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I was looking for a cheap alternative to a laptop and this is certainly what the ASUS 1008HA is. It is sleek, lightweight, fast and beautiful to look at!
It is about handbag sized and incredibly light, so very portable. Mine is black and shiny (it comes with a cloth like a glasses cleaner to keep it smudge free). It is also called a Seashell which is because it shuts like a clam, leaving only smooth edges. As it's a netbook, it has a smaller keyboard, which you soon get used to. The screen is also very small, but it has a zoom (like on an iphone). This is easy to use, but it takes a while to get used to the mousepad, as you keep zooming by mistake!
In terms of technical capabilities, I have found it fast (faster than my husband's zoostorm laptop), even for watching online TV, playing games and even during AVG scans!
Disadvantages: It is a netbook, so it has no CD/DVD drive. It does have two USB ports however, and bluetooth connectivity, so I find I manage well enough. After 5 months, the sound suddenly stopped working, but I sent it to Asus and they mended it quickly and free of charge. It comes with a lot of rubbish - lots of installed programs that I just deleted straight away. It also comes with an annoying screensaver, which plays music and pictures of the seaside! But this is easily changed.
It is perfect for someone who spends a lot of their time on the internet, and wants a portable option. Mine cost about £250 from simplyasus.com
Lovely to look at, shiny, red, slim, classy. At least until you've picked it up, after that its covered in fingerprints and smudges. However that doesn't stop it from working so unless looks are all you want don't worry too much.
A bit more of a draw back is the glossy screen. This also picks up finger prints and smudges easily so don't touch it! Also you have to be quite careful where you point the screen as it make a pretty good mirror in bright conditions!
Almost all of the external connections are covered by hinged plastic doors. The VGA connection is not only covered but also requires the use of an adapter (which plugs into a slot in the underside of the machine when not in use). This all makes the thing smaller and sleeker looking. If you don't use the connections much then that's all for the good. If you use them a lot then I suspect that the doors might not stay attached for to long.
A bit of a negative start. However I have to say I love this machine. Although its specs don't seem much better than the older N270 machines it does FEEL quicker (and that despite my old one being a Linux version and this a windows XP version, if/when I install Linux on this I'll update the review). The battery life is good (don't ever know how they get the advertised life on any laptop I've owned) I have certainly passed 4 1/2 hours use and still had some left, that's with the screen set not to brightly but using wireless the whole time. The wireless incidentally is at least as good as my full size, albeit somewhat older, HP laptop. Haven't tested the blue-tooth yet.
Overall I'm surprised by the speed. I have OpenOffice installed rather than Microsoft Office (see www.openoffice.org its very similar and completely free!), and can usefully use the word processor, spreadsheets and even the database without getting too frustrated.
If you are not watching every every ounce then I would consider the 1005HA instead, it has a full size VGA connector, an extra USB port, the disk and memory are easier to upgrade, and its available with a bigger battery which lasts longer and is user changeable (the 1008 must be dismantled to change its battery) . Obviously its not quite as sleek and light and make sure you get an N280 version.