ASUS Eee PC 1000H (Windows XP) Review

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$649

Pros: Large 10-inch screen; Spacious keyboard; Solid battery life

Cons: Larger footprint; Relatively expensive

Verdict: The most polished ASUS Eee PC yet sports a bigger screen and keyboard along with good productivity performance and battery life.

Like a set of Russian nesting dolls, each successive Eee PC from Asus seems like it can encapsulate the previous mini-notebook in its portfolio. The latest, and the largest of these matryoshkas is the Eee PC 1000H, which shares many of the same features of its predecessor, the Eee PC 901 (including a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor, a 1.3-megapixel webcam and 1GB of RAM) but has a larger 10-inch screen, more spacious keyboard and 80GB hard drive. But in comparison to other similarly sized mini-notebooks, like the $499 MSI Wind, we wish the $649 price tag was lower. (Editor's Note: TheASUS Eee PC 1000HE,a descendantof the1000H,truly surpasses its predecessor with a cheaper price,a better keyboard, 7 hours of battery life, and apeppier processor.)

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A Fresh, Larger Look

Similar to the Eee PC 901, the 1000H has an updated look and feel from earlier Eee PC models. The glossy black "Fine Ebony" lid is accented with the new Eee PC logo in cursive script. Add in the improved silver hinge and the black-on-silver combination and you have a high-fashion look. Unlike the 901's shiny white lid, the 1000H is not immune to fingerprints; ASUS includes a cloth for wiping down the system.

With its larger 10-inch screen, the Eee PC 1000H is the largest mini-notebook to date: Measuring 10.5 x 7.5 x 1.0 to 1.5 inches, the system is bigger than the 10-inchMSI Wind NB, and at 3.2 pounds is about half a pound heavier. However, the 1000H still slid nicely into a shoulder bag and felt extremely light in a backpack. ASUS has also kept the power brick slim, bringing the total travel weight to a manageable 3.6 pounds.

Improved Screen Real Estate, Audio Punch

The 10-inch screen allowed us to keep two windows open side-by-side. The matte screen looked sharp from a variety of angles when we watched clips of The Daily Show on Hulu, but colors were still somewhat muted. Compared to the MSI Wind NB, the horizontal viewing angles were better and vertically tilting the screen caused only a bit of glare. Above the display is a 1.3-MP webcam that provided clear images and solid colors in a videoconference over SightSpeed.

Similar to the 901, the 1000H includes Dolby Sound Room stereo speakers. Despite being located on the bottom of the machine, the speakers delivered strong and solid sound. Streaming music over Pandora was loud enough to fill a small living room.

A Spacious Keyboard and Trackpad

Underneath the screen is the largest and roomiest keyboard on an Eee PC to date. To say it's an improvement over the cramped keyboard found on earlier Eee PCs is an understatement; we didn't mis-hit any keys and found typing accuracy to be quite good. However, the keyboard is not perfect; Out of the box, we noticed quite a bit of flex, which caused the keys to produce a loud clicking sound. Additionally, the right Shift key is awkwardly placed above the right arrow key. The size of the keyboard is a major step up, but we still prefer the feel of the protective coated keys on the HP 2133 Mini-Note.

As on the 901, the trackpad is far roomier than previous efforts and has a smooth, but textured feel. The 1000H also features dedicated left and right buttons, but we found them tough to press. According to ASUS, the trackpad supports multi-touch controls, such as the ability to zoom on a picture by pinching. However, this function did not work on our unit and, due to its Chinese version of Windows XP, we could not replace the driver. (We will be updating this review.)

