Summary

Our Score

7/10

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Asus Eee PC 1101HA Seashell - 11.6in Netbook

We're not sure what to say about netbooks anymore. Just the very mention of one makes our brains turn numb, so we'll be honest with you - we weren't exactly filled with excitement when we took delivery of Asus' latest offering, the Eee PC 1101HA.

In all fairness to the Eee PC 1101HA, though, it does generate a few talking points due to its 11.6in display. This appears to be the next frontier for netbooks, bringing with it a far more usable 1,366 x 768 resolution. That's the same resolution found on many 13.4, 15.6 and 16in laptops, so if you've ever bemoaned the restrictiveness of a 10in netbook, the 1101HA could be for you.

However, before you start leaping for joy at the sheer genius of it all, there are compromises to be made. If the 1.6GHz Intel Atom processors were pushing the boundaries of acceptable performance, the 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520 in the 1101HA laughs in your face and shouts "I can go slower".

In our experience the Z520 is noticeably slower than the N270 or N280 Atom CPUs. It struggles more perceptibly with online flash video, especially BBC iPlayer in full screen or in 'high quality' mode. It's also slightly less responsive when switching between different applications, which can become irritating over a prolonged period of time.

This CPU is paired with the Intel GMA 500 graphics chipset, which is mooted to support acceleration of 1080p VC-1, AVC HD (h.264) and MPEG-2 video. This is obviously a pretty neat feature, but not an easily accessible one - you must be using the correct driver and install Windows Vista or Windows 7 to get it working properly. As such the 1101HA, which like most netbooks comes with Windows XP pre-installed, isn't best placed to take advantage! Moreover, given the sluggishness of the processor, installing either Vista or Windows 7 isn't necessarily a great idea.

Outside of the processor and chipset, everything else about the 1101HA's specification is entirely by the book. As such you get a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, Draft-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Included in the box is Asus' customary slip-case, which is always a nice touch, while the power supply is the same small unit supplied with the 1008HA.

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