What happens when you take one of the best netbooks in the world, rip its guts out and slam in a new CPU? Well, you'd lose your warranty, probably, but if you're Asus, you end up with something rather like the Eee PC Seashell 1005P -- one of the first in a wave of new netbooks to use Intel's sparkly new Atom N450 CPU.
On looks alone, the 1005P is a real winner. Like the rest of the Seashell range, it doesn't look at all like it came from the sea, but its curvy, gloss-tacular design will almost certainly cause the bloke on the train next to rue the day he bought the Acer Aspire One D250.
As is common for today's netbooks, you a 160GB hard drive, a 10-inch, 1,024x600-pixel screen and 802.11n Wi-Fi, plus three USB ports and a D-Sub VGA output. Unusually, you also get quite a decent keyboard, which will let you hammer away at close to full typing speed with minimal typographical errors. If you ever find ourselves needing to write a document while driving a rally car, this is the netbook you should use.
Arguably the most important feature on the 1005P is its use of an Intel Atom N450 CPU -- the chip that looks set to replace the N270. What makes this chip so special, in brief, is the fact it has the memory controller and graphics processor integrated on to the CPU itself. This eliminates the need for a separate memory controller and graphics chip, both of which would hog a substantial amount of power. To keep a long and incredibly boring story short, the new chip, in conjunction with its new Intel NM10 Express chipset, consumes about 40 per cent less power than the old model -- which is great news as far as your battery is concerned.
According to Asus, the 1005P can last a full 11 hours away from the mains. That's pretty miraculous in itself, but it's even more amazing considering its battery pack has a capacity of just 4400mAh. For reference, the older Eee PC Seashell 1000HE could reach around 10 hours, but required an enormous 8,700mAh battery to do so.
We're still in the process of running our own, independent battery tests on this particular sample, but things look promising. We've recently finished putting a similarly equipped Samsung N150 through its paces and it lasted in the region of 5 hours during intensive use. With more modest use, reaching 11 hours away from the plug isn't completely implausible.
That's about all we have to report from our early fondlage, but rest assured a more thorough review is in the pipeline. The 1005P is available now in black or white for around £270. While you wait, hit the 'Continue' button below to see some more pictures of this thing in action.