The latest in Asus’s ever-expanding line of Eee netbooks is a welcome addition to the fold, and much more to our liking than the 901 model we reviewed in December.
Eschewing the previous model’s unremarkable white plastic exterior for a brushed aluminum shell is a smart move on Asus’s part. This changed aesthetic adds legitimacy to the product: The 901’s finish made the device feel disposable, while the 1002HA feels like a real computer.
More importantly, the 1002HA Asus sent us forgoes the pair of low-performance, ultra-low-capacity solid-state drives that bumped up the Eee 901’s price while wreaking havoc with its Photoshop performance (owing to the poor write speeds of cheap MLC SSDs). Instead of SSDs, the 1002HA sports a much more generous 5400rpm 160GB standard hard drive. And it really pays off: The 1002HA breezed through out Photoshop benchmark in just 690 seconds—40 seconds faster than the Acer Aspire One, our prev-ious champion, and less than half the 1,530 seconds the Eee 901 took to accomplish the same task.
With a 10.2-inch screen and a 2 lb, 12 oz lap weight, the 1002HA is on the larger end of the netbook spectrum, and the keyboard, thankfully, is much less cramped than the 901’s, although it’s still janky—after only a few hours of use, our backspace key began squeaking and our left arrow key clicked loudly.
In fact, the only thing we miss about the 901 is its six-cell battery. We’re not complaining too much, though; even with a two-cell battery, the 1002HA lasted for more than three hours on our video rundown test. That’s a 50 percent improvement over any three-celled netbook we’ve tested, if not quite the six hours its predecessor boasted.
The rest of what Asus packed under this puppy’s hood is so standard as to nearly go without saying: a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor with 1GB of RAM, an integrated webcam, and Windows XP. Nothing we haven’t seen five times before. Asus has integrated its multitouch trackpad again, which is nice—a two-finger dragging gesture means you’ll never miss your scroll wheel, while a three-finger tap is a right-click.
We dig the Eee 1002HA’s newfound sense of style, more comfortable keyboard, great battery life (for a two-cell), and kick-ass Photoshop scores. We still think the Acer Aspire One is a cheapskate’s best friend and the HP Mini 1000’s keyboard is beyond compare, but we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this Eee to anyone who wants a hard-working, long-lasting netbook.
Asus Eee 1002HA
Stylish, high-performing netbook with a roomy HDD, and three USB ports.
Still on the pricey side. Keyboard no match for the HP Mini 1000’s.
10.2" TFT WSVGA @ 1024x600
Intel Atom N270 1.6Ghz
160GB Seagate Momentus 5400rpm
Three USB, audio in/out, multicard reader, VGA out, Ethernet