Pros: Low price fits any budget, LED backlight, Overclockable
Cons: No internal DVD or CD-ROM drive, poor Adobe Flash performance
The ASUS 1005HA netbook is the best that I have seen in the crowded market of Intel Atom based laptop computers. You are buying the result of several generations of netbook design by ASUS. The series is referred to as eeePC and has been in constant development for many years now. In fact a lively online forum is visited many people in the online enthusiast community daily. They post recommendations for upgrades including several photos in online help guides that will help you tweak the most performance out of your investment.
My ASUS 1005HA Eee PC came packaged from BestBuy in something similar in size and shape to a shoe box. Inside, I found the a few instruction manuals with no more than 30 pages of material, the AC power adapter and the netbook itself.
Keyboard, Ergonomics And Control Layout
The product measures 12.25 inches x 10 inches x 3.25 inches and has a beautiful, glossy black paint job over a majority of its surface. The casual viewer of this laptop will think it was the bigger cousin of an iPhone rather than a product of the computer company ASUS.
The secret of the whole netbook revolution that is going on today has to be the full sized keyboard. The keyboard measures 10” wide by 4” deep which is one of the largest I could find in this line of netbooks. The manufacturers realized that typists want keyboards with standard layouts, easy touch typing and large keys.
The top of the keyboard features two chrome buttons on either side. The left button will disable the touchpad and the right button is your power function. The touchpad itself is relatively easy to use but I did have to turn off the double tap and zoom features since my large thumbs were causing the system to repeatedly go into zoom mode.
The looks and feel of this netbook are going to make you want to buy it. If you have little self control when it comes to new electronics, I strongly suggest avoiding BestBuy or any major electronics retailer for the next few months!
Video And Monitor
The 10.1” monitor on this laptop is fantastic! The native resolution of 1024x600 is surprisingly effective for this little netbook. An glossy coating has been placed on the display which looks similar to that which is on the Sony SDM-HS95P/B 19" LCD monitor. If that were not enough, the screen even has an LED backlight that makes viewing text and photos so much easier with groups of friends or coworkers.
The video card built into this laptop has the weakest 3D acceleration that I have ever seen in a new computer since 2004! You will be able to watch YouTube movies but HD versions of the same movies are going to bring this humble little system to its knees. I can understand why the video acceleration is so poor, any faster and your battery performance is going to suffer. Currently, no one has figured out how to increase the speed of the video on the ASUS 1005HA with a drop-in-upgrade.
Dual Monitor Feature
By far one of the most impressive features of this netbook is the ability to send video to a second monitor at over 1280x1024 resolution including common widescreen formats. During the McNeese State University football season, I retreat to Houston to watch the games via video streaming with my old college friends in the area. For the 2009 season, I was the hit of the party with my netbook’s ability to web broadcast the games onto a Sony 52” LCD television.
Overall I think the ability to run dual monitors on this netbook is cool but not being able to affix the cable to the socket has caused me some troubles while streaming McNeese Football games at my condominium in Houston, TX.
As a footnote to all this, if you really wanted more monitors on this laptop, you can use the EVGA UV Plus+ USB 2.0 Video Adapter to quickly get a third monitor working.
Adobe Flash Performance
One of my favorite past times is collecting Adobe Flash games off the internet. I like these games because of the crisp detail the programming language creates in the games and animations. Unfortunately, this laptop is not going to deliver the quality you may expect in the games. The flash animations from Newgrounds.com are very choppy and appear to only have a peak from rate of 20 FPS.
Secure Digital Card Slot
On the right side of the netbook, you are going to find a small but powerfull card slot. The builtin SDHC card slot means instant compatibility with many consumer electronic devices like the Nintendo DSi, digital photo frames and digital cameras. You can even use the built in SDHC card slot as your own floppy disk to transfer files from your office computer to the netbook. I have had no problems replacing multimedia cards with the adapter so far and am confident that the solid overall construction of this netbook will give many years of service. The ASUS 1005HA netbook works with the following secure digital memory cards: Kingston Elite Pro (1 GB) SD Card (SD/1GB-SKR) , Dane-Elec - Flash memory card - - SD Memory Card (2 GB) (DA-SD-2048-R) , Transcend (TS2GSD133) 133x (2 GB) SD Card , Hitachi (32MMCD) (32 MB) MultiMedia Card , Kodak KHSD4GBCNA High Performance Secure Digital
The built-in speakers on the ASUS 1005HA do a great job of reproducing highs, mid-tones and even a little low range sound. I tested them out by playing the McNeese State vs. Appalachian State game broadcast on KNGT via webcast on 9/12/2009. I had the sound ratcheted up to MAXIMUM the entire game. You can clearly hear the speakers from a distance of 15 feet away.
