Asus Eee PC 1101HA Seashell Netbook Review A little over a year ago netbooks were the emerging trend that had everyone buzzing.
Now the so called tablet seems to be stealing that spotlight. But while these new devices have yet to prove themselves on a commercial scale besides maybe some niche business applications, netbooks have already found their place on the market, at least for now. In this short time span we seen at least a couple netbook generations pass by, with the concept itself getting a spin on each new revision. Today, we be taking a look at one of Asus newer products in this segment, the Eee PC 1101HA You might recall, the last time we checked a Eee PC product was in late 2008 in our top netbook round up. What we have today is a much stylized, equally lightweight and more usable offering than anything we reviewed back then. The Eee PC 1101HA was Asus first netbook to go beyond the 10 inch display size, sporting an 11.6 inch panel capable of a 1366768 resolution they also have the 12.1 inch Eee PC 1201HA now. These larger screen netbooks provide a user experience that comes very close to that of a standard laptop, in fact, a few years back you would had to pay a hefty premium for an ultra portable notebook if you wanted the kind of mobility and flexibility a current generation netbook can provide. Inside the oakley ski retail box we found the netbook, a 6 cell 63Wh Li ion battery, power cable, AC adapter, warranty card, user manual and support DVD. Ironically, the support DVD contains a system recovery image to restore your computer to factory default, although you will need to an external optical drive in order to use it. The Eee PC 1101HA measures 11.26" x 7.72" x (0.86 1.42") with total weight estimated at 2.9 pounds using the included 6 cell battery. Like most netbooks released around mid last year, the Eee 1101HA features a 1.33GHz Atom Z520 processor, 1GB of DDR2 memory and a 160GB hard drive. Bluetooth 2.1 and WLAN 802.11b/g/n handle the wireless connectivity. Read on as we explore the Eee PC 1101HA features inside and out. Asus Eee PC 1001HA Impressions From the outside the 1101HA looks similar to other modern Eee models, with its recognizable wedge shape and black plastic lid with the Asus nameplate plastered near the middle. Looking head on at the unit you would likely miss the two small LED indicators (power and battery) along the bottom right edge of the system. The lid has a slight lip that overhands the front edge which could be bit more pronounced to make it easier to grasp and open. On the right edge of the system we find a memory card slot (SD/SDHC/MMC), headphone jack, microphone jack, two USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet port. The back side of the Eee is plain with only the battery compartment visible. Asus scores a design point here as the battery on the 1101HA does not protrude from the rear of the netbook like we have seen on systems such as the Acer Aspire One 11.6". The left side features the DC power input, VGA out port, another USB 2.0 port, a Kensington Lock port and some cooling vents. With the lid open it evident that the 11.6" screen size and bezel used here are leaps and bounds above the tiny 8.9" display we saw on the Eee 904HA. Above the screen are a microphone and 1.3MP webcam. Below it and just above the keyboard on the left is a touchpad key used to turn the touchpad on / off. This is a rather odd placement for such a button but at least there the option, while on the right is the system power switch. As you can see from the pictures above it has more or less the same footprint as the Aspire One 751h. However, the latter oakley half wire 2.0 has more of a consistent shape when looking at it from the side, while Seashell starts out thin and gradually increases in thickness as you follow it near the back of the system. Asus did a commendable job with the keyboard and layout on the 1101HA. The Control and Function keys are ideally placed, almost every key (with the exception of the right Shift key) is full size and there is no wasted space. Typing on the Eee PC 1101HA feels solid as its keyboard doesn have the extreme amount of flex we have seen in other portables, though there is still a little give beneath the keys. The multi gesture touchpad on this Eee is unlike any other I have seen on a netbook. Rather than the typical smooth inset pad we are used to, Asus kept the touchpad flush with the wrist rest, oakley sunglasses 2016 using only a series of tiny raised bumps to differentiate the two. This actually looks really sleek and isn as difficult to adjust to as you might suspect. The mouse click buttons are a single piece and chrome in color. As I mentioned before, two separate click buttons would have been better in my opinion, but it seems the single piece design is popular with manufacturers these days as every notebook and netbook I have worked with recently used this same configuration. Below the wrist rest to the right we find the status light indicators. From left to right: Power, Battery, Hard Drive, Wireless / Bluetooth and Caps Lock. On the bottom are four rubber feet, two battery release latches, an oakley tightrope access panel for the memory and various cooling vents. