ASUS Eee PC 1002HA Review

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$499
Editors' rating:
The Pros

Sleek design; Multi-touch trackpad; Spacious keyboard; Good Wi-Fi performance

The Cons

Awkwardly placed right Shift key; Shorter battery life than comparable netbooks; No extended battery option

Verdict

This replacement for the popular Eee PC 1000H is slimmer and definitely more attractive, but its battery life could be better.

When you get right down to it, the new ASUS EeePC 1002HA is a 1000H in an S101's clothing. In updating its popular Eee PC 1000H, ASUS borrowed the sleek look of the premium Eee PC S101, but retained many of the same features of the 1000H, including a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, and Windows XP. But while we like the 1002HA's improved design and larger hard drive, the 2-cell battery on this $499 netbook doesn't match the endurance offered by its predecessor or by competing machines.

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Improved Design

When crafting the 1002HA, ASUS scrapped the design of the Eee PC 1000H, which was a bit bulky for our tastes, and replaced it with a look similar to the slimmer Eee PC S101. The brushed "Argent Grey" aluminum covers its lid and palm rest, and as it doesn't pick up fingerprints, we much prefer its styling to the Eee PC 1000H's black glossy lid and even the Samsung NC10's basic look.

Measuring 10.4 x 7.1 x 1.1 inches and weighing 2.6 pounds, the Eee PC 1002HA is in the same size and weight class as its rival 10-inch netbooks. Of all the 10-inch netbooks, only the HP Mini 1000 is thinner by a mere 0.1 inches. Its weight is comparable to the 2.6-pound Lenovo IdeaPad S10 and 2.8-pound Samsung NC10 (see our size comparison chart below). As with most netbooks, when we placed the Eee PC 1002HA and its AC adapter (bringing the total weight to 3.2 pounds) in a women's shoulder bag, we felt no strain.

Size and Weight Chart
(inches and pounds)
Screen SizeMeasurementsWeight
ASUS Eee PC 1002HA1010.4 x 7.1 x 1.12.6
HP Mini 100010.210.3 x 6.6 x 1.02.4
ASUS Eee PC 1000H1010.5 x 7.5 x 1.53.2
MSI Wind1010.2 x 7.1 x 0.72.6
Lenovo IdeaPad S1010.29.8 x 7.2 x 1.12.6
ASUS Eee PC S10110.210.3 x 7.0 x 0.72.4
Samsung NC1010.210.3 x 7.3 x 1.22.8
ASUS Eee PC 9018.98.9 x 6.7 x 1.32.6
Dell Inspiron Mini 98.99.1 x 6.8 x 1.32.3
Acer Aspire one8.99.8 x 6.7 x 1.42.4


Spacious Keyboard, Multi-touch Trackpad

The keyboard on the 1002HA is the same as that on the 1000H and the S101. The layout is spacious and comfortable for long typing stints; however, the Shift key continues to be awkwardly placed to the right of the Up arrow key, which makes capitalizing many words more difficult than it should be. (ASUS says it is working on addressing this keyboard issue in future models). There was little flex, but we still prefer the layout of the HP Mini 1000 and the Samsung NC10.

Like that on the S101, the touchpad is coated in a brushed metal, which gives it a smooth yet textured feel. The dedicated left and right buttons from the 1000H have been replaced with a single bar that's more comfortable and easy to press.

The touchpad supports the latest multi-touch controls from ElanTech, such as the typical pinch-and-zoom functions in pictures and Web pages, but it can also recognize other gestures, including two-finger scrolling and three-finger swipes, which can be programmed to launch specific applications. You can also magnify certain parts of the screen by holding a finger on one part of the pad and double-tapping another; this creates a small magnifying glass that you can use to pan around the screen.

Ports

Two USB 2.0 ports flank the left side of the 1002HA; another USB port is on the right side along with the mic and headphone jacks. Because of its thin profile, the VGA port, Ethernet jack, and even the 4-in-1 memory card reader are all located on the back of the 1002HA, which can be inconvenient.

Display, Audio

The 10.2-inch, LED-backlit screen (1024 x 600 pixels) allowed us to keep two windows open side-by-side. The thin matte display produced clear but somewhat muted colors. When we watched My Best Friend's Wedding on Hulu.com, vertical viewing angles were decent, but tilting the screen to a 110-degree angle caused a distracting glare. The screen is surrounded by a 0.4-inch wide, glossy black bezel that is larger than we would like and attracts finger prints.

Above the display is a 1.3-megapixel webcam, which provided somewhat hazy images in a Skype video call. The microphone, also located above the screen, picked up our voice clearly, even when we sat a few feet away from the netbook. While the 1002HA lacks the Dolby-branded speakers that the Eee PC 1000H offered, the dual speakers that lie on the front edge of the system produced a decently loud and steady sound. Listening to Dionne Warwick's "I Say a Little Prayer" was loud enough to fill a small office.

