According to Asus, the N280 reduces Windows XP's boot-up time by 8 seconds, and can open Microsoft Office files 2 seconds faster than the N270. The Seashell also has 1GB of RAM, which is pretty standard for a machine of this type.
Storage comes in the form of a 160GB hard drive. Again, this is par for the netbook course, but it's an ample amount for a machine primarily designed for use on the go. It provides enough space to hoard around 230 standard-definition movies. Should this prove insufficient, Asus provides an extra 10GB of online storage, accessible from any location via the Internet.
The Seashell's wireless capabilities are slightly above average. Its wireless adaptor is compatible with 802.11g Wi-Fi networks, which have a theoretical throughput of up to 54Mbps, but it also supports high-speed 802.11n networks for those who want faster wireless access and a longer wireless range. Up to 300Mbps is possible, although real-world speeds are likely to be closer to 100Mbps. The netbook also packs 10/100Mbps Ethernet and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR.
The Seashell's 10-inch, 1,024x600-pixel display is one of the best we've seen on a netbook. Its horizontal viewing angle is wide enough for two users to watch a video side by side, and its contrast brightness and colour reproduction seem instantly more impressive than many of its rivals. The perception of improved contrast is partly down to the fact that the Seashell uses a glossy screen coating. It's worth noting that this reduces the machine's usability in areas where lighting isn't perfectly diffuse. If you intend to use your netbook outdoors, the Seashell probably isn't for you.
The Seashell performs almost identically to the 1000HE. Its N280 CPU helped it to claw its way to a score of 1,530 in the PCMark05 benchmark test, which indicates it's fine for the sort of tasks a user might perform while away from their primary machine. Web browsing, basic image editing, instant messaging and office-productivity chores are all within its capabilities.
Asus claims the Seashell will get around 6 hours of life from its three-cell, 2,900mAh lithium-polymer battery. In Battery Eater's intensive Classic test, which runs the machine at full speed until it's exhausted, the Seashell lasted 3 hours and 7 minutes. Longer life is possible with less intensive use, but, if battery life is crucial, the 1000HE, which lasted 5 hours and 48 minutes in the same test, is a better bet.
The Eee PC 1008HA Seashell is a stunning netbook. It's very comfortable to use, extremely light and portable, and is a good all-round performer. For us, the Eee PC 1000HE's superior battery life makes it the better machine, but the Seashell holds its own in what is an increasingly competitive netbook market.
Edited by Charles Kloet