Worth a quick mention is the small task bar Asus has added to the 1015PEM’s Windows 7 Starter installation. Accessed via a drop-down tag at the top of the screen, this gives you a convenient way to get at various Asus-specific apps, services and settings, including the company’s Web Storage, Game Park, and the option to enable or disable SRS sound and USB charging. Like the webcam cover, it’s especially useful for first-time users.
Asus makes impressive claims about the battery life; allegedly the 5,200mAh, 56Wh unit should be good for up to 11 hours. In our testing, however, it gave considerably less than this, managing just over six hours with a video looped at 50 percent screen brightness. This is a good hour less than the single-core 1005PE, so if you’re looking to get a Seashell netbook it’s worth seeing if you would rather have the extra power or more time away from a socket. On a side note, it’s impressive that Asus has managed to keep its netbook’s weight below 1.3kg despite the large battery.
Finally, on the value front the £300 1015PEM holds up reasonably well. It has no glaring faults, though we certainly wouldn’t consider the keyboard ideal for extensive typing sessions. The undoubted highlight is the (for now) rare addition of USB 3.0, which gives you lightning-fast transfer speeds with compatible external storage. Of course, many won’t even use this feature, especially on a netbook.
If that’s you, Samsung’s £320 NF210 might be a better alternative, as it offers an impressive eight hours of battery life despite featuring the same dual-core Atom CPU. The Acer Aspire D255 is also a worthy contender now that it’s available for under £250 – in fact, it’s probably the most attractive option of the three in terms of value for money.
If you want USB 3.0, Asus’ Eee PC Seashell 1015PEM is one of the first netbooks to offer it and therefore an easy choice. If not, there are plenty of other options around, though this Seashell might still be worth picking up if you don’t mind its keyboard.
Score in detail
Battery Life 7