Speedy Hard Drive and Online Storage

The Eee PC 1002HA's 5,400-rpm 160GB Seagate Momentushard drive booted Windows XP Home in a brisk 40 seconds. Our LAPTOP Transfer Test, in which we duplicate 4.97GB of mixed media files, took 5 minutes and 51 seconds, a rate of 14.50 MBps. That is about 1 MBps faster than the average netbook, but the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 took only 4:53 (17.4 MBps) on the same test.

Though 160GB of onboard storage should be sufficient, those who want to upgrade to something larger or faster will find it easy to open an upgrade panel on the back of the system and swap out the 2.5-inch SATA drive with an aftermarket drive or SSD. This is a marked improvement over netbooks like the HP Mini 1000 or Dell Inspiron Mini 12 that use 1.8-inch PATA drives for which replacement options are limited.

ASUS also bundles the 1002HA with 10GB of free online storage using the Eee Storage service. A shortcut to Eee Storage is located on the desktop and requires registering with a username and password. After we logged in, our Eee Storage account appeared as another drive on our system, and we were able to drag and drop files into it. We had no problem accessing our files from another computer; you simply download the Eee Storage client and log into your account.


Performance

The 1002HA's 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM provided solid performance. On PCMark05 this netbook notched 1,356, which was 323 points lower than the similarly configured ASUS Eee PC S101. However, the 1002HA felt snappy in our hands-on experience. Preloaded programs such as StarOffice Writer opened quickly, and we saw no performance lag while conducting video calls over Skype, surfing the Web, and playing music in Windows Media Player.

The system didn't get all that hot either during heavy usage; the bottom of the 1002HA and the keyboard registered a relatively cool 89 degrees during our battery test.

As with the Eee PC S101, the 1002HA has a button on the top left corner of the keyboard for ASUS' Super Hybrid Engine (SHE) switcher. This feature allowed us to quickly cycle through three different performance modes that underclock or overclock the CPU. We didn't notice any change in performance while switching modes, but you may want to engage this feature to save battery life.

The 1002HA's integrated graphics scored 678 on 3DMark03 (which tests DirectX 9 performance), which is 143 points lower than the category average. Like most netbooks, you shouldn't count on using this machine for gaming. However, the system handled streaming video without a hiccup.

Ambient Heat

The system didn't get all that hot either during heavy usage; the bottom of the 1002HA and the keyboard registered a relatively cool 89 degrees during our battery test.

Wi-Fi Performance

The 1002HA's 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi card provided a strong connection for working in the cloud. Its throughput of 20.6 Mbps at 15 feet and 17.2 Mbps at 50 feet from our access point was much higher than the netbook averages of 17.3 Mbps and 13.6 Mbps from those respective distances.

The 1002HA's scores are comparable to the Samsung NC10, (20.8/16.9Mbps); however, the Samsung NC10 is not equipped with 802.11n. In our day-to-day Web activities, streaming music over Slacker was fluid and watching video clips on Hulu.com were void of any pauses.

Battery Life

The 1002HA's two-cell lithium polymer battery (as opposed to lithium ion) can only supply so much juice compared with netbooks with six-cell batteries. On the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi) the Eee PC 1002HA lasted 3 hours and 39 minutes. This is lower than the mini-notebook average of 3:48, and 49 minutes shorter than the 1000H. The identically priced Samsung NC10 lasted 6:34 in our tests, nearly three hours longer.

Note that the 1002HA's battery doesn't slide into the back edge of the system; rather, it is buried on the bottom, so users won't be able to use a standard Eee PC battery. Unfortunately, ASUS says it has no plans to offer an extended battery for the 1002HA.

Software and Warranty

Our Eee PC 1002HA came preinstalled with Windows XP Home. ASUS also bundles the netbook with Microsoft Works, Sun StarOffice Suite and Skype. A Linux Xandros version of the 1002HA will also be available, but not in the United States. ASUS backs the system with a one-year limited warranty and 24/7 toll-free tech support.

Verdict

Those looking for a netbook with a 10-inch screen and a spacious keyboard will find nearly everything they are looking for in the Eee PC 1002HA. ASUS's replacement to its popular Eee PC 1000H is more attractive and an equally capable performer. Overall, we recommend the similarly configured Samsung NC10 because it offers a better keyboard and much longer endurance for the same price, but some will prefer the 1002HA's slicker design.

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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
CPU 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270
Operating System MS Windows XP Home
RAM 1GB
RAM Upgradable to 1 GB
Hard Drive Size 160GB
Hard Drive Speed 5,400rpm
Hard Drive Type SATA Hard Drive
Display Size 10
Native Resolution 1024x600
Graphics Card Intel 945GSE Express/64MB
Video Memory 64MB
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth Bluetooth 2.0
Ports (excluding USB) VGA
Ports (excluding USB) Microphone
Ports (excluding USB) Headphone
Ports (excluding USB) Ethernet
USB Ports 3
Card Slots 4-1 card reader
Warranty/Support One-year / 24/7 toll free phone
Size 10.4 x 7.1 x 1.1 inches
Weight 2.6 pounds
Company Website www.asus.com