ASUS Eee PC 1002HAE Review

The ASUS Eee PC 1002HAE is the first evolution of the 1002HA to hit the market, albeit in Japan only, currently. The 1002HAE is an upgrade over the 1002HA with the newer Atom N280 processor and the newer chiclet keyboard. It’s also slightly lighter in weight, though you probably won’t feel that difference in weight if you had both of them side by side to compare.

Actually, ASUS announced a similar model earlier this year, the 1002H which is what this model is, apart from the lighter weight. This has yet to make it on the market, if it ever will.

ASUS Eee PC 1002HAE specs

Intel Atom N280 (1.66GHz) processor
10” 1024 x 600 LED backlit display (Matte)
160GB HDD (2.5” SATA)
10GB Online storage
1GB RAM (upgradable to 2GB)
802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 10/100 Base-TX Wired
1.3MP Webcam
Intel HD Audio / Stereo speakers
VGA, 3x USB 2.0, 5-in-1 Multi-card reader, Headphone and Mic audio jacks.
Lithium Polymer battery (13Wh)
264mm x 181mm x 27.6 – 27.8mm Dimensions (10.4 x 7.1 x 1.08 – 1.09 inches)
Windows XP Home SP3
1.26 kg / 2.8 pounds Weight (inc. battery)
Available colors: Metal Grey, Dark Blue and Deep Red.

Build Quality

Build quality is very good (apart from the keyboard flex). The brushed metal aluminum material that adorns the lid and the palm rest feels more solid and reassuring than the plastic shells you get with cheaper netbooks. Neither the lid nor palmrest pick up fingerprints as easily compared to a glossy surface. You’ll still need to wipe it though.

Keyboard


The 1002HAE sports one of those new chiclet keyboards, which finally places a larger right shift key on the right hand side (not on Japanese models though). That is great for a lot of touch typists. The keys give nice tactile feedback despite having a light, plasticky feel (mostly due to the flex).

There is a lot of flex in the keyboard though, like with my Eee PC 1000HE which also has a chiclet keyboard. This is easily fixed though, and once you fix it, oh boy the keyboard feels so good.

I like both the new chiclet keyboard and the older style beveled keys, I find neither is necessarily better, just different.

Touchpad & Buttons

The touchpad and buttons on the 1002HAE are a step above those found on the earlier bulkier 10-inch models like the 1000H and 1000HE.

They are identical to that found on the S101 / S101H and 1002HA. That is, you have a slightly larger touchpad area and a silver single rocker bar at the bottom. The touchpad area is covered with a glittery sparkles. It is a bit sticky at first and your fingers will get caught at first but that goes away. (almost all netbooks have this problem anyway).

These newer touchpads are much more responsive (less lag too) and the rocker bar button doesn’t make a noise and is soft to press. Some people don’t like these single rocker bars but they don’t bother me at all.

Multi-touch gestures on the Eee PCs are an absolute joy to use and not many netbooks outside of the Eee PC range have this feature. It really feels like a step backward having to go back to a smaller touchpad without multi-touch gestures. Two fingered scrolling and three fingered swipes for going back and forth in your browser is so convenient. This feature is slowly being added to newer netbooks, thankfully.

Sound

Very good sound for a netbook. The volume is quite loud and the quality is very good too. I was hoping for a little more bass but what you can expect when netbooks get thinner and lighter. It was loud enough to cover my whole bedroom and then some. Overall very pleased with the sound on the 1002HAE. I’m pretty sure it is identical to that on the Eee PC 1002HA since they both have the same chassis (though the 1002HAE is slightly lighter).

The speakers are located directly on the front bottom area, you can see speaker vents on the left and right.

Display

The display on the 1002HAE is a 10-inch LED backlit display with a matte coating with the standard resoluton of 1024 x 600 pixels. Brightness is adequate for indoors, though it will be a bit hard to see outside when it’s bright.

Compared to the 1000HE, brightness seems equal, seen in the picture below. Both are at their highest brightness settings.

Don’t forget that the Eee PC’s have the added benefit of EeeCtl, which can boost brightness far above what is normally allowed. This is invaluable when outdoors.

I find that the 10-inch matte screens on netbooks offer better vertical viewing angles and have better black levels than their glossy counterparts, not to mention being easier to read outside.

Here’s a picture showing how far the screen folds back. It’s perfectly adequate for my uses. Only a few netbooks come to mind where it really is restrictive.

Weight & Size

First off, I want to get something clear. It’s been noted that the 1002HAE is lighter than the 1002HA. I’ve mentioned it in my video. Officially, the 1002HA is 1.25kg whilst the 1002HA is 1.2kg. I measured the 1002HA at 1265g whilst the 1002HAE measures 1263g. They are practically the same weight.

