With the new netbooks, Asus raises the bar and offers machines more beautiful, more refined, and slightly more expensive.
Asus is considered , in fact, the “inventor ” of the netbook segment : laptops that weighed about one kilogram, were based on Atom processors or the like, were equipped with screens from 9 to 10 inches , and most importantly , were cheap : from two to three hundred Euros . The great success of the first ” EEE” , largely unexpected , drove all the competitors to jump into the sector : the result was a market flooded with ” photocopy – machine .”
A year after the first boom , the characteristics of netbooks are largely unchanged … Prices in part , in slow but steady growth. It now goes from 300 to 500 Euros , with a partial overlap in the notebook segment cost . The fact is that many manufacturers are now aiming at the segment of “netbook sophisticated ,” technically the same as the previous , but improved in terms of aesthetics and design . Even Asus, after dominating the netbook sector budget , have started to offer machines that are placed one step higher , and look as standard equipment. The 1008HA Seashell that we tested is a prime example of the ” new course” , although , fortunately , its price is not among the highest we ‘ve ever seen . The design of the new born has nothing to do with the old 700 or 901.
The shell , available in white , blue , red or black glossy ( very sensitive to fingerprints, a little ‘ less – thankfully – scratch ) is rounded and tapered at the ends , to look even thinner. And there would be no need , since the thickest point the machine is high just an inch (2.5 cm, the other dimensions are 26,2 x17 , 8 cm). Along the profile there is no visible outlet connection: in fact, all interfaces are hidden and protected by rubber flaps with zippers . On the left side are located the power outlet , very small, and the door that contains a USB 2.0 connector and a miniVGA . On the bottom of the machine there is a compartment in which is housed an adapter miniVGA / VGA , which makes possible the connection of a standard analog monitor . On the right side , in addition to the SDHC flash card reader , there is a second door that hides another USB port and audio input and output jacks . Finally, a third compartment conceals an RJ -45 jack for Ethernet 10/100 equipped with a very special feature : when not in use occupies a small volume , while if you connect a network cable to the base of the RJ- 45 are spread apart slightly , allowing you to insert the connector . If the various flaps help protect outlets and improve the aesthetics of the laptop, but also give some problems : for example, the more bulky USB keys are quite difficult to enter and for some it is even necessary to use an extension cord .
The top of the door opening reveals a netbook display 10.1 ” LED-backlit display with a resolution 1.024×600 and shiny surface , and reveals a great flat keyboard with large keys (92 % of a standard notebook keyboard ) with good touch response , and a ” shift key ” standard size on the right side . Even the touchpad is a step forward compared to those ( really too small ) mounted on the first EEE PC . 6.5 cm wide , is glossy plastic , but textured with small raised dots : the feeling at the beginning is a bit ‘ strange, but then you get used , and these findings also convey a sense of how much space along the finger on the surface .
The management software touchpad allows you to use its edges as scrolling areas (although there are indicating that serigraphs ) and can also occur in some gestures ” multitouch “, for example zooming with two fingers. The operation is customizable by the driver software, which also reveals the origin of the pad from Synaptics ( the company founded by the Italian Faggin ) . Just below the pad there is what looks like a single button chrome : in fact it can be pushed to the left or right, then playing two classic mouse buttons. However, if you find yourself with this touchpad is not at home , you can always disable it via a small button at the bottom of the screen , next to a similar one that turns off the transmitter instead of Wi-Fi to enable energy savings . Above the display is positioned on the other hand the 1.3- megapixel Web cam ( with its microphone ) : image quality , tested via Skype, it felt great, both as a definition as color rendering .
The Asus netbook is based on Atom , but instead of the “usual” 270 mounts model 280 , marginally faster ( clocked at 1.66 GHz ) . The chipset is Intel’s standard , the 945, which means that the integrated graphics Intel GMA 950. If you have not yet figured out , this is not a machine dedicated to gaming enthusiasts . However, the standard equipment ( 1 GB DDR2 RAM , 160 GB mechanical hard drive plus 10 GB of space on the Internet, Wi- fi type ‘n’ and Bluetooth 2.1) makes it very suitable for a device instead of the typical tasks office , messaging , Internet browsing , and so forth . Among other things, the autonomy of the machine is more than adequate : In use medium / heavy and Wi- fi enabled , you reach the 4 hours.
To get in the vicinity of the autonomy promised by the house (6 hours) must instead turn off Wi-Fi , Web cam , Bluetooth, turn down the backlight of the screen and activate all the power saving options : You can do this either from the usual control panel Windows XP Home SP3, or, more conveniently , from the ” Super Hybrid Engine ” , a special software provided by Asus that allows you to adjust power and performance from a convenient menu . Note that the battery is ” integrated ” , not user-replaceable .
Thanks to this device , which will not be warmly welcomed by users , it was possible to insert a three-cell battery larger than the “standard ” , and therefore with greater capacity , as fitting tailored to the space available in netbooks.
OK Aesthetic styling slim chassis, Wi-Fi “n”, sophisticated touch pad, good battery life
Some KO connection ports and the ‘VGA adapter are pretty uncomfortable, non-removable battery
Links Asus Eee PC 1008HA (Seashell)
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