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Asus Eee PC 1000HA Review

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  • Asus Eee PC 1000HA Review

    Shortly before the Christmas holidays I purchased an Asus Eee PC 1000HA netbook from Amazon. I've been using this just about everyday since then and figured it's time for me to write down my impressions.

    I'm writing this from my netbook. I'm not going to include any images because there are plenty of reviews out there that are full of screenies.

    Background

    I spent a good bit of time researching what netbook to buy. The popular brands are the Acer AspireOne, MSI Wind, HP Mini, Samsung NC10 and the Asus EEE. Each has their pros / cons and picking the right netbook really depends on the buyers individual needs. I wanted something lightweight, mobile, long battery life, a 10" screen, a usable keyboard, and a $400 price-point.

    I ruled out the Acer's because of the screen size. I didn't care for the HPs because the keyboard just didn't feel right. This left me with the MSI Wind and the Samsung. The Samsung was around $470 at the time and didn't offer much more than the other two.

    In the end I went with the Asus Eee 1000HA because it was easier to upgrade the memory to 2 GB than the MSI Wind and Amazon was running a special that weekend that had a $40 instant rebate and a $40 mail-in rebate. That brought the price down to $350 total + $20 for a 2 GB memory module.

    First Impressions / Review

    The Eee 1000HA is definitely compact and light weighing in around 3 lbs. It's not as thin as a MacAir or the new Dell Mini 12 but this is definitely a portable device. I'm able to pick this laptop up and carry it around in one hand without and not worry about dropping it or bumping it into things. I have no desire now to carry my wife's laptop around the house now that I have this thing.

    The 1000HA comes preloaded with WinXP Home however I wanted to load Ubuntu-eee to teach myself Linux / Ubuntu. I made the mistake of loading Ubuntu on the whole 160 GB HDD instead of dual-booting it. I used Ubuntu for several days and came to the conclusion that Ubuntu isn't for me... but that's its own review.

    So I reinstalled WinXP. The Asus comes with a recovery DVD but netbooks don't typically include a DVD player. So I did a bit of research and found out how to load the recovery DVD onto a USB thumb-drive and boot / install from there. It was a breeze even for those not technically inclined. There are several sites online with step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow.

    The reason I went back to Windows is because of three things. 1) The wireless connectivity seems to work better under windows than the drivers included with Ubuntu-eee. Several threads had hinted at this and I've found it to be true. 2) The battery life is better under Windows. This surprised me but I'm getting a good 30-50 minutes more life with Windows. 3) I wanted to use several utilities that make keyboard-only use more effective. Some of those utilities are for Windows and I didn't want to hunt down Ubuntu equivalents.

    One of those utilities is launchy. It's an open source tool that is a keyboard launcher. Awesome utility that I've started to use on all my computers even if I have a mouse.

    Performance-wise the Eee has been great. I do have 2 GB memory installed and I'm not sure how much effect that has had, but the computer doesn't seem to slow down with multiple windows open or multiple tabs in firefox. I have tried to keep the background servers to a minimum though. I use this netbook to sit in front of the television and access email / internet. I have not installed MS Office yet and I'm not sure I will. I may find an open source alternative or use google docs.

    The battery life has been awesome. I have not run a full test to see how long the device will actually run, but I do know I get over five hours of use without recharging. With Ubuntu-eee I was getting around 4 1/2 hours. Recharging the device takes just a few hours but I've never measured it.

    Windows XP sleep mode has been perfect. I can get from sleep mode to full windows use in ten seconds or less. Full boot takes less than 30 seconds and that's probably on the long side.

    It did take some time getting used to the 1024x600 sized screen but that's most netbooks in this class. Netbooks with larger resolution / screen size were several hundred dollars more and that simply isn't worth the extra cost for what I'm using the device for. I had started with using chrome because I thought it offered more screen real estate and better performance, however firefox runs great and I used these tricks to optimize firefox for netbooks. So I use firefox and get to use all of my greasemonkey scripts and delicious plug-in.

    Typing on the Asus 1000HA has had a bit of a learning curve to it. One of the biggest complaints is the location of the right-shift key which is to the right of the up-arrow key. This was a pain to begin with but I was learning to deal with it. Then I found a great utility (sharpkeys)that re-maps the keys in the registry. I remapped the up-arrow and the right-shift key. This worked great and now I can touch-type like I'm used to and not have any issues with hitting the up-arrow. This did make the arrow keys awkward by having the up-arrow to the far right and then the left,down,right arrows below it. The up-arrow is above the right-arrow. So I swapped the down-arrow and the right-arrow. Some may remember older keyboards from ages ago that had the keys like this. Now my left/right arrows are next to each other and the up/down arrows are above/below each other. Not ideal but definitely usable.

