Asus Eee PC Seashell 1005HA netbook

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The Eee PC 1005HA is actually the second of Asus's Seashell series, the first being the slightly lighter and thinner 1008HA (1.1kg, 25.7mm) released in the spring. The earlier model is equipped with a sealed 3-cell 32W/hr battery, which some felt was user unfriendly. The increased weight and thickness (1.3kg , 36.5mm) of the summer released 1005HA can be attributed to its larger, removable 6-cell 65W/hr battery, which explains the very high 10.5 hours of claimed run time.

Our Seashell 1005HA sample was the the "P" version (PU1X-BK), for Premium. (There's a "V" Value version for about $50 less that has a matte screen, lower quality webcam, smaller battery, and no Bluetooth.) It came with a soft zippered pouch, AC power adapter, paper documentation and a support disk, which you'll need an external optical drive to access. Most users will never have to use the disk because Windows XP comes preinstalled. Some bloated trialware is included, MS office, Works, Norton, but these seem par for the course for most PCs with factory preloaded Windows. It's easy enough to uninstall them.

As with almost every netbook, there is the obligatory super-gloss finish which picks up finger prints, smudges and probably scratches better than anything you can imagine. This is a truly silly practice. Asus should get smart and break away from the herd with a practical, user-friendly finish. Something like the crisscross (polarized?) textured, no-shine, no-smudge finish on last year's Lenovo Y-series Ideapads would be infinitely preferable.

Note the tiny size of the connector from the AC/DC power adapter. It may be more easily damaged with rough handling than larger pins.

Its curved profile tells why this series is called Seashell. At the maximum thickness of 36.5mm, the 1005HA is not as thin as the first Seashell, the 1008, which had shorter run time and nonremovable battery. Note power port, VGA output, USB connector and fan airflow vent on this side.

The screen hinges open to about 135 degrees. Some people may prefer the ones that can open all way down for a wider range of use positions. Note handy card reader, audio in/out, two more USB ports and ethernet plug.

Preinstalled Windows XP has direct desktop access to the Eee Docking Software.

The Eee Docking Software is a bit gimmicky, a quick desktop-accessed collection of utilities that some users might find handy. It seemed more of an annoyance than a help to me, but its presence on the machine isn't intrusive, and it can be uninstalled if desired. The 10gb of free online storage offered by Eee Storage can come in quite handy, however.

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