ASUS Eee PC 1005PE Review

by Kevin O'Brien Reads (84,674)

Overview

  • Pros

    • 12 hours of battery life
    • Good overall build quality
    • Excellent thermal management
  • Cons

    • Annoying keyboard movement

The ASUS Eee PC 1005PE is the first 10.1” Intel Pine Trail netbook on the market featuring the Intel Atom 450 processor and Intel GMA 3150 integrated graphics. Claiming up to 50 percent better battery life than the previous generation, this model could potentially offer up to 14 hours of battery life! Is this the “all-day” netbook platform we have all been waiting for? Check out our full review to find out.

ASUS Eee PC 1005PE Specifications:

  • Windows 7 Starter Edition (32-bit)
  • 10.1-inch diagonal WSVGA (1024×600)
  • Intel Atom N450 Processor 1.66GHz (667MHz FSB, 512KB Cache)
  • 1GB DDR2 SDRAM (800MHz)
  • Intel GMA 3150 integrated graphics
  • 250GB Seagate 5400.6 SATA HDD plus 500GB Online Storage
  • Atheros  AR9285 BGN Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • 4-in-1 media card slot
  • Dimensions: (H x W x D): 0.89-1.40 x 10.2 x 6.9 inches
  • 2.8lbs (not including weight of AC adapter)
  • 6-cell Lithium-Ion battery (5600mAh, 63Wh)
  • One-year standard warranty
  • MSRP: $379.99 (Ready for Purchase Jan 3, 2010)

Observant readers will recognize this review is quite similar to the review of the Eee PC 1005HA. This is because the 1005PE is essentially just a 1005HA with the newer Intel Pine Trail motherboard.


Build and Design
The Eee PC 1005PE is a lower-cost version of the 1008HA Seashell and features a similar clamshell chassis design but is a little thicker and comes with a removable battery. Unlike the 1008HA, which had plastic covers over every port, all of the ports on the 1005PE are easily accessible so you won’t have to struggle to plug in a USB flash drive. The 1005PE also isn’t as thin as the 1008HA Seashell, but the 1005PE makes up for extra bulk with a high-capacity removable battery.

If you look at the top of the 1005PE it’s easy to see the “Seashell” heritage, and thankfully it manages to retain some solid build quality for a budget netbook. The glossy blue plastics aren’t prone to flex and the keyboard is very firm … two things you usually don’t see on budget notebooks. The various parts of the chassis come together with tight build tolerances like a higher-priced laptop. This isn’t the most rugged netbook we’ve ever seen, but ASUS gave the 1005PE a pretty solid build for less than $400.

One nice improvement on this netbook compared to the last Seashell is the return of an easy-access RAM cover. If you want to upgrade the RAM in your 1005PE all you have to do is remove one screw on the access panel on the bottom of the netbook. I would have also liked to see an easy-access panel for the hard drive, but most netbook buyers aren’t going to mess with the hard drive.

Screen and Speakers
The new Eee PC 1005PE Seashell uses a fairly standard LED-backlit display panel with a 1024×600 native resolution. The glossy screen looks identical to what we saw in the 1008HA: it offers good color and contrast, but glare and reflections indoors under strong lights or outdoors under direct sunlight can be a problem. Again, although the 1024×600 resolution is pretty standard for a netbook these days, I’d much rather see a 1366×768 screen in the next Eee PC. Vertical viewing angles are average, with minimal color distortion when viewing from below and some over-exposed colors when viewed from above. Horizontal viewing angles are better with colors staying accurate at extremely wide viewing angles with just a little bit of color wash out.

One slightly annoying feature we noticed on the 1005PE is related to the low-end Starter edition of Windows 7. The desktop background is locked to the ASUS OEM background image and can’t be changed through normal means. If you plan on swapping out the OEM background image, savvy users can follow one of many online guides that outline the process of changing the desktop background.

The built-in speaker performance on the Eee PC 1005PE is pretty good for a 10-inch netbook. I’m not a fan of the location of the built-in speakers since they’re located on the bottom front edge of the 1005PE, but the audio quality is better than what we typically hear from netbook speakers. The speakers produce good volume (enough to fill a small room) and there is minimal distortion even at higher volume levels. The speakers lack much bass, but the range of highs and midtones are fine. Still, the audio output from the headphone jack is free of any obvious distortion and is a better solution when paired with earphones or a good set of external speakers.


Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard on the 1005PE is comfortable to type on and very responsive. The keys are slightly smaller than those on an average notebook but still quite usable. The “Chiclet” style keyboard has been added to the 1005PE, whereas the older 1005HA used a standard keyboard. The keyboard tray has very little flex under strong pressure, but in some areas the tray seems to float above the support structure beneath it. When you type in areas on the right side of the keyboard, centered right above the K-key, your clicking action is met with a solid “thunk”. On the opposite side of the keyboard each press is met with a quiet high-pitched click.

The Synaptics touchpad used on the 1005PE is likewise identical to the gesture-enabled model on the 1008HA. This allows you to use multi-figure gestures such as “pinching” your fingers together or “pulling” your fingers apart to zoom in or out. You can also use a “three-finger tap” as an alternative to a right click on a mouse. The Synaptics control panel in Windows also allows you to customize these gestures as well. The touchpad surface is covered in dots that provide a clear indication of the edges of the touchpad, but this also makes the touchpad surface too rough for quick finger movement. The left and right touchpad buttons are located beneath a single rocker-style button, but with no separation between the left and right side it’s easy to accidentally press the middle of the touchpad button when you’re trying to press the left or right side. The touchpad buttons have extremely shallow feedback, so it isn’t always easy to feel when you have or have not pressed a button.

The 1005PE lacks a dedicated wireless on/off switch, but ASUS did include a dedicated touchpad on/off button as well as FN keyboard shortcuts for wireless, screen brightness, video output, volume, and Windows task manager.

Input and Output Ports
The 1005PE provides a few more ports than the 1008HA. Namely, you get three USB 2.0 ports, a 4-in-1 media card reader, headphone and microphone jacks, Ethernet port, and the return of a standard VGA out port. The 1005PE lacks the protective port covers seen on the 1008HA, but I personally don’t like protective covers since I have to move them to use the ports. Here is a quick tour around the Eee PC 1005PE:


Front view: No ports here, just clean lines and indicator lights.


Rear view: No ports here either, just the hinges and battery.


Left side view: Power jack, VGA out, USB 2.0 port, security lock slot, and heat vent.


Right side view: 4-in-1 card reader, headphone jack, microphone jack, two USB 2.0 ports, and Ethernet.


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