Design will polarise opinion
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Nothing polarises opinion like a pink design, and the Asus Eee PC 1008P Karim Rashid is very, very pink.
At the risk of stereotyping, we'll assume this design will find more traction on the female side of the market, but it's great to see Asus reaching out beyond the technology industry to renowned designer Karim Rashid to spice things up a little.
The interesting design covers the lid with an uneven, undulating surface and overlays this with hundreds of tiny rectangles. Running your hand over it is akin to touching a bag made from alligator hide.
Lift the lid and you see that the pink outer design is complimented with solid black on the rest of the laptop – the exception being the single clickbar beneath the touchpad that is chrome silver. If pink isn't your ideal choice, then don't worry as the laptop also comes in a dark brown colour.
The keys use the isolation-style design, which looks nicer than a standard keyboard and also works better for typing. The extra space between the keys means there's less chance of hitting the wrong key by accident.
The touchpad is also easy to use. It's responsive and the textured surface feels better than any kind of regular smooth touchpad.
Even though it looks great on the outside, the workings of the Eee PC are much the same as any conventional netbook. Power comes courtesy of an Intel Atom N450 processor and the 1GB of RAM is basic, even in the netbook market.
The benchmark tests we ran returned average results, although we would have liked to see a little more staying power from the battery.
Battery Eater '05: 158 minutes
3DMark 2006: 100
The 250GB hard drive is perfectly suitable for a netbook and, in fact, the Eee PC beats the Dell Adamo XPS when it comes to storage, even though it's less than half the price.
Graphical performance on any netbook will be severely limited, as it is the first thing manufacturers cut back on to keep battery life up and weight down.
The Eee PC has a standard integrated Intel chip that is enough to keep a couple of browser windows open and play video at the same time, but don't expect it to do much more than that.
When playing video, you will most likely want to invest in some external speakers. As expected on a portable machine, the built-in speakers lack punch and are on the tinny side.
The Eee PC does feature Asus' Express Gate fast boot-up software, which is now being packaged with Asus' newer models.
Outward connectivity is also par for the course, with two USB slots, an Ethernet slot and a space for a MicroSD card to boost the storage space. All the ports are covered to continue the unbroken alligator-skin design which runs over the base of the netbook as well as the lid.
Obviously, being a netbook means the Eee PC is exceptionally light and, as well as looking good, the outward design makes it easier to grip the device. Both of these features add to its portability and the Eee PC is perfect for slipping into a bag and takiing out an about with you.
We're big fans of the Eee PC range. Asus was the first to market with the netbook format and it continues to produce some of the best machines.
The Eee PC 1018P would be a better choice if you value power and features on your netbook but, in terms of style, the Karim Rashid Eee PC is the most striking we've seen.
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