Asus Eee PC 1000H Netbook
A spot check on today's markets show the Asus Eee PC 1000H model currently selling for $480 on store shelves. For that price, it certainly presents the 1000H as a good value if you're looking for a lightweight, portable, but still work-friendly notebook. While it's based on many components used in the smaller Eee PC models, its larger 10" screen size, larger keyboard, and a 2.5" hard drive (now up to 160GB) make the Eee PC 1000H actually usable for light duty business tasks. Also the Eee 1000H's keyboard and touchpad are just more usable for end users, and thus the device becomes more exciting and approachable.
Downside? Mechanical hard drive means this Eee PC lineup will be less rugged compared to prior generations, the unit will consume slightly more power compared to older Eee PC's due to a larger screen and more power hungry hard drive. It's also going to be one of the more expensive of the Eee PC lineup - but at $480, it's extremely respectable, especially for college kids and day to day commuting.
The Eee PC is not as industrial-sleek as its competitors, as it's rounded, shiny appearance may not fly with all potential buyers, but it definitely looks more grown-up and workplace acceptable compared to prior Eee PC units. While you can get more vibrant color options, the unit looks pretty respectable in "Fine Ebony" (Black), and we feel Asus has done a solid job on making the Eee PC look more grown up without making it feel completely dull and lifeless.
Of course, you'll have to be OK with it running Windows XP. For most people who understand the operating system's positives and negatives, using Windows XP isn't a big step backwards. However, new buyers might want to get the latest operating system from Microsoft, but Vista is not an option on the 1000H. Simply put, it would be too taxing on the hardware to run Vista today - even though we think Vista with SP1 could run respectably (although likely not fast). The good thing is that the vast majority of applications are still designed for Windows XP AND Vista, so XP users rarely miss out on new software releases.
All in all, the 1000H has its share of quirks, it definitely showcases an improvement in ease of use, and should open up the Eee PC lineup to a much broader subset of customers. There are certainly areas which Asus can/will improve on but the 1000H today is sleek, simple, efficient, and cheap for a fully functional Windows XP notebook. It's hard not to like the little bugger. It's an attractive product now, and will be made even more attractive when Asus updates their lineup with the new dual-core Atom processor, which is scheduled to hit later this year. We'll be waiting.