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Design and features
Luxury netbooks have always seemed a contradiction — yet that doesn't make the champagne or black-coloured brushed aluminium finish of the Eee PC 1004DN any less alluring. To match this, the 1004DN has updated its insides compared to usual netbooks — a 1.67GHz N280 Atom processor and the new GN40 chipset to be precise, with GMA 4500 graphics. The FSB has been upped from 533MHz to 667MHz, giving it an almost imperceptible increase in both the processing and graphics fields.
The 1004DN's main point of difference, however, is something we didn't expect to see in a netbook — an optical drive. It's odd then that there's no easy way to turn the drive off, especially given the facility to turn off Bluetooth, wireless and the webcam from the included Eee PC tray utility. Granted, netbook battery times are quite good, but being able to disable the drive until needed would be an excellent power save. The drive is also a double-edged sword as far as weight is concerned, bringing the laptop to 1.45kg.
A large black bezel around the 10.2-inch, 1024x600 screen makes it look smaller than it is, with a webcam and microphone included therein. The screen can be maxed out to a virtual resolution (that is, it can show the resolution, but requires scrolling to see everything) of 1024x768, just in case an application isn't designed to fit within the netbook's vertical resolution constraints.
Interestingly, a fingerprint scanner is also included, something typically avoided on netbooks. In fact the 1004DN is arguably the most feature complete netbook we've seen, including an ExpressCard 34 slot, SD/MMC/MS card reader, three USB ports, VGA out, headphone/microphone jacks, a 120GB hard drive and, of course, the aforementioned optical drive. It is odd, then, to see it only include a 100Mb Ethernet instead of gigabit, giving competitors the jump in the wired arena. Still, it contains Bluetooth and 802.11n, keeping it competitive in the wireless field.