Introducing The Intel N270 Atom Processor
The heart of this laptop is an Intel N270 Atom processor which runs at 1.6Ghz and has a 533Mhz Front Side Bus (FSB). While it only physically has one core, Intel turned on hyperthreading so that a single threaded application will not completely lock up the system while using Windows XP Home Edition.
To increase the performance of the Intel N270 Atom processor, ASUS included a utility called the Super Hybrid Engine. With this software you have the ability to dynamically change the clock speed of the processor while you are using the laptop. The three modes; Power Saving, Super Performance and High Performance, reduce the power consumption or actually overclock the processor for those times that you need more speed temporarily.
ASUS 1005HA Laptop Processor Performance
We all have a need for speed. How will an Intel Atom N270 processor running in ASUS Hybrid Engine, Super Performance mode for a resulting clock rate of 1680Mhz and a 560Mhz rated FSB with 1Gb of memory operating in single channel mode perform?
To give you an idea of the performance of this processor, I used three different benchmarks: Super Pi, the BOINC Manager and MCS Benchmark 2008. Each of these benchmarks stresses unique aspects of the processor and are heavily dependent on the supporting hardware around the processor like the memory speed, hard drive and motherboard chipset.
Super Pi V1.1 is an application that extrapolates the specified digits of PI into a text file. Since the task is both processor and file system intensive it can give you an idea of how fast your cpu is. Processors with large on-die cache sizes and high bus speeds tend to do better in this benchmark. The problem is the calculation is single threaded in this version so you only see the performance of one processor.
Here are the results of three runs at 1,000,000 digits of PI:
#1; 1 mins 28 seconds
#2; 1 mins 28 seconds
#3; 1 mins 29 seconds
The Boinc Manager benchmark is designed to stress every available thread on your computer to see how many computations per second it can perform. With the results, the Boinc Manager automatically assigns distributed computing projects to your processors. The benchmark has been improved by scholars at academic institutions over the period of several years and is now a very reliable metric of modern computing performance.
Here the results of three runs:
#1; 725 floating point MIPS (Whetstone) per cpu, 1877 integer MIPS (Dhrystone) per cpu
#2; 722 floating point MIPS (Whetstone) per cpu, 1844 integer MIPS (Dhrystone) per cpu
#3; 728 floating point MIPS (Whetstone) per cpu, 1883 integer MIPS (Dhrystone) per cpu
MCS Benchmark 2008
The MCS CPU Benchmark 2008 will test the entire system to give you an overall score based on CPU and file system performance.
Here are the results of three runs:
The benchmark results are little humbling when compared to the speed of Intel Socket 775 processors but you must remember this little processor is held back by its slow 533 Mhz front side bus and relatively low cache size. Well, to be honest the processor just has to little cache! An Intel Socket 478 Celeron 1.8Ghz processor can turn out a best of 2 minutes 20 seconds in SuperPi 1,000,000 and a rather dismal 943 Whetstone, 1252 Dhrystone on the BOINC manager benchmark. We are looking at similar performance for this system but with the added benefit of hyperthreading.
The Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33Ghz Socket 775 Processor can complete 1,000,000 digits of Super Pi in 13 seconds and achieve a score of 12562 in teh MCS Cpu Benchmark 2008.
Power Consumption And Battery Life
The Asus Eee PC 1005HA currently has 3 Li-ion battery options available:
6-cell battery 63Wh – 10.5 hour* lifespan (Asus Eee PC 1005HA-P)
6-cell battery 48Wh – 8.5 hour* lifespan (Asus Eee PC 1005HA-V)
3-cell battery 23Wh – 4 hour* lifespan (Asus Eee PC 1005HA-E)
My laptop came with the 3-cell battery or 23Wh. I was only able to make it through a 3 hour business meeting before the battery hit 10% remaining capacity. During that time, I was typing notes, had 802.11g networking on, logged into a Windows 2003 Terminal Server connection and browsing a few web pages for content updates.
