Asus Eee PC Seashell 1005HA netbook

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KEYBOARD & TOUCH PAD

The 92% of full size keyboard is made possible in this 10.25" wide computer because it takes up the entire available width. The keys are big enough and have enough travel that they feel immediately comfortable, especially compared to other 10" laptops experienced in the past. For many women or men with smaller hands, it should require little or no period of adjustment. Even someone with large hands should be able to adapt, if not long term, at least for the few hour stretches during which this netbook might be used. The correct position and proportionate sizing of all the keys goes a long way to promoting comfort.

My better half, a touch-typist with long fingers, had little trouble adjusting. A sloppy, mostly hunt-and-pecker myself, I had a bit more trouble, with more errors than with a full sized notebook. Part of my problem was the lack of space between the smaller keys, which makes it easier to hit the wrong key if your aim is a bit off. Still, all in all, the 1005HA keyboard is quite comfortable.


Here's a view of the keyboard next to a typical size mouse for scale. The keyboard takes up the entire available width.


Almost every key is in the standard place, with proportionately correct sizing, especially of the oft-used shift and enter keys. There's no space between the keys, however, which can increase typing errors. The only real compromise is the shrinking of the up/down scroll keys.


In the same scale as the 1005HA keyboard is the full size keyboard of a 13.3" IBM X300.

Extra attention has also been lavished on the touch pad and left/right buttons. Instead of the usual recessed rectangle, the touch pad is a 2.5 x 1.5-inch area with many tiny raised bumps. It sounds and looks a bit odd, but it's quite nice to use, smooth and sensitive to finger commands. The touchpad supports multitouch gestures, using two fingers to pinch the pad and zoom, for example. The single bar for the left and right button functions works fine as well, and a button press occurs with little pressure and a quiet positive click.


Raised dots for the touch pad are easy to use. Some users might prefer separate left/right buttons but it was no trouble for this user.

1024x600 LED MONITOR

A 1024x600 monitor is a pretty standard for a 10" netbooks these days. This one is quite good: Bright, even, and sharp with vivid colors, it's a pleasure to view. Corner to corner and edge to edge, the consistency is excellent, and viewing angles are wide, even though it is hardly necessary. Given the small size of the screen, you're not going to be seated very far away, even if a friend is sharing with you.

The screen resolution is such that standard text in Windows and on most web sites is large enough to be easily legible for most users. The 1024 pixel width is enough for easy browsing of mainstream websites (that limit page width), for email programs, for most office productivity programs. Probably, the biggest downside is the glossy finish, which can cause reflections in bright or high glare settings, but this is another ommon failing of so many netbooks.

With some web sites, both horizontal and vertical scrolling is required, which can slow access. Big spreadsheets are also difficult to work on, as are large high resolution images in Photoshop. However, all 10" netbooks are subject to the same limitations. With video editing or processing, the limitations of the Atom processor kick in. It's too slow to be useful for anything more than brief, spot operations. No one will want to use an Atom netbook for a production machine.

WIRELESS NETWORKING

The WLAN 802.11b/g/n device worked very well with the Linksys wireless G router at SPCR labs. Windows networking was used. It automatically connected extremely quickly upon bootup or wake from sleep. Maximum speed of 17~22 Mbps (or up to 2.2 mb/s) was obtained at 12'~30' distance from the router, which is about 10% slower than the fastest wireless PC on this network in the past. It's far greater than the fastest web access speed, however. Windows updates, streaming of music from the web (last.fm, etc), and playing youtube videos all worked fine without significant glitches.



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