Thus far, then, the 1008HA is clearly putting in a good show, but from the moment we saw it and started to review it our nagging doubt was battery life. Before getting too deep into the technical details one thing that will put off many, particularly the hardcore netbooks users, will be the non-replaceable battery. This means that not only can you not enhance battery life with spare batteries, you also can't replace the battery should its performance significantly degrade. This might not be an issue until three or four years down the line, but an issue it remains.
However, more pressing, in our eyes at least, was whether the 1008HA would be able to deliver decent battery life at all. After all, a three-cell, lithium polymer battery with a measly sounding 2,900mAh capacity doesn't sound particularly promising, regardless of the claimed six hour runtime.
Imagine our surprise, then, when it returned very respectable figures. Not the six hours claimed by Asus mind, but after an hour of video playback there was still 78 per cent battery remaining, while an hour's Internet browsing ended with 81 per cent remaining. Extending our use a little longer, after three hours of web browsing, word processing and general use we still had just less than 40 per cent remaining. Thus, in typical use, you can expect around four and a half to five hours of use - much more than we even dared imagine. Moreover, these results were achieved using the normal 'High Performance' mode, so more longevity could be attained using the underclocked power saving mode.
With this significant hurdle successfully navigated, the only question that remains unanswered is whether it's worth the money? When we embarked on this review we were convinced not, mainly due to our fears over the battery life. But with that issue largely put to rest, the 1008HA begins to make a much better case for itself. Yes, it is significantly more expensive than the mainstream crop of netbooks, but Asus has successfully created a slim and light netbook that offers excellent battery life while still remaining as cool and quiet as any netbook we've encountered. This is no mean feat.
Hardcore netbook users, who want the very best battery life possible for the least amount of cost, won't find the Eee PC 1008HA to their taste - not least due to the inaccessible battery. Yet, Asus has delivered a very refined and classy netbook without sacrificing functionality and this should be applauded. And, while it is expensive for a netbook, it delivers enough that it isn't extortionate. Thus, if you're after a little more refinement than regular netbooks can deliver, this is your best bet.