Asus Seashell 1005HA in-depth review -

Look and feel

Perhaps not as stylish as other high-end devices on the market, but it can certainly hold its own.

Ease of use

The Asus Eee PC Seashell has an excellent usability factor, with a comfortable keypad for typing and a touch-pad that works reasonably well.

Features

The Seashell is great for basic functions such as emailing, instant messenger and editing documents, but it does fall short when it comes to media features.

Performance

The Seashell does not try to punch above it weight, with basic functions performing exceptionally well. Web browsing was a snappy experience and the VGA port allows you to watch media via the TV, instead.

Battery life

With a removable, portable battery you get twice as long between charges.

The verdict

A competent release from Asus, if you’re after a low-cost, highly portable and efficient device then this one’s a keeper.

 Asus Seashell 1005HA  Review -
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:55:52 PM

10

out of 10

Performance

6

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

6

out of 5

Features

10

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Lots of ports, great keyboard, fast start up and application loading, plus its affordable.

Cons:

Can?t play high-definition media, and the screen resolution is capped at 1024x600 pixels (if you want full screen).

Netbook prices may have skyrocketed recently with premium models like the Sony P series, but Asus, as the original maker of low-cost, low-spec ultra portables, can be counted on to take things back to earth. The Seashell 1005HA is the second in the Taiwanese company’s Seashell line, a higher spec version of the original Eee PCs. Though the 1005HA is not quite the style maven the 1008HA (released just one month earlier) is, it is still an impressive, and highly portable work machine.

Design

The Seashell 1005HA does fit into a handbag (as well as larger, more masculine carriers) but it is on the chunky side, at 1.4 inches at its thickest point. The plastic chassis may not scream high-design, but it doesn’t look cheap either. This is a solidly built machine that we could literally toss in the bag and not worry about.

Along its sides are a decent number of ports – headphone and microphone jacks, Ethernet port, SD/SDHC/MMC memory card slot, plus three USB ports. We also loved the addition of the VGA port – the screen and graphics set isn’t quite up to playing hi-def goodies, so you’ll want to hook this baby up to a TV or monitor for proper media viewing.

The battery life is an impressive eight hours on economical usage – we used the device’s Super Hybrid Engine to toggle between various power saving modes. A nice touch is the removable battery – for those constantly on the move, being able to bring along a spare battery means doubling the time between charges.

User experience

The keyboard is a good sized 92% of a full keyboard and is very comfortable to type on, though larger hands may find it more cramped. The keys have a pleasant weight to them, and typing is relatively quiet.

A dimpled touch-pad sits front and centre with a silver dual-button for right and left-click functions. This works well enough, though the touted multi-touch function isn’t really 100% – you can zoom in and out using pincer movements in the photo gallery, but we couldn’t get it to do the same in Word. Nor could we use the touch-pad to scroll up and down.

The Seashell comes in Windows XP and Linux versions – our review version was the XP model, and it’s pretty standard in usability, except with the addition of an Eee Toolbar, which hot-links to Eee @Vibe to download games, radio, TV etc; and Eee Sharing where you can sync data to your main PC. You can also apply for access to Eee Storage, which bumps up the 160GB hard drive storage with 10GB of cloud storage – the first year is free with the Seashell, with fees after.

The extra software is nothing to shout about – a copy of the (already free) Adobe Acrobat 8, a 60 day Microsoft Office 2007 trial, Skype, Microsoft Works and a Norton Security trial.

Performance

The 1.6GHz Intel Atom 270 processor makes for a snappy user experience though with just 1GB of RAM, we’d advise against maxing out the 160GB hard drive. You can start up and shut down in about 30 seconds, and applications load very quickly.

Media is really the only area the Seashell falters, despite a sizeable 10.1-inch screen. We loaded hi-def clips (1080i and 720i) and in both cases there was some screen stuttering. Its graphic performance isn’t amazing either, and you won’t be able to adjust display resolution past 1024x600 pixels without needing to scroll around to see the entire screen. The Intel GMA 950 graphics card isn’t really up to powering games, though if you wanted something for more than portability, document editing and websurfing, you’d probably be looking elsewhere anyway.

Conclusion

Despite being weak on media specs, Seashell 1005HA performs admirably at the classic netbook functions – web surfing, instant messaging and document editing. Considering it’s also one of the most portable netbooks around, this one’s a winner.