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to access and replace the hard drive. Two downward firing speakers are located beneath the front array of vents, and a SIM card slot under the battery compartment. Asus is not offering a free upgrade to Windows 7 with this netbook, or a variant sporting it out of the box, however it is supported. You can find all the necessary drivers on the manufacturer support website, that said we feel the included copy of XP is a better fit for the hardware. Bundled with the 1101HA are a 60 day trial of Microsoft Office, Norton Internet Security and Asus Eee Storage software which gives you 10GB of online hard drive space. Fortunately the system is lean on bloatware. I only had to uninstall a few programs instead of over a dozen like we seen from other manufacturers. One interesting piece of software is the Super Hybrid Engine which allows you to manage different power modes from an easy to use graphical interface. We have seen similar applications on other portables before, but what sets Super Hybrid Engine apart from the pack is its ability to overclock the system. In order to do this you must enter the BIOS and select the level of overclock you want, from 5% to 30%. Then in Windows you can enable the overclock on the fly by switching to Super Performance mode in Super Hybrid Engine. The result is an increase in clock speed of up to 410MHz. On the other end of the spectrum, you can underclock the system by 333MHz choosing Power Save Mode in order to conserve battery power. Below are various benchmarks that were run both at the stock 1.33 GHz and the maximum overclock of 1.74 GHz. To give you an idea of how the Eee PC 1101HA stacks up against its rivals, we included benchmark numbers for the similarly spec Acer Aspire One 751h and Acer 8.9" model running a standard 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor. Usage, Battery Life and Conclusion Asus has come a long way with the Eee PC since we first reviewed the 904HA netbook over a year ago. Although the 1011HA is constructed mostly of plastic, it doesn feel cheap. Overall build quality is great, however be prepared for the glossy finish on the wrist rest and outer lid to attract fingerprints like a magnet. The screen image quality and brightness were quite good; in size and resolution it is virtually identical to that of the Aspire One 751h. I personally love large resolutions on small screens like this as everything looks razor sharp. Unfortunately our review sample had a single "stuck" red pixel, which I didn really notice until a week or so into usage. Vertical and horizontal viewing angles are about average. Typing on the 1011HA felt very natural despite the slight flex I would rank it among the top netbook keyboards I have used while the sleek touchpad design that sits flush with the wrist rest was a pleasant surprise. Like the majority of netbooks we seen, the Eee PC 1011HA comes preinstalled with Windows XP, which is a good fit for the hardware. The use of an Atom Z520 processor, rather than the more traditional N270 or N280 variety, means you be making some compromises in terms of performance to favor longer battery duration. For our test the system was left idle at the Windows desktop with half screen brightness and all power saving features disabled. We were pleased to see the 1011HA achieve a run time of 8 hours and 45 minutes, which is just 5 minutes shy of the Acer Timeline 4810T notebook we reviewed a few months back. Compared to other netbooks, the Eee beat out our previous best of 7 hours and 58 minutes with the Aspire One 751h. Performance wise the Eee PC 1101HA is pretty much on par with the Aspire One 751h given that the two share the same processor and memory configuration. The obvious game changer here is the Seashell ability to be overclocked. When comparing benchmark numbers with the Atom Z520 pushed to 1.
74GHz, the Eee PC 1101HA was clearly superior it even managed to outclass the Aspire One 8.9" equipped with a 1.60GHz Atom N270 in every test except Super Pi 4M test.
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