapers to spruce up Windows 7 Starter.
Like the standard Seashell netbooks, this 1008P also features Express Gate -- an alternative graphical user interface that's less capable but boots far more quickly than Windows 7. Hit the alternative power button to the top left of the keyboard and you'll be given access to a Web browser, instant-messaging client and multimedia files in under 10 seconds.
It's fair to say that the 1008P's beauty is only skin-deep. Beneath the flashy surface, it's just another netbook. Inside, it uses an Intel Atom N450 CPU clocked at 1.66GHz, 1GB of RAM, and a 250GB hard drive. A further 500GB of free storage is available via Asus' WebStorage system, which lets you stash your data online.
In the PCMark05 benchmark test, the netbook scored 1,422, which puts it on a par with most rivals. That score translates to fairly average performance. The machine will lend itself well to everyday tasks, such as browsing the Web, watching BBC iPlayer, basic office-productivity chores and simple image editing, but it'll start to struggle if you attempt anything more demanding.
Its battery life is fairly average, too. In the intensive Battery Eater Classic test, the netbook lasted a mere 3 hours and 34 minutes, which is nowhere near the 8 hours and 41 minutes achieved by the very similar Eee PC 1005PE. This, it's fair to say, is a result of the decision to use a smaller, more discrete battery pack than the one found in most Eee PCs.
Asus' Eee PC 1008P Seashell Karim Rashid isn't the best netbook on the market. Arguably, almost any of the other machines in the Seashell range are superior. But, if you don't mind its limited battery life, and you really want a netbook that stands out from the crowd, it'll probably be right up your catwalk.
Edited by Charles Kloet