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Asus Eee PC 1000H
The Asus Eee PC range needs no introduction. The original Eee PC was the very first 'netbook' of sorts, and its popularity opened up a whole new segment. Ever since that maiden release, the market for these sub-notebooks has exploded and expanded so much that it's become a category of its own.
Asus has not been resting on its laurels though; it's churned out netbook after netbook, with over 23 models available at the time of writing this article. The Asus 1000H that we are reviewing here is the latest in the Eee PC range and comes with Intel’s Atom processor. Let’s find out how it fares.
The 1000H signifies a significant departure from the simple finish and styling that was typical of the Eee PC range. For one, it's given up a plain matte look for a glossy black finish. While this may look elegant the first time you see it, the truth is that it’s a horrible fingerprint and dust magnet. We had our test model for a few weeks and in that time it went from looking fresh and interesting to something a dust storm would have spewed out.
With a weight of 1.46 kg and dimensions of 10.5 x 7.5 x 1.0 to 1.5 inches, this is easily the largest 10" netbook available today. This may be upsetting to some, but I didn't find it a problem at all. The build quality is sound, with no extra flex in the body, and the reinforced hinges give it the reliability most Asus products boast of.
The keyboard is easily the best seen in any Eee PC so far. It's well-proportioned at 92 percent of the size of a normal full-sized keyboard, offers a comfortable typing experience via the 'just right' texture finish of the keys, and has adequate space around the mouse pad for you to position both hands easily. This setup allows you to work comfortably and accurately.
The touchpad, however, proved to be a disappointment. Though it’s adequately large and fairly responsive, the mouse keys are a real pain. They are tapered, with the clicking area being around the edge of the laptop. This causes you to lift your hands clear of the keyboard to get a clear press. This may not be an issue for people with large hands, but my thumb got cramped after some hours of use.
The matte 10-inch LCD panel of the 1000H has a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels and is strictly average. At maximum levels it does offer adequate levels of brightness, color and contrast. After the brilliant panel that we saw on the Acer Aspire One, this one was a bit of a disappointment. On the plus side, the matte finish allows you to work in brightly-lit conditions without fuss.
Connectivity-wise, the 1000H is similar to offerings from other manufacturers. It offers 3 USB slots, a multi-slot reader, VGA out, Bluetooth (thankfully!), and a Kensington security slot. It also offers 802.11N as a bonus.
As expected, this Eee PC is based on an Intel Atom N270 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz. The device offers 1GB of RAM, and has an 80GB HDD. These specifications are similar to other netbooks and hence performance levels were much the same. While the processor is a bit faster than the standard 1.6 GHz offering, it didn’t offer much more with regard to multi-tasking, which was already quite robust. I could easily type this article on the 1000H while listening to music, and with a dozen Firefox tabs open, alongside Photoshop running in the background, without any discrenable slow down.
The one thing that does set the 1000H apart from other netbooks is its audio capability. The 1000H comes with Dolby Sound room technology, which at first I thought was another crappy gimmick. When you consider that just about every netbook’s audio usually sounds like a cat being tortured or a rusty drill, I was not hoping for too much.
However, in a complete surprise, a Flac sample that I normally use for such tests was output in a clear, appreciably appropriate manner, with good amounts of bass, clear mids, and somewhat muffled highs. This was completely unexpected and most welcome, as such sound quality is normally found in laptops that cost maybe four times as much, and aimed at a vastly different segment.
The 1000H we tested came with a 6-cell battery. This allowed us to make the laptop battery last well over 7 hours with prudent use, and even rough usage got around 6½ hrs. These are excellent figures and nothing more needs to be said; after all, one of the USPs of a netbook is low power consumption.
Asus has come up with a winner. Despite its irritating glossy finish, the 1000H has extremely good performance, very good battery life, surprisingly good sound, and a well-designed keyboard. At Rs 26,000, it’s easily among the most VFM netbooks available today, and I have no qualms recommending it wholeheartedly.