Ever since the original netbook, the Asus Eee PC 701, debuted way back in 2007, netbooks have been flying off shelves at a rate of knots. Despite this success, however, the only notable hardware innovation has been nVidia's scarcely utilised ION chipset. Intel has finally done something about this in releasing its new netbook chipset, codenamed Pine Trail, and the Asus Eee PC 1005PE is one of first netbooks to utilise it.
We'll get into the finer details of Pine Trail later, but first let's take a closer look at the chassis. Anyone familiar with the Asus Eee PC 1008HA, the first 'Seashell' themed Eee PC, will recognise the similarities in the 1005PE and it's a design we really like. Despite there being so much choice these days, on looks alone the clean lines of the 1005PE put it close to the top - even if the removable battery means it lacks the slimness of the 1008HA.
At 1.3kg, the 1005PE is a couple of hundred grams heavier as well, but that's about what you'd expect from a 10in netbook with a six-cell battery. Being thicker also negates the need for flaps covering the ports, which is arguably more convenient anyway.
Even with all these changes, however, the 1005PE still retains the same look and feel, including the glossy, high-maintenance finish. This probably works best on the white version we have, where its black bezel contrasts dramatically with the white body. It doesn't reveal fingerprints and grease as readily as the black version might, either.
A chiclet keyboard and the seamlessly integrated touchpad complete the classy look, which is further enhanced by matching faux-chrome buttons for power, the instant-on Express Gate OS and the touchpad. Build Quality is also very strong, with little sign of creak or flex, though for better or worse it does lack the toy-like ruggedness of the original Eee PC.
It's just a shame connectivity remains so basic. We wouldn't call an HDMI output a must-have on a netbook, but it is a 'nice to have' and is totally absent on the 1005PE. As such you’re still stuck with good old analogue VGA here, which is joined by three USB ports, a memory card reader, headphone and microphone jacks and an Ethernet port - i.e. the same connections as on the original Eee PC!