Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ASUS Eee 1008HA Seashell Review

ASUS SeashellASUS seems to be getting a lot of stories on our humble little blog. Maybe its because every time we turn around there is something new from ASUS coming out. You'd think they'd get tired by now but ASUS is still pumping out the goods.

Well now we have a review of the ASUS Seashell. One of the main things you will notice first about the Seashell is it's style. ASUS has definitley taken a step forward with their design. The Seashell somewhat resembles the style of the MacBook Air. It has a thin, curved chassis that measures only an inch thick at the largest point. It comes with a glossy finish which means your going to get a lot of smudges on it, but it will still look really slick. But the slimmed down design isn't all just for looks. The design has some practical value to it as well. The slimmer design makes the Seashell very comfortable to hold and is easily carried one handed and only weighs 2.4 pounds. The 1008HA is not as top heavy as some of the other netbooks on the market. This just means it wont capsize over backwards off your lap while you are using it. ASUS has taken great lengths to make the Seashell look good. All of the ports on the laptop are hidden behind little doors so you have a smooth uninterrupted look.

The interior of the Seashell is also very nice. The keyboard is around 92% of a full size keyboard which makes it very comfortable to use. If you are highly into the details of things, then you will be very pleased to know that the Seashell is the very first Eee PC to offer a full size right shift key. The touch pad works fairly well. It has dimples and a two finger zoom in and out function but lacks two fingered scrolling. The chrome rocker is nice with its clicky responsiveness and the whole mouse package overall is way better than most netbooks on the market.

The specs on the Seashell are pretty standard for most netbooks. It comes with 1GB of DDR2 RAM, Intel GMA 950 graphics, and a 160GB hard drive. It has a better processor than most netbooks on the market with its 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280 as opposed to the N270 put in most of the other netbooks. The Seashell only has two USB 2.0 ports, a min VGA port, and a headphone jack, all of which are behind those little doors mentioned earlier. There is a mini VGA to VGA adapter that comes in the box to make up for the lack of an actual VGA port. Located on the bottom of the chassis is a magnetic slot designed to hold the adapter which is a good solution to the annoying situation that could arise from the adapter. One potential problem with those little flaps on the port, however, is that larger USB keys will not fit requiring you to get an adapter. Yet the Seashell still has 802.11 B/G/N Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, 10/100Mbps Ethernet, and a non-removable, high-density, lithium polymer battery with a supposed life span of 6 hours.

The Seashell's performance is about the same as some of the other netbooks on the market. It can still do all the mundane, everyday tasks like browsing the internet, editing documents, or streaming video but is in no way more special than other netbooks. It does boot up a little faster and opens things like Word faster but isn't anything special. The high-gloss screen has quite a glare if you are out in the sun which can become an inconvenience for many users. The battery, advertised as lasting for 6 hours, actually lasts around 4.25 to 4.50 hours. However, if you turn off the Wi-Fi, disable the camera, take it down to 40% LCD brightness, and turn on power saving mode, you can squeeze out 5.75 hours, which is pretty close to the listed battery life.

The Seashell's skinny form makes for a really enjoyable user experience. Then if you add to it the awesome keyboard, the nice touchpad, and the boosted you come up with a pretty awesome netbook. The Seashell is more expensive than most netbooks coming in at a price tag of $430. But if you think about it, you can get the HP Mini 100 for around $414 or the Dell Mini 10 for around $349, not to mention the huge line of ASUS netbooks already on the market. The Seashell is definitley geared towards people seeking a higher-end netbook and has bumped the netbook category up a notch. The Seashell isn't your run-of-the-mill netbook, even though it does have some of the average specs about it. Definitely one of the best netbooks on the market and definitely one worth looking at.

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