Super Hybrid Engine and Resolution Switching

Just like the Eee PC 901, there are four buttons above the keyboard that perform various functions: the first turns off the monitor, the second changes the screen resolution, the third, the Super Hybrid Engine switcher, cycles through power-saving modes, and the fourth is a user-definable launch key. The resolution and power-mode buttons are the most interesting:

The resolution switcher let us move between 800 x 600, 1024 x 600 (default), 1024 x 768 (which makes the screen taller than its border), and 1024 x 768 compress, which squashes the image vertically to make everything fit. The Super Hybrid Engine switcher allowed us to quickly cycle through power saving (1.2-GHz), auto-power saving (1.2-GHz, default), high performance (1.6-GHz), and super performance (1.8-GHz) settings. We didn't notice any change in performance while switching modes, but you may want to engage this feature just to save battery life.

No SSD Here, Solid Atom Performance

Though the former solid-state drives of the previous Eee PC provided speedy boot up times and protection due to their lack of moving parts, onboard storage capacity was rather limited. To appease those looking for a mini-notebook with more space, the 1000H has an 80GB Seagate Momentus 5,400-rpm hard drive. The drive is partitioned into two 40GB sections and didn't slow down the usually speedy Eee PC boot time; the 1000H was ready to go in a pretty quick 40 seconds.

Like we saw with the MSI Wind NB and the Eee PC 901, the system's 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM provided solid performance. We couldn't run our usual PC Mark05 test on the system, but in our hands-on experience, the 1000H was snappy. FireFox and Windows Media Player opened quickly, and we saw no performance hit when we conducted video calls over Skype, surfed the Web, and streamed music. The integrated graphics scored 739 in our 3DMark03 test (better than the MSI Wind NB's score of 606), and was even able to run the graphics intensive Second Life.

Very Good Battery Life

One of the biggest selling points of the Atom processor is the ability to provide lots of endurance, at least when paired with a nice sized battery. The 1000H's 6-cell battery lasted an impressive 4 hours and 28 minutes with Wi-Fi turned on. This is plenty of juice for a cross-country flight and is similar to the Wind NB's runtime.

Wireless Performance

Sporting a 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi radio, the Eee PC 1000H provided a strong connection for working in the Cloud. The 1000H zipped data at a rate of 10.4 Mbps at 15 feet away from our access point and 6.1 Mbps at 50 feet. The latter figure is only marginally lower than the speed of the MSI Wind NB (7.7 Mbps)--however, that system sports an 802.11b/g radio. Bluetooth is also included, which enabled us to hook up a Bluetooth mouse.

Software and Extra Features

Our Eee PC 1000H came pre installed with Windows XP Home. ASUS also bundles the system with InterVideo DVD xPack, Skype and Sun StarOffice Suite. A Xandros version of the Eee PC 1000--complete with a 40GB SSD--will also be available for $699.

Warranty

Check out ASUS's performance in our Tech Support Showdown to see how the manufacturer stacks up against the competition.

Verdict

We concluded our review of the Eee PC 901 by saying "with the promise of the 10-inch Eee PC 1000 and Eee PC 1000H just around the corner, some may want to play the waiting game." And we were right. Those looking for a larger mini-notebook with a good sized screen and a spacious keyboard will find nearly everything they are looking for. However, the similarly configured MSI Wind NB offers comparable performance and endurance for $150 less, although some will prefer the 1000H's slick aesthetics. We like the Eee PC 1000H, but we'll like it a lot more if the final pricing for the system winds up being less.

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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
CPU 1.6-GHz Intel Atom
Operating System MS Windows XP Home
RAM 1GB
RAM Upgradable to 1 GB
Hard Drive Size 80GB
Hard Drive Speed 5,400rpm
Hard Drive Type SATA Hard Drive
Display Size 10
Native Resolution 1024x600
Graphics Card Integrated graphics
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth Bluetooth 2.0
Ports (excluding USB) Ethernet
Ports (excluding USB) VGA
Ports (excluding USB) Microphone
Ports (excluding USB) Headphone
USB Ports 3
Card Slots 2-1 card reader
Warranty/Support One-year limited, 6 months for battery/24/7 toll-free phone
Size 10.5 x 7.5 x 1-1.5 inches
Weight 3.2 pounds
Company Website www.asus.com