Asus Eee PC 1000HE notebook review

The Asus Eee PC 1000HE looks like any other netbook, but has one big distinction - a claimed battery life of over 9 hours. This extra mobility, for some, makes it a proper rival for machines such as Sony’s VAIO TT, as long as you don’t mind the lower-res screen.

The screen itself is a standard netbook panel, with a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution. At 10.2-inches, it looks slightly undersized, surrounded by a thick bezel. However it’s bright and colours are accurate and the matt finish is an improvement over glossy panels when out and about.

You’ll find a similar design to existing Asus Eee PCs - including the same circular hinge, for instance, along with brushed aluminium touchpad buttons and glossy plastic styling. It’s well-made but, at 1.5kg, it’s not the lightest netbook we’ve seen. The design is also starting to look dated, lagging behind newer-looking rivals such as Samsung’s NC20.

The 1000HE’s keyboard is similar in style to those found on the latest Apple MacBooks, Sony VAIOs and Samsung’s high-end X-series. You’ll find the keys protruding through individual holes in the chassis, a design that’s both stylish and functional.

Considering the size, usability is excellent, and somewhat similar to Sony’s P-series. The keys are responsive, and decent spacing makes it easy to type at speed. The board does flex under pressure, however, letting the quality down slightly.

There’s nothing overly radical about the specification; you’ll find an Intel Atom N280 processor running at 1.66GHz (up from the 1.6GHz N270 chip found in most netbooks), along with 1024MB of memory and Windows XP Home. Performance is similar to rival netbooks, we found the system ran smoothly when using a single application, but slowed when running multiple applications.

Asus has fitted a bulky 8700mAh high-capacity battery, which goes some way to making up that 1.5kg weight. It’s the main advantage this netbook has over other machines, and is the component Asus hopes will give a huge battery life.

Even when setting the display at its darkest, along with the wireless connections turned off, we couldn’t match the 9 hour battery life claim. We did get an impressive 7hrs 30min when carrying out simple tasks, however, so this is a netbook good for those with even the largest of commutes.

It’s a well-specified netbook when it comes to connectivity, with 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 10/100 Ethernet in place. Three USB ports make it easy to connect your peripherals, and there’s also a VGA-out port for external displays. An integrated webcam in the screen’s bezel, along with two microphones, makes video conferencing a possibility.

Verdict

The £300+ price tag will automatically put the Asus Eee PC 1000HE out of the reach of many netbook buyers, but if you don’t mind the cost it has an awful lot going for it.

While we couldn’t match the 9 hour battery life, this machine still provides the most mobility we’ve seen from a netbook, and the impressive keyboard also provides excellent usability. A great all-rounder, the only real downside is the bulky chassis.