Remember that video we shot of the Eee PC 1008HA Seashell? Y'know, the slightly cooler alternative to the 10-hour-battery-life 1000HE? We've got our hands on a final sample and we'd like to share our impressions with you. Honestly, it's fine, don't mention it.
The 1008HA Seashell doesn't look anything like a seashell. It's still pretty gorgeous though -- the glossy black finish couldn't be less aquatic, but this is probably the thinnest, lightest 10-inch netbook we've come across. It's a mere 25mm thick at its fattest point and clocks in at 1.1kg, making other 10-inch netbooks stamp their little feet and pout with jealousy.
The secret to its svelteness is its use of a lithium-polymer battery, instead of the standard lithium-ion power cells you find on most laptops. Li-poly batteries have the advantage of being cheaper to manufacture, more resilient to physical damage, and can be moulded into just about any shape -- so they're perfect for super-thin devices such as the Seashell. The only drawback is the three-cell battery is not user-replaceable. That's right -- Asus is 'doing an Apple'.
All that thinness has forced Asus to do an Apple in other areas, too. The Seashell has just two USB ports instead of the usual three, and its video output port is of the mini-VGA variety. Fret not, though, because you get a mini VGA-to-VGA adaptor that lives permanently on the underside of the unit in a magnetically secured slot.
It's worth noting that the keyboard is fantastic to use. It's actually slightly smaller than the keyboard on the Samsung N120, but it has a better feel -- all the keys have just the right amount of travel and spring, so touch-typing is a no-brainer. The mouse trackpad, which has a grid of tiny dimples to improve feel, is gorgeous too.
Inside, the Seashell uses a 1.67GHz N280 Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive (plus 10GB of online storage), a 1.3-megapixel webcam and Windows XP Home. It'll set you back around £350. Have a look at the pics and then read our Eee PC 1008HA Seashell review.
Asus has really mastered the art of netbook keyboards. This one's a little different to the isolated keyboard on the 1000HE, but it's arguably more comfortable to use. Also note the dimpled, multi touch-capable mouse trackpad.
Nope, nothing here reminds us of a seashell. It's still pretty stunning, despite the total lack of aquatic features.
The underside reveals the absence of a user-replaceable battery. That little dongle is an adaptor for the mini-VGA output on the left side.
Here's the adaptor connected to the mini VGA port. Next to that is a USB port. Both are concealed behind a flap to preserve the netbook's clean lines.
The other side plays host to two more flaps. The first conceals two USB ports and two audio ports, while the other conceals an Ethernet port.