I went and grabbed the Asus eeepc 1005HA-P for my upcoming Mystery Trip. It is very light and is quite powerful for its size, though there are some down sides. I’m dual booting Windows XP with Linux Mint as my primary OS and it’s pretty impressive.
The 1005HA-PU1X-BK, as it is officially known, is small in size, lightweight and gets 10.5 hours of battery life! I considered the 1101HA, which has a larger screen and slightly longer (advertised) battery life. But all the reviews said the processor was anemic (1.33GHz) so I decided to stay away and I’m happy with my decision.
That said, this is a very solid and capable netbook. It is built and designed quite well – it looks nice and feels sturdy and refined. The screen tucks behind the keyboard the way Macs do and the body is sleek and comfortable to hold. The system is very responsive and quick compared to the eeepc 900 – the last netbook I used – especially after upgrading it to 2GB of RAM.
I run Linux Mint most of the time and it is pretty well tailored for the eeepc. The current version (Gloria, based on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope) installs fairly smoothly but, like with much new hardware, my network drivers weren’t loaded out of the box. That was easy enough to fix with these instructions, though, and the next version (based on Karmic Koala) seems to work with the hardware just fine. There is one issue I ran into with the eeepc tray software where the wireless network would drop out fairly often, but that was solved by adding the following line to my /etc/default/eeepc-acpi.local file:
Overall, I am very satisfied with the laptop and am sure it will make a great companion on my trip. I’ll keep you posted on how it works out – starting September 20th.
Here’s how the 1005HA stacks up against other netbooks:
Pros – powerful, long battery, sturdy and polished construction
Cons – hard-to-use trackpad
A note on netbooks
The size of all netbooks, however, has its disadvantages. The 1005HA is best-of-breed in many aspects, though there are inherent weaknesses in this breed. The screen size, though standard to large by netbook standards, is difficult to get used to. I can only see a few lines at a time and some interactive interfaces are too big to fit the 1024×600 screen. A higher resolution would have been MUCH appreciated. The keyboard and trackpad (again, standard to large by netbook standards) are also smaller than I prefer. I’ve got big hands and they are quite squished in the small space. It’s not very comfortable to type for long periods of time. And the processor, fastest available in its class at 1.66GHz, can be a bit sluggish. I can stream TED videos, for example, but sometimes it gets jumpy.