The Asus Eee series of netbooks are the daddies of all netbooks everywhere. There have been a huge number of different models released in the last couple of years, with varying specifications and also with varying success. The latest model, and the one which we will be reviewing here, is the 1005PE, which offers a new processor and an improved battery life.
So, lets begin with the more techy stuff, for those that are interested. The Eee 1005PE, a member of the seashell range of Asus netbooks, is packing the latest Intel Atom N450 processor at its core. This, alongside Asus’ very own Super Hybrid Engine, makes the machine far more efficient and reduces the amount of power used. The paperwork suggests that a single charge of the battery can last for up to 14 hours of use. Impressive.
So, the processor runs at 1.66GHz and there is 1GB of Ram squeezed into this small package. Graphics are managed by an Intel GMA 3150 GPU across a 10.1″ flat panel with a maximum resolution of 1024×600. It comes pre-installed with Windows 7 Starter (don’t get me started) and has a massive 250GB HDD for storage.
Aesthetically, the 1005PE is a nice looking piece of kit. The one that we got to play with was all white, with the exception of the screen surround, and had a lovely glossy finish that just seemed to invite smears and marks. There is a camera built in above the screen, perfect for those embarrassing webcam chats, and a whole host of different ports including ample USB.
Now then, the keyboard and touchpad on any laptop or netbook are very important and need to feel both comfortable and responsive. It is here that I have found the 1005PE to be a bit lacking. The keyboard, for example, features a “chiclet” style, which each key being separated from those surrounding it, and a very low profile. I found this to be uncomfortable to type upon with any speed. The touchpad is not as responsive as I would have liked and the lack of definition around the touchpad felt disconcerting although the textured feel helps.
Netbooks are often seen as a compromise between form and functionality. They are small, more portable and have a better battery life than most full size Laptops. They are, however, less powerful and lack any form of built in optical drive. They are ideally used for all Internet related stuff, hence the name “Netbook”.
But, this is a gaming website, so I am going to make another suggestion. The reasonably small size of the 1005PE, combined with the decent sized screen and the big HDD, make this a quite amazing mobile gaming platform. “What are you talking about?”, I hear you yell. Well, here is my theory…
Mobile gaming is a big deal. However, in recent years, devices have been trying to pack in as much functionality as possible. Playing games is primary, but what about adding a camera or letting people use the Internet on their handheld device. The we have the iPhone, iPod Touch and even the newly released iPad. These devices began life as media devices or communication devices. Now, they are seen as gaming platforms by many.
But, with each device, the gamer has to make compromises. Some have larger screens, some have touch screens or accelerometers. Browsing the Internet can be a bit hit and miss. They all have similar functions, bu the way that they execute them differs greatly and with varying success.
So, enter the Netbook, the PC’s answer to mobile gaming. Yes, it is larger, but not much larger than an iPad. It has no dedicated gaming controls, but this is something that PC gamers have managed with forever. You can’t play the latest 3D AAA rated games on a netbook. This is true, but then you cannot play them on any other handheld either, at least not in their full form.
The truth is, although there are many games out there that cannot be played on this netbook, there are many that can. Smaller, casual games will run fine, as will most point and click adventures. Even some of the earlier fps games will run, although I would advise picking up a USB mouse if this is your flavour. The PC has the largest library of games of any platform and a fair few will run comfortably on this machine. On top of this, the larger screen, far superior media playback and Internet experience (can anyone say “Flash”) and huge amount of storage space, make the Asus Eee 1005PE a joyous mobile gaming experience.
Finally, we talk about the battery. Now, the paperwork stated 14 hours. I am sure that it would run for 14 hours, but that would involve turning it on and not using it for the full 14 hours, which seems a bit pointless. In reality, with average use, the 1005PE will last at least 8 hours, which is a vast improvement over previous models and is quite impressive. How long will an iPad last whilst under average usage?
The Asus Eee 1005PE has been a joy to use over these past weeks and is certainly the most impressive netbook that I have used so far. The performance has been great, barring my own issues with Windows 7 Starter and I found that the netbook did everything I asked of it. For people on the move, I can highly recommend it. Looking around the Internet, it can be found for the reasonable price of Â£280, if not cheaper. How much did you say an iPad costs?