ASUS Eee PC 1000HE


ASUS‘ flagship netbook line, the Eee PC, has become synonymous with netbooking since the birth of the industry. Some big names have arisen to challenge its hold on the market, and the latest Eee PC is ASUS’ answer to that challenge.

Allow us to introduce to you the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE, a prime choice in the netbook market by one of the biggest players in the game.

ASUS Eee PC 1000HE

Specifications

  • 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280 CPU
  • 160GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive (Seagate 5400.5)
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM (667MHz)
  • Windows XP Home OS
  • 10” WSVGA LED-Backlit 1024 x 600 LCD
  • Ports: 3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA monitor out, headphone jack, microphone input, SD card reader (SDHC compatible), Kensington lock slot, Ethernet 10/100
  • 1.3 megapixel webcam
  • 7.2v 8700mAh 6-cell 63Wh battery
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • One-year warranty
  • Size: 10.47” x 7.3” x 1.12-1.50”
  • 3lbs 2.4oz, 3lbs 9.9oz travel
  • Costs around $399

Design

The ASUS Eee PC 1000HE might appear to be a clone of the Eee PC 1000HA or Eee PC 901 at first, but a few notable differences notably improve upon the formula. The Eee PC now fits more fluidly with the updated keyboard, with the classy touch of glossy black paint between the keys. The whole composition seems a bit more stylish than older versions, and the exterior uses traditional rounded edges for a more pebble-style appearance.

ASUS Eee PC 1000HE

The high points of previous Eee PC models are repeated here with strong plastics, flex-free panels and nearly creakless components. The 1000HE stays together when jostled in a bookbag (which seems to be the empirical test for the success of a netbook) and the hinge is strong. I’ve got no complaints in the design category so far, even if it is a touch boring. Still, ASUS hasn’t messed with its formula enough to risk screwing up a good netbook, and the results are admirable.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard is a major high point of the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE. It adopts a design inspired by the Macbook, improving in tactility and typing ease. The 1000HE breaks out of the unfortunately common trend of cramped netbook keyboards, a major upside.

ASUS Eee PC 1000HE

Furthermore, the displaced Shift key has been put in an improved location than before. Another function key has been added to the mix for one-handed Page Up and Page Down action, speeding up navigation of web pages and large documents.

My first criticism comes in the form of 1000HE’s Elantech trackpad. It supports multitouch gestures, an appealing new feature, but fails to be as responsive and sensitive as it should be. Quick movements lag a bit, which is unfortunate, but the trackpad does the job it needs to. The trackpad’s buttons, to contrast, are large and easy to access, a clear response to criticism levied at older models of the Eee PC netbook.

Display

The new Eee PC netbook features a 10-inch display, a size that’s become something of an informal industry standard. It is LED-backlit and features bright, vibrant colors, clear white levels and appreciable backlight for clarity. The viewing angles on the 1000HE invert colors far less than on comparable netbooks, so you can use it with a friend with little loss to viewing quality.

ASUS Eee PC 1000HE

The 1024 x 600 resolution seems high for such a small display, but could definitely be improved upon for the sake of certain applications. However, this may just be a problem of the screen size in general, and as netbooks grow in stature applications will need to become more flexible to conform to different netbooks’ resolutions. The 1000HE leaves a bit to be desired on this account, but with a bit of scaling you can get over the flaw easily enough.

Performance

The ASUS Eee PC 1000HE clocks a bit faster than previous Eee PCs by being the first in the dynasty to use the 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N280 CPU. You can browse the web, type documents, and even do some GIMP photo editing and the Eee PC responds quickly and without lag. A couple benchmarks, however, decreased for some reason; the Seagate 5400.5 hard drive is newer but offers slower access times than the previous 5400.4 model.

Most notable from an entertainment standpoint are the HD video playback capabilities of the 1000HE netbook. It won’t play DVDs like a certain Eee PC 1004DN we know of, but can manage 720p video with 40-50% CPU usage and normal HD content at around 60% with a few concessions for frame dropping. While the Intel N280 supports a newer GN40 chipset, ASUS didn’t stick one in the 100HE netbook, and most evidence points towards the netbook using a standard Intel 945 chipset like other Atom netbooks. Still, the machine holds its own in the performance category, even if its qualities are nothing to freak out about.

Audio and Features

This netbook takes a bit of a hit for port selection when compared to a few newer netbooks, but does well in comparison to the industry average. It lacks an ExpressCard, something supplied by netbooks like the Lenovo IdeaPad S10, but comes with 3 USBs, LAN, headphone and microphone jacks, a lock slot for Kensington locks, and an SDHC 4-in-1 multi-card reader right on the side for easy expansion of storage.

ASUS Eee PC 1000HE

I rarely expect much from netbook speakers, and the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE doesn’t do much to amend my bias. The speakers are weak in the bass and midrange, due to their size, and quaver a bit before background noise. To be fair, it does a fair job of filling up a smallish room with sound, and you’ll be able to enjoy music or a movie with few complaints. Headphones are naturally always an option.

Battery Life

The fabled battery of the 1000HE is a magnificent addition to the setup. While the older 1000HA model managed 4.5 hours of battery life in standard conditions, an above-average battery life in its own right, the 1000HE means to impress by increasing that number to 7.5 hours. ASUS’ figures claim the new Eee PC handles 9.5 hours of juice, but that’s on power-saving mode and with disabled wireless cards. Regardless, the netbook stays on longer than most sane humans would like to spend on a netbook in a day, so you should have no problems at all getting it through a work day if you aren’t exclusively working on the netbook.

The ASUS netbook eases off the gas during battery powered use, meaning it’s less likely to get hot when you’re using it on the move. However, when plugged in, the high-performance options require that the 1000HE turn on a few fans to keep from overheating. It’s not annoyingly loud, but it’s easily as loud as a notebook.

The Good

  • Classier design
  • Amended keyboard is big and pretty
  • 7.5-hr battery life

The Bad

  • Touchpad lags with fast movement
  • No ExpressCard

The Average?

  • Makes use of slightly better N280 CPU
  • 3 USBs, plenty of ports
  • Speakers aren’t bad
  • Decent video
  • Etc., etc., etc…

Final Notes

The ASUS Eee PC 1000HE is a good netbook overall. Improvements to the keyboard, battery life, and design more than make up for a few minor flaws like the touchpad.

However, you may notice that I added a third ‘Average’ denomination for our final points. Why? It seems to me that that’s just what the Eee PC 1000HE is. It’s not mediocre, and it delivers where you’d expect it to, but by and large it does little to change the Eee PC formula. Is it competitive in the market? Definitely. You’ll be hard-pressed to find these specs and features for less than $400 in any other machine, and ASUS has as good a reputation as any manufacturer in terms of quality.

Yet that’s just where the Eee PC 1000HE fell short of my expectations. ASUS is definitely taking steps towards improving its line, but they’re baby steps. At a time when Android, the Qualcomm Snapdragon, quickboot, LCD trackpads and more are converging on the burgeoning netbook industry, it may just be time that ASUS take some risks with the Eee PC.

Obligatory industry criticism aside, I recommend the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE with few reservations. It looks good, works better, and stays working all day to boot, and that’s just what a netbook’s got to do.

Images Via NotebookReview and ASUS.

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