Asus can personally take credit for the explosion of netbooks a few years back, as its original Eee PC kicked off the trend of smaller, lighter portables. The Eee PC 1005PE is the latest in a long line of Eee PC netbooks and, while this new model offers few original features, the quality has not dipped.

In terms of design, Asus has stuck quite firmly to the stylish chassis used in previous models. The glossy lid and interior look is as sleek as ever, although they are highly prone to attracting dust and fingerprints. Durability is reassuringly strong, with firm hinges and minimal flex.

The touchpad also remains unchanged, with a tactile, textured surface that sits level with the chassis. This may not suit all tastes due to a lack of edge definition, but the pad is responsive and the mouse buttons are suitably firm and responsive.

Revamped keyboard

Another area that remains from previous models is the keyboard, with an isolated-key design similar to other netbooks. All keys are well separated and raised from the chassis. This is perfect for frequent touch-typing, as it's hard to hit the wrong key by mistake. The keyboard is also pleasingly quiet to use at all times.

Battery life is another area where Asus Eee PCs excel. In this case we managed to work for an excellent 419 minutes away from mains power. While this result isn't class-leading for netbooks, it is still more than enough for a full day's work and should satisfy most needs.

A 10.1-inch screen is in place, as is pretty typical, and it does its job well. The display is not particularly bright but images are sharp, and the lack of a glossy Super-TFT coating means reflections are eliminated, making this netbook perfect for working outdoors.

Wireless connectivity is provided by speedy 802.11n Wi-Fi and backed up by the inclusion of Bluetooth for transferring files to and from other Bluetooth-enabled devices. 10/100 Ethernet is also available for attaching to wired networks.

A small button above the keyboard lets you quickly power the netbook up with a more basic Linux-based operating system – called ExpressGate – for speedy access to the internet. Windows 7 is also installed. Other features include 500GB of online storage, boosting the 250GB of local hard drive space. Three USB ports are also in place.

The Asus Eee PC 1005PE is a well-rounded netbook with almost no flaws. Its solid build is further enhanced by the excellent keyboard and responsive touchpad, and network connectivity is strong. While Asus has taken few risks with this new model, it's still an excellent option for those looking for a netbook.