Asus Seashell review: Eee PC 1008HA

Surely not another Asus Eee PC netbook. Sasha explains why this one stands out from the crowd.

A three-cell battery normally heralds disaster in the battery life stakes, but imagine our surprise when the Seashell lasted for an impressive 5hrs 39mins in our light use test. Of course, enabling the wireless and surfing the web will leave the figure dwindling to nearer the four hour mark, but it is an impressive performance for such a conservatively rated battery.

There are no compromises when it comes to usability, though. The keyboard is sensibly laid out - the cursor keys squashing down to make way for a nice wide right-hand shift key - and each key responds with a reassuringly positive action. Only the half-height Enter key on our US model gave us any cause for complaint, and that will thankfully be making way for a proper, full-height Enter key in European models.

The trackpad is worth singling out for praise, too. The single button which rocks left and right might not be everybody's cup of tea, but the dimpled finish to the pad feels great under the finger and the buttons responds with a firm, crisp click.

Powering the 1008HA is a host of familiar faces. Intel's Atom is present in its 1.66GHz N280 incarnation, and the 1GB of DDR2 memory and 160GB hard disk are standard netbook fare. Consequently, there weren't any great surprises when it came to benchmark results; the 1008HA earned a solid 0.42 in our benchmarks.

The glossy 10.2in panel doesn't make any great departures from the norm either. Its 1,024 x 600 resolution is unremarkable, and image quality is good without being exceptional. Brightness is a touch lacking and colour reproduction a little cold, but it's up with the best that netbooks have to offer.