When ASUS released the first EeePC, it was clearly a netbook. However, with the recent bunch of “ultra-portables” I’ve seen of late, the line between a netbook and notebook seems to be disappearing. The HP dv2, the Sony P series and the ASUS EeePC 1101HA which I’m looking at today, can qualify as netbooks or [...]
When ASUS released the first EeePC, it was clearly a netbook. However, with the recent bunch of “ultra-portables” I’ve seen of late, the line between a netbook and notebook seems to be disappearing. The HP dv2, the Sony P series and the ASUS EeePC 1101HA which I’m looking at today, can qualify as netbooks or ultra-portable notebooks.
The EeePC 1101HA is the biggest EeePC to-date as far as size is concerned. Measuring 286mm x 196mm and weighing 1.3k8g, the 1101HA is based on ASUS’ new Seashell design which shaves some of the thickness off its netbooks. It certainly looks beautiful with a narrow mouth and a chubbier back-end.
Specs on the EeePC 1101HA are somewhat similar to the Sony P series that we looked at last week- it features a Z series Atom CPU running at 1.33GHz along with Intel GMA500 integrated graphics, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB Hard Drive. It comes pre-installed with Windows XP which is a much better option for Atom based notebooks than Vista that Sony used on their P series. You also get 802.11n for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 for wireless communications.
The EeePPC 1101HA features a power connector, the DSUB (VGA) Output and a USB port on the left side while the right side has an Ethernet port, two additional USB ports, 3.5mm audio input/output jacks and an SD card reader. The back is free from connections as it houses the battery while the front has a few LEDs that show things like battery charge or machine state.
ASUS puts the larger size of the 1101HA into good use. Starting off, you have a very nice 11.6″ sized screen with a resolution of 1366×768 which technically allows you to play 720p movies at full resolution. However, the underpowered GMA500 doesnt let you play back anything hi-def which is a bit of a shame as the screen looks gorgeous.
The keyboard is also stretched out a bit with bigger keys making the 1101HA very comfortable to type on. I wasn’t impressed with the trackpad though- it blends nicely with the design but the dotted surface makes it harder to glide your finger across it. The mouse buttons are a bit stiff as well.
The 1101HA has a built-in overclocking mode in the BIOS. You select a percentage of overclock and the system does the rest. We maxed it out to 32% and ran PCMark. The following are results under stock as well as overclocked mode, compared to the EeePC 901 with a 1.6GHz Aton N270 CPU.
||EeePC 1101HA OC’ed
|3D Pixel Shader
|Web Page Rendering
Performance of the 1101HA isn’t exactly spectacular at stock speeds as you can see from the table above. The older Atom N270 based EeePC 901 manages to score about 20% higher than the EeePC 1101HA under stock mode. Overclocking the unit helps a bit though, however, the GMA500 with its extremely bad 3D performance along with a higher resolution screen to output to puts a big dent.
While performance is a bit shabby, battery life is incredible. For all I know, there is an Energizer bunny hiding inside the 1101HA- its just keeps going and going and going. The 11 hours of battery life that ASUS claims is probably true under extreme lab settings but I was consistently getting close to eight hours on the 1101HA. That is the best I’ve seen out of any portable yet.
Overall, the problem with the 1101HA is that its form factor is extremely attractive for a much higher performing engine. I would love to watch hi-def movies on the 11.6 inch screen or do some work in Photoshop. Maybe even play WoW. However, the severely underpowered hardware doesn’t allow me to that. You could work on word or browse web on it for a VERY LONG time but all work and no play makes the 1101 a dull boy.
I would recommend smaller sized netbook if thats what you’re looking for- go for something under 9″ in screen size. Otherwise, get a CULV based notebook that is much better suited for 11″ or higher sized net/notebooks.