ASUS bringing 1008HA, UX50 and U80V laptops Stateside, we go hands-on

We've got the skinny on ASUS's latest North American foray, with the Eee PC 1008HA Seashell, UX50 and U80V "thin and light" all vying for your slice of the stimulus this summer. The quite familiar (by now) 1008HA will be retailing for $429, featuring 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, a new thin form factor and six hours of battery (thanks to the Super Hybrid Engine) to set it slightly apart from the netbook competition. The UX50 and U80V, on the traditional laptop angle, are a slightly odd couple, with the UX50 pairing a ULV Core 2 Solo processor with discrete GeForce G105M graphics, aiming for long battery life but in a standard 15.6-inch form factor, while the U80V does the "thin and light" thing with a high speed Core 2 Duo processor, ATI Mobility Radeon HD4570 graphics and a 14-inch screen. Both laptops include 4GB of RAM and 802.11n WiFi, with the long-lasting UX50 going for $1,199, while the powerful but slim U80V retails for $899. To be honest, we weren't stunned by the U80V's thinness or weight in hand, but it's really pretty good considering what's under the hood. We didn't get to see the UX50 in person, but it better get some pretty epic runtimes to justify that price. Meanwhile the 1008HA is looking just peachy -- there's an odd adapter for the display output that conveniently stashes underneath the chassis, but overall this is just a straightforward and fairly excellent aesthetic refinement of the netbook. Our favorite part, however, has nothing to do with the shell: ASUS finally righted the wrong that was the Eee PC's funky shift key placement, and we couldn't be happier.