Asus EEE PC1008HA Will Challenge Apple's Mac Book Air

Asus is going upmarket with the latest member of the EEE PC family, one that comes with a wedged profile. The PC 1008HA is set to be the first of a number of rivals to Apple's iconic but expensive Mac Book Air.

The EEE PC laptop formerly known as "Shell" is only 26mm at its thickest point and weighs only 1.1Kg. Yet, it comes with a 10-inch monitor and a keyboard that's almost like the real one.

Asus has used the same blueprint that it adopted for other netbooks: an Intel Atom N280 CPU, 1GB RAM and a 160GB hard disk drive (a SSD option will come at a later stage).

It also comes with a mini VGA connector - akin of Apple's mini Displayport, a multi-touch touchpad (like the Mac Book Air), two USB Ports, a 1.3-megapixel webcam and an estimated five hours battery life (ed: the battery's not replaceable by the way).

Asus included a comprehensive array of wireless connectivity options: that's 802.11n, Bluetooth and WiMax. The PC1008HA could well replace the S101 and come at a lower price, around the 600 Euros (£500) price point.

Intriguingly, a suite of software has been loaded by default on the laptop (which runs Windows XP Home SP3); bloatware some might say. These include the EEE Sharing and the EEE Arena.

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Our Comments

The PC1008HA is good but not good enough. Still, it is an improvement over the S101 and Asus seems to have got the knack to roll out snazzy proto-netbooks. Suggestions? A 12.1-inch edge to edge screen, a 32GB SSD drive, a thinner profile and a more elegant chassis material (aluminium). Even if the price gets bumped by £100, no one will complain.

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