ASUS has certainly changed the netbook game a bit with its Eee PC Seashell line, aesthetically-speaking, anyway. Slimmed down and sleek, the Seashell's one of the handsomest netbooks we've seen. When we reviewed the 1008HA just a few weeks back, we had just a few minor issues with it, but overall, found it to boast a solid user experience. The Eee PC Seashell 1005HA is nearly identical to its elder brother, but presents some small changes for the better without sacrificing these now famous looks. Read on for our full impressions and hands-on photo gallery.
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ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1005HA unboxing and hands-on
The 10.1-inch 1005HA boasts an Intel Atom N280 CPU, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 160GB, 2.5-inch SATA II HDD, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, and a 6-cell battery. As we mentioned earlier, it's nearly identical to the previously reviewed 1008HA -- so what is different here? Well, ASUS has canned the recessed ports and their accompanying flip doors in favor of more traditional, regular old ports. We have to say, this is a definite step up. Though the aesthetics change a bit, you don't sacrifice much in the way of looks for a big gain in function. Likewise with the VGA situation. On the 1008HA, ASUS creatively tucked the video port on the bottom of the chassis -- which, in practice wasn't really the best placement. For the 1005HA, it's on the left side, in a more convenient location (though we'd prefer output options beyond VGA). Other than that, you're still looking at 802.11 B/G/N Wi-Fi, 10/100Mbps Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. While the first Seashell we looked at boasted a 3-cell lithium polymer integrated (read: non-removable) battery. The 1005HA, on the other hand, sports a 6-cell, totally swappable battery -- likely to be a big plus for some.
The 1005HA, unsurprisingly performs nearly identically to the 1008HA. The keyboard is really comfy and easy to type on, the dimpled trackpad is one that we really, really enjoy using -- with a tactile chrome rocker and scrolling via dragging your finger along the right side of the pad which works very well. It boots pretty snappily, and then there's the battery. The addition of the 6-cell will surely be a positive for many users. It adds some noticeable heft to the machine, and also makes it rest a bit differently on the lap, but we got a full eight to eight and a half hours of decently heavy usage out of it -- pretty darn close to the 10-hour advertised life.
Overall, the 1005HA is a nice -- and understandable -- addition to the Seashell lineup. The few changes that have been made are good ones, and users who want the additional battery life (and to dispense with the port covers) probably won't mind the added weight (from 2.2 to 2.8 pounds). At $389, the 1005HA is a bit less cash than the 1008HA -- which runs around $430 -- as well. Check out the gallery for unboxing and hands-on photos, plus some comparison shots of the two models.