Anyone who owns a TV, knows how to read, or listens to the radio knows that the global economy sucks today and will continue to be poor for most of 2009 and possibly into 2010 depending on whom you listen to. That means that all sorts of retailers are having a hard time with many of the largest electronics and computer firms announcing major losses and layoffs.
Despite the poor economy one sector of the computer market is continuing to grow impressively is the netbook market. The reason for the continued growth of the netbook market is simple — the machines are cheap. The average netbook sells for under $400 and offers portability and battery life that makes working on the road less of a chore for many users.
Today I am going to look at one of the more recent and sexy netbooks form Asus called the Eee 1002HA. This netbook was among the first that Asus offered that was decked out in its business attire rather than the kiddy-style plastic you typically see on a netbook.
Most netbooks share a very common platform and many times the innards of the machines are identical. The Eee 1002HA I will be looking at today uses the class leading Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1GB of RAM and has a 160GB HDD. The little computer weighs 2.6 pounds and is about 1-inch thick making it very portable. The screen is a 10-inch unit with LED backlighting and a resolution of 1024 x 600.
To benchmark the Eee 1002HA I used PCMArk05, MobileMark 2007, and Cinebench 10 to get an idea of how well the machine performs for a variety of usage scenarios and to test battery life and processor performance. The first test up was PCMark05, which automates a series of common computer usage scenarios like productivity, multimedia and more. The Eee 1002HA scored 1494 PCMarks on the benchmark. If you compare that score to those of most basic notebooks the 1002HA looks bad, however that score is what you expect to see from a netbook.
The next test up was MobileMark 2007, which gives the battery life of a computer. With the netbook, lacking an optical drive most users won’t be watching many movies so I used the productivity benchmark to get battery run time for the 1002HA. The battery lasted right at four hours with the Super Hybrid Engine (controls power usage and performance) set to auto mode, LCD brightness at max, and Wi-Fi on. You could tweak these settings and improve the battery life if desired. The final test was Cinebench 10, which is a pure CPU test application. The little Atom N270 inside the 1002HA scored 843 on the benchmark. All of the test results for the Eee 1002HA were exactly where you expect to see them for a netbook.
Benchmarks don’t really tell many people looking to buy a new netbook how well the machine performs. What most shoppers really want to know is how well the machine works dint the real world. I used the 1002HA as my work machine for a full day and while it was very underpowered compared to my desktop computer, I could easily work from the machine rather than my full-size notebook.
I was able to surf the Internet with no issues, I could type all the word documents I wanted and I could do all the resizing and touchups of photos I wanted in Photoshop Elements without any significant issues due to performance. In short, the 1002HA simply worked exactly as I expected it too.
The little machine looks fantastic in its brushed aluminum case with its well-sized keyboard. The keyboard is always an important part of any netbook or notebook computer and this one offers good typing feel. The single biggest downfall for the 1002HA is the keyboard layout. Specifically, the right shift key is in a very weird position on the right side of the up arrow key rather than under the enter key like it should be. Whoever thought that was a good idea needs to be fired. Asus has fixed the weird shift key location in its new netbooks, but those considering the 1002HA need to see it in a store before they buy. You can get used to the arrangement, but touch typists will hate life until they do.
The track pad is one of the best I have ever used on any computer. Asus added support for multi-touch to the 1002HA track pad and it makes working with the machine much easier. A single finger moves the cursor as you expect it to. Place a second finger on the track pad and you can scroll up and down pages. Tapping the track pad with three fingers acts as a right click. The track pad is very intuitive and I hope Asus makes it standard on all of its computers.
In the end, the Asus Eee 1002HA is a fantastic netbook with a goofy keyboard layout that takes getting used to. The netbook performs well, can do anything your average computer user will need and looks very good. If you can get past, the location of the right shift key there is nothing stopping me from recommending the Asus 1002HA highly.
- Good looks
- Very portable
- Great track pad
- Weird right shift key