Clearly, then, the Eee PC 1000HE has a lot going for it. It continues Asus’ tradition for market leading battery life in netbooks, has all the necessary features and also has an (incrementally) improved keyboard. However, not everything is rosy in Eee PC land.
For starters, though the Eee PC 1000 design was fine when it first launched last year, it’s already beginning to show its age compared to more recent competition. Be it the MSI Wind, Samsung NC10 or even the relatively modest Lenovo IdeaPad S10e, the 1000HE simply looks a bit chunky – its large cylindrical hinge section, cheap looking accents around the touchpad and rather bulbous feel doing little for it in the beauty stakes.
This isn’t the end of the world provided you don’t care much for aesthetics, but the 1000HE isn’t the cheapest netbook around, either. Asus quoted us a suggested price of £359.99 when it becomes available in April and though netbooks have been sold for more than this – Asus’ own Eee PC S101 springs to mind – they generally had something more going for them such as more features or outstanding design.
Undoubtedly the 1000HE’s excellent battery life accounts for some of this extra cost, as does the improved keyboard, but it’s hard to escape the feeling that Asus is struggling to come up with ways to freshen up the Eee PC range. Moreover, while the excellent battery life is very welcome, it’s only worth the £50 extra above arguably better netbooks if you really need that kind of longevity. If not, the five or six hours you can get from a Samsung NC10 or one of Asus’ own Eee PC 1000’s is more than enough for most needs.
If you’re after a netbook with the best possible battery life, the Eee PC 1000HE definitely has you covered and should be seriously considered. However, in terms of design and usability it lags behind some of its cheaper rivals and with new models bound to materialise soon, it doesn’t quite do enough to make it a must buy.