We take a look at the netbook that some people are comparing to an Apple MacBook: the Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell.

The Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell is thin, sleek, and light, and launches in the UK on May 15 2009. Asus may be spitting out more revisions of its Asus Eee PC netbook line than we can count, but at least its designers are continuing to look at ways to refine the machine. The proof is in this new netbook.

Under its frosty exterior, the Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell sports current netbook innards: an Intel Atom N280 CPU, 1GB RAM, a 160GB hard drive, Bluetooth, 802.11n, and a three-cell battery.

The 92-percent full-size keyboard is big and comfortable, with a good layout. The Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell's buttons feel firm and large enough to type up a quick story. Even the metallic mouse-button bar is reasonably secure.

That said, we're a little concerned about the Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell's touchpad. On the device that we tried, we found little indication between where the touch area ends and where the wrist rest begins. But a spokesman assured us that the final unit will have bigger grooves so that users can feel their way around without having to eyeball the strike zone.

To accommodate the Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell's thin-and-light design, the creators of the 1008HA dropped a few ports - and made an interesting design move in the process. In a hidden compartment on the netbook's bottom sits a VGA adaptor dongle. When you need it, you simply pop it out and plug it into the mini-USB port on one side of the machine.

This is a pretty smart move that keeps the Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell's functionality while cutting down the size, and it minimises the chance of losing dongles.

Otherwise, on the Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell you'll find hiding behind flaps the usual retinue - an ethernet hookup, two USB ports, an SD Card reader, and headphone and microphone jacks.

NEXT PAGE: the bundled software

We take a look at the netbook that some people are comparing to an Apple MacBook: the Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell.

One last thing that we need to mention is the sneak peek we had at the software that Asus plans to bring to its future machines.

The Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell's interface gives quick access to a host of shortcuts for useful features. The more interesting ones fall under tabs called 'Eee Arena' and 'Eee Sharing'. The Arena is basically Asus's attempt at creating an online download site for songs, videos, and games.

The Eee Sharing feature simplifies syncing documents between the Eee PC and other computers (as well as uploading files to online storage).

The Eee PC 1008HA has a lot to like, based on our initial glance. Once we've had a chance to lay our mitts on this little beaut in its final iteration, we'll be able to give you a definitive call on its performance. Stay tuned.

NEXT PAGE: our expert verdict

Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell: Specs

  • Intel Atom (N280) 1.66GHz 512KB (L2 Cache)
  • 667MHz
  • 1024MB DDR2 RAM
  • 160GB (1 x 160GB) SATA Hard Drive
  • 92% comfort keyboard
  • 10in TFT screen, 1024x600 Pixels
  • RJ-45, 2 x USB 2.0, Microphone In Jack, Headphone Port
  • supports MultiMedia Card, Secure Digital
  • Ethernet 10/100Mbps, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • Windows Live Suite, MS Works
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • (3 Cells) 2900mAh battery
  • AC Power Adaptor
  • 100 to 240VAC / 36W / 50 to 60Hz
  • 262x178x25.7mm
  • 1.1kg
  • Intel Atom (N280) 1.66GHz 512KB (L2 Cache)
  • 667MHz
  • 1024MB DDR2 RAM
  • 160GB (1 x 160GB) SATA Hard Drive
  • 92% comfort keyboard
  • 10in TFT screen, 1024x600 Pixels
  • RJ-45, 2 x USB 2.0, Microphone In Jack, Headphone Port
  • supports MultiMedia Card, Secure Digital
  • Ethernet 10/100Mbps, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • Windows Live Suite, MS Works
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • (3 Cells) 2900mAh battery
  • AC Power Adaptor
  • 100 to 240VAC / 36W / 50 to 60Hz
  • 262x178x25.7mm
  • 1.1kg

OUR VERDICT

Without properly benchmarking the Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell, we can't give a definitive verdict. But the early signs look good, and we think the Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell will be a winner.

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