Hot Pink is the theme of the Asus Eee PC Seashell 1008P Karim Rashid Collection netbook, sporting an unmistakable designer finish
If you want to make a statement with your choice of netbook, look no further than the Karim Rashid edition of the Asus Eee PC. That's assuming you can overlook the - still eye-catching - chocolate-brown edition, and plump straight for the pink.
The Asus Eee PC Seashell 1008P Karim Rashid Collection name recognises the work of a painfully trendy industrial and interior designer, who's no stranger to introducing attention-seeking concepts, from perfume bottles to psychedelic restaurant interiors to designer garbage cans.
So for this Asus Eee PC Seashell 1008P Karim Rashid Collection netbook, we find a wrinkly, rippling textured case top and bottom, replete in a metallic pink gloss.
Perhaps not at the forefront of Mr Rashid's mind, those wibbly panels are not just bizarrely tactile for the fingers, but actually aid in the picking up and carrying of the portable, with less chance of slippage from your hand.
Where the original Seashell integrated its battery, the Asus Eee PC Seashell 1008P Karim Rashid Collection cleverly includes a hatch where you can slide in a particularly flat lithium-polymer battery that stretches the width of the case.
In fact, Asus generously includes two of these batteries, each weighing 325g and storing 31Wh of energy.
The final result from our MobileMark 2007 Productivity testing was a lifetime of around 5.25 hours - from each battery. It may be a little awkward to carry and swap the spare on the road - especially since there's no bag (designer or otherwise) in which to safely stow the spare - but up to ten and a half hours total mobile life is an impressive span.
In the Pink
With Intel phasing out its original line of Atom processors, the Asus Eee PC Seashell 1008P Karim Rashid Collection takes a new Intel Atom N450 chip, supported with the blueprint 1GB of DDR2 RAM, and joined by an integrated Intel graphics processor (GMA 3150), and a 250GB hard drive. The latter capacity is becoming more familiar here now over the 160GB of yore.
With the standard complement of parts, it's little surprise then that the Asus Eee PC Seashell 1008P Karim Rashid Collection netbook scored a middling 34 points in the WorldBench 6 real-world speedtest.
Looking around the chassis, all ports have been hidden under flimsy flaps, one left and two right. There's one USB 2.0 and a mini DisplayPort under left flap (plus SD card slot this side), and another USB and two audio in/out jacks under the right; plus ethernet under the third flap.
Catering for old-school VGA video needs, a mini DisplayPort-to-VGA adaptor resides under the chassis, neatly secured in place by a magnet.
Prying up the Asus Eee PC Seashell 1008P Karim Rashid Collection's lid reveals a more sober all-black interior, with familiar design elements from other Seashell models.
Designer Karim Rashid shows off the outside of the Asus Eee PC 1008P netbook that bears his name
The 10.in screen is not only annoyingly reflective, but has rather limited brightness and contrast. Asus probably won't be the last company to fit a low-grade screen to a netbook, but it's perhaps more disappointing to find one here on a more design-conscious machine. And we found the desktop experience was hindered further by the choice of desktop wallpaper.
In fact, given the chosen barebones Windows 7 Starter OS, it's remarkable to find anything other than Microsoft's default blue Harmony desktop background here. The budget and feature-pared version of Windows 7 Starter has the option to use a custom background removed by Microsoft.
The alternative image somehow inserted by Asus is a somewhat gloomy black and brown image punctuated with an image of the pink netbook itself. The Personalization option is absent from the Windows 7 Starter edition Control Panel, and Asus offers no way to let you change this dour background.
As with similar Asus netbooks we've seen recently, the trackpad melds into the wrist rest area, with the active 65x38mm prodding area delineated by fine, raised bumps.
These are at least a little more diminished in relief here, so using it now is thankfully a little further removed from the blindman-at-a-wart-clinic experience. Note that the semi-matt black deck is highly fingerprint-philic.
For clicking, there's a single shiny metal bar, which needs some pressure to depress.
The Scrabble-tile keyboard of the Asus Eee PC Seashell 1008P Karim Rashid Collection takes very small 14mm-wide keys, and while we became better accustomed to the overall size of the keyboard with use - it's a netbook-typical 25cm across - its trampoline-like centre springiness continued as a source of uneasiness.
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