Asus Eee PC 1101HA review

The biggest Seashell yet is gloriously designed, but not quite so impressive under the hood

Mike Jennings
16 Jul 2009
4
Price when reviewed 
353
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Page 1 of 2 Asus Eee PC 1101HA review

The launch of the first pioneering netbook from Asus may seem eons ago, but the Taiwanese manufacturer has kept busy since then. The most recent addition to the huge Eee PC roster has been the Seashell series, which ditches the clunky, angular designs of old for curvier, slimmer profiles. This latest model, the 1101HA, is the biggest yet, boasting an 11.6in screen.

First impressions, as with the rest of Asus' Seashell netbooks, are good. The glossy black finish covers the entire unit and looks sleek, albeit not as mature as the matte finish on the 12in Samsung NC20. The gentle curves of the lid and base are a vast step forward from the old boxy Eees.

Build quality is also high. The flex in the screen isn't excessive and the base, despite its new, slimmed-down dimensions, is firm and feels able to withstand a few knocks. We'd have no qualms about keeping it in a bag, although you might want more protection than the thin neoprene sleeve provided.

The keyboard is a highlight, with the larger chassis allowing for bigger keys that are far easier to hit than those on the average 9in or 10in machine. It's well designed too: a double-height Return key, large backspace button and no unusual layout choices mean it's easy to get up to speed. The typing action is good and, although the keys don't feel as clicky and positive as those on the Samsung NC20, their soft and responsive action still makes for comfortable typing.

Below the keyboard is a good-sized trackpad that features the dimpled design recently introduced by Asus. It's large and responsive and, while lacking any scrolling or multi-touch functions, easy to use - and the chrome-effect rocker button that sits below the trackpad is comfortable, too. Our only minor complaint is that, with the trackpad sitting flush with the wristrest, the subtle dimples don't do enough to distinguish between the two.

The screen is another highlight, with its native resolution of 1,366 x 768 putting it up there with the Sony VAIO Mini W-series and the more expensive version of Dell's Mini 10. Quality is good, too, with accurate colours, sharp detail and the common netbook grain kept to a minimum. However, we did find the range of decent viewing angles narrow and the glossy screen distracting under the bright lights of the PC Pro Labs.

Inside, the latest Eee follows the standard netbook blueprint, packing an Intel Atom processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM and a 160GB hard disk. The CPU in question is the 1.33GHz Z250, which we've only previously seen in a trio of machines - Dell's Mini 10 and Mini 12 and the misfiring Sony VAIO P-series - and its reputation for being one of the weaker Atom CPUs is borne out here.

Indeed, while Windows XP ran without complaint, our benchmarks didn't - Photoshop simply wouldn't run on the 1101HA. The benchmarks that did run properly, though, suggested an overall result of around 0.34 - slower than the 0.4 of the VIA-powered Samsung NC20 and the 0.44 scored by the Samsung NC10, with its more conventional Atom N270.

Elsewhere, there's little to surprise. Intel's integrated GMA 500 graphics aren't up to any serious gaming, and connectivity is handled by draft-n wireless and 10/100 Ethernet. The usual selection of ports and sockets are scattered around the machine, with a trio of USB ports joined by an Ethernet socket, D-SUB output, a pair of audio jacks and a card reader.

Page 1 of 2 Asus Eee PC 1101HA review

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions281 x 195 x 34mm (WDH)
Weight1.350kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom Z520
RAM capacity1.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total1

Screen and video

Screen size11.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 500
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity160GB
Hard disk usable capacity149GB
Spindle speed4,200RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical driveN/A
Battery capacity4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationBottom
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 35min
Battery life, heavy use3hr 10min
Overall application benchmark score0.34
Office application benchmark score0.39
Encoding application benchmark score0.32

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows XP Home
OS familyWindows XP

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