Summary and Conclusion
Asus' Eee PC 1005HA is a great addition to the "Seashell" family. While the general consumer may not be able to readily tell the difference between the two, we maintain that the 1005HA is built more for work and less for pure fashion. The uncovered ports make accessing sockets easier, and the standard VGA port is great for those who rely heavily on an external monitor of some sort. Plus, the ability to swap in a new battery is a real boon for anyone who travels often or spends long days away from the AC outlet.
For us, choosing between the Eee PC 1008HA and the Eee PC 1005HA is easy. Do you need to access ports frequently? Do you appreciate longer battery life and the ability to swap batteries? Is a bit more weight (0.38 pounds more) and a bit more depth (0.4" more) acceptable to you? If you've answered "yes" to all of these questions, the 1005HA is your machine. You'll get the same internal specifications along with more utility in exchange for a few style points, but for many that's a fair compromise. After all, it's not as if the 1005HA is plain or unsightly; in fact, it's probably the most striking netbook in terms of design next to only the 1008HA that we've mentioned so often throughout this review.
It should also be noted that the Eee PC 1000HE is still a viable option over both "Seashell" netbooks. The specs list is largely the same, it packs the same great battery life (7 minutes more, actually) as found on the 1005HA and it's a tad less expensive in some outlets. You'll be sacrificing the heralded "Seashell" design and buying a netbook that pretty much looks like every other one, but if glitz and pizzazz don't matter much to you, we'd argue that the 1000HE could serve your needs for a little less, depending on the deals you find out there. The $389.99 1005HA is still crafted for those willing to pay a small premium for style. The difference between the value proposition of this netbook versus the 1008HA is that Asus sprinkles in a bit more utility with that style on the 1005HA. For us, it's a stellar mix of style and substance, and it's hard to not recommend if you're in the market for a netbook.