    The last complaint I have about typing is my thumb has a tendency to hit the mousepad and jumps my cursor away from where I'm typing. Each laptop varies in the mousepad placement and this one falls under my right thumb. If you type with your wrists off of the laptop then this won't be a problem. But I'm lazy and rest my hands. Luckily I found another utility (EEE Toggle) that toggles various features (i.e. wireless, bluetooth, mousepad, etc.) and mapped this to one of the extra hotkeys above the keyboard. Now when I'm going to do a lot of typing like for this review then I just hit the toggle and turn off the mousepad.

    What's Missing?

    This model did not include bluetooth and only has wireless b/g (not n). That cost extra and I had no need for them. I can buy a bluetooth dongle if I find the need and the Asus is easily upgradeable so I can pop in an upgraded network card if needed. But at this point, I see no need.

    Gaming

    I haven't tried gaming on the netbook other than some web-based games. I'm not sure how much I'll try that though since that was my (yet to be built) gaming rig will be for. There is a whole forum dedicated to gaming on the Asus on the Asus Eee forums with tips / tricks. It seems that many older games will work.

    What's Next?

    I've got plenty of disk space left so I'm thinking of dual-booting Windows 7 beta. Supposedly that runs well on a netbook.

    I also haven't tried any video yet. I may download a few movies / tv shows from amazon or itunes and see how that performs. This may make a great portable video player.

    Summary

    The Asus Eee PC 1000HA has been a great device. Definitely worth the $370 (total) that I spent on it. I'm glad I didn't spend the extra cash for features I wouldn't use. This netbook works perfectly as a portable internet / email device. I've learned to become less dependent on mice on all of my machines. If you can get around the right-shift key with the utilities I mentioned above then this netbook may be perfect for you.

    There are newer netbooks coming out with more features and larger screens but they're going to be more expensive. Remember to think about your needs and pay for only what you need. Keep an eye out on this device as the price may drop or go on sale again in the next few months when the newer devices hit the market.
    |TG-12th| asch
    sigpic

  • #2
    Re: Asus Eee PC 1000HA Review

    One thing I forgot to mention is there are several colors available. One complaint I heard about the black model is that it is shiny and tends to be a fingerprint magnet. I chose the white because I had not seen any seen any comments to this effect. So far I have not had any issues with fingerprints / smudges.
    |TG-12th| asch
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: Asus Eee PC 1000HA Review

      Nice review Asch. :)

      Which color did you end up going with?
      |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
      TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
      Former 9th & 13th

      Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
      Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





      SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

      TG Primer and Rules

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      • #4
        Re: Asus Eee PC 1000HA Review

        Originally posted by asch View Post
        I chose the white because I had not seen any seen any comments to this effect. So far I have not had any issues with fingerprints / smudges.
        Sounds like he chose the white, Thats the color I would have gone for. I was considering a Dell Mini-9 for some time because you can spec them out for like less than $500 with a 32GB SSD.

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        • #5
          Re: Asus Eee PC 1000HA Review

          Ah, that explains why he was comparing it to the Apple Air.
          |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
          TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
          Former 9th & 13th

          Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
          Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





          SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

          TG Primer and Rules

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          • #6
            Re: Asus Eee PC 1000HA Review

            Great review!

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            • #7
              Re: Asus Eee PC 1000HA Review

              Originally posted by asch View Post
              I have not installed MS Office yet and I'm not sure I will. I may find an open source alternative or use google docs.
              Try OpenOffice - http://www.openoffice.org/

              I use it on both my Vista and XP laptops.

              :icon_frow
              |RIP| Counter=Ops 12.09.09 : Marine - Squadmate - Friend
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              • #8
                Re: Asus Eee PC 1000HA Review

                I just got the 900HA, which is basically a smaller brother of the 1000HA with a 8.9" LCD. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834220441 I'm pretty sure the only differences are the smaller form factor with accompanying smaller keyboard and screen and lower capacity battery. I think it's really great. I have pretty small hands, so I can touch type. It's not as fast as I type on a regular keyboard, but it's not like I'm trying to type with two fingers. The 900HA is a good alternative to the 1000HA if you have small hands and you're looking for something smaller and lighter.

                It comes with a 160GB 5400RPM HD and 1GB RAM. I upgraded the RAM to 2GB, and I'm thinking of upgrading the HD to a 320GB 7200RPM drive. The nice thing is that both the RAM and the HD are very easy to upgrade.

                I only play games on my desktop. I have a DELL Latitude D620 with a 1.67Ghz Core Duo and 7200RPM HD, which I use for school work. As far as web surfing, word processing, instant messaging, and music go, I don't really notice much difference between the 900HA and the D620. But the difference between carrying around a 6lb vs 2.3lb laptop is huge. The D620 got about 4.5-5 hours of run time on a 9-cell battery. The 900HA gets about 4 hours on its 4-cell.

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