The higher capacity batteries are slowly coming to the market. Remember this product was first released in 2009 so the distribution channels for replacement parts like the batteries have not fully matured yet. You can expect to pay $100 for the 6-cell 63Wh battery when it is released.
Using a P3 International Kill A Watt P4400 power consumption meter, I was able to get the following wattage values:
31 Watts to recharge a 95% drained 23Wh battery and display the Dream Aquarium screensaver.
9 Watts to power the netbook with a fully charged battery and Microsoft Word 2003 open while writing this review.
After frequent use in a 24 hour period that included a full battery recharge and the writing of two product reviews for Epinions, I checked the Kill A Watt P4400 to find that I consumed 0.31 Kwh of power for my little laptop.
Software Installation Without A CD Or DVD Drive
I use now use this laptop to write reviews for Epinions.com. When I started using the laptop it came with Microsoft Office 2007 Student edition and the annoying popup window that urged me to register my software. I do not like Microsoft Office 2007 and decided to use a licensed copy of Microsoft Office 2003 that was recently uninstalled from a derelict machine in my computer room.
To install another copy of Microsoft Office, I first uninstalled the Microsoft 2007 Works Suite from the laptop using Add/Remove Programs. Next, I placed my Microsoft Office 2003 CD-ROM in a desktop computer and shared the drive on the network. Now, I browsed the network with my ASUS 1005HAB and located the shared drive. Finally, I clicked the Setup file in the root of the shared CD-ROM and was able to complete my installation onto the new laptop.
Tweaks and Overclocking The ASUS 1005HA Netbook
I must admit that I am not the most patient laptop user in the world. One of my first tweaks to the ASUS 1005HA will be adding a faster 128Gb SATA SSD Drive to it.
Using freeware program called setFSB, you can overclock this laptop to speeds in excess of 2.0Ghz. SetFSB Version 2_2_130_96 will automatically detect the clock generator in this laptop and let you start overclocking. I strongly suggest turning the ASUS Hybrid Engine off via the registry because the utility does not interact well with SetFSB. Of course, running any small form factor computer at high clock speeds generates a tremendous amount of heat that can damage every single part inside.
Intel Atom N270 Processor 1.6GHz
1GB DDR2 RAM, 1 x SODIMM Slot, 2GB Max
160GB* SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
Windows XP Home Operating System
Microsoft Word 2007 UNREGISTERED LIMITED USE Student Edition
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n;
10.1-inch WSVGA 1024x600 LCD Display
3 USB 2.0 Slots
Headphone and microphone jacks
10/100 Ethernet port
1.3M Video camera integrated into top of LCD monitor
The ASUS Support Website
I was less than impressed with the ASUS support website because it Adobe Flash 10 based. The netbook does not perform well with flash based software so using this website is an exercise in patience.
Who Can Benefit The Most From This Laptop And Summary
I must admit that this was impulse purchase for me. Out of a field of over 5 mini form factor laptops at BestBuy on September 7, 2009, the ASUS 1005HA laptop was simply the best. Forget about the $299 price tag, the generous keyboard layout, 10” screen and quick hardware response stole the show for me. Best Buy even gave me a 6 month, no interest payment plan .
The netbook is ideally suited for the professional who finds themselves in frequent meetings or a student that needs a way to take notes while on the go. Over the past week, I have been in numerous meetings involving over 12 hours worth of face to face time with coworkers. At the end of each of these meetings, I now send an email from the netbook that summarizes all topics discussed and a plan of action for each person. For the manager, the productivity you will gain from a full size keyboard and Outlook integration is priceless. The price of just $300 is hard to beat when you consider that a full size, bulky laptop costs over $600! I can do almost everything that system does without the need for a big man purse on my shoulder!
As a final note, you are reading my 200th published review on Epinions.com. My journey has been a non-stop exploration of my technical writing abilities that has resulted in a career beyond my wildest expectations and a glimpse into the darkness of online psychology. The ASUS 1005HA netbook is a purchase that was inspired by the desire to publish more Epinions content. Yet the accidental incorporation of this technology into my career has given me insights into a whole other world of possibilities that will ultimately prove that contributing to Epinions was the best decision I ever made. Thanks everyone!