I’m loving how light this is compared to the Eee PC 1000H. That one is just a bulky monster. It is supposedly slightly lighter than the 1002HA, but I don’t have that one here to do a direct comparison. The 1002HAE by itself weighs 1.26 kg / 2.8 pounds.

Now, on to the size. As with all Eee PCs, you have that tiny loveable power brick. Small and lightweight and comes with velcro straps which makes it a since to slip into your bag. ASUS rules in this area.

Relatively speaking, out of the 10-inchers, I would say the 1002HAE is somewhere in the middle, in terms of weight and size. It’s no giant like the 1000HE but then again it is nowhere near as small as say, the HP Mini 1000.

The best way to get an idea of it’s size is to compare it with another netbook, and I’ll show you some pictures of the 1002HAE next to a 1000HE. The 1000H is noticeably heavier and larger.

Port Locations

The sides are pretty bare. On the left you have 2 USB ports. On the right you have 1 USB port and both audio jacks.

On the rear, you have a multi card reader, a VGA port, power plug, RJ45 LAN port and the kensington lock. There’s also an air vent.

Now, personally I find having the power plug and card slot at the back inconvenient. You will always have to get up to look around the back or fumble around for a while if you don’t get up. The plus side to having the power cable and VGA in the back is that they don’t get in the way and are easily tucked away if you plug in a monitor and use it as a desktop machine.

Heat

I notice the bottom getting slightly warm. At worst. That’s after having played movies looped continuously until the battery goes dead. The keyboard and palm rest remain cool. Overall very pleased with the lack of heat.

Noise

The 1002HAE is very quiet, though not quite as quiet as the Eee PC S101. In a quiet room, I can definitely hear noise, though it’s just a soft, pleasant whirring of wind. That includes the hard disk drive in there too. If you place a SSD in there, you can expect further reduction in noise, not that there is much to begin with. The minimal levels of noise on the 1002HAE satisfy me and I’m quite fussy in this regard.

Upgradability

I don’t know if this is a trend with netbooks become harder to self-upgrade, and surprisingly, ASUS have made it harder for people to access the goodies underneath the 1002HAE. The bottom is identical to that of the S101H and 1002HA except this latest 1002HAE has the screw holes covered up with plugs. Now, thankfully you should be able to pull out the plugs with a sharp and thin instrument, but I don’t have anything on hand that won’t leave a mark.

Underneath, the small access bay lies the RAM which is upgradable to 2GB and Wi-Fi card next to that.

Next to the battery, lies the 2.5-Inch SATA hard disk drive.

Now, battery options. The battery lies at the front and to the side, so you’re doomed when it comes to higher capacity batteries (in other words forget about it). You can always carry a second battery. No problem with that. The battery only weighs 197 grams or 0.4 pounds.

Battery Life

The 1002HAE comes with a Lithium Polymer battery, half the size of the netbook, which is located on the front right hand side, underneath. It is rated at 4200mAh, 31Wh.

I don’t have time like I when I first started out, to actually get real life battery life figures from real life usage, so the best I can do is give various benchmark scores:

1% Brightness, Wi-Fi OFF, Bluetooth OFF, battery saving mode, Sound OFF
4 hrs, 24 mins – idle battery eater test

1% Brightness, Wi-Fi ON, Bluetooth OFF, battery saving mode, Sound OFF
4 hrs, 15 mins – idle battery eater test

100% Brightness, Wi-Fi OFF, Bluetooth OFF, battery saving mode, 100% Sound
3 hrs, 15 mins – looped DivX full screen videos (not 720P)

50% Brightness, Wi-Fi ON, Bluetooth OFF, battery saving mode, Sound OFF
3 hrs, 09 mins – classic battery eater test

100% Brightness, Wi-Fi ON, Bluetooth ON, battery saving mode, Sound 50%
2 hrs, 58 mins – classic battery eater test

Well, just like with the Eee PC 1002HA, you can expect somewhere between 3 – 4 hours of battery life on a single charge, on average. At most, you can expect almost 4.5 hours. Carry around a second battery and that’ll give you double that.

Performance

There’s really nothing to get excited about performance wise. Don’t expect any noticeable difference between a netbook with an Atom N280 or N270 processor. If you like to do some tweaking / overclocking, then it will probably make a difference for some things. The Atom N280 still has problems with alot of HD YouTube videos and can’t play 1080P video. Neither can you play 720P video off the bat, without the proper software.

Anyway, time to leave you with some benchmark figures.

Crystal Mark (Super Performance – AC powered):

ASUS Eee PC 1002HAE Review (2)

Crystal Disk Mark (Super Performance – AC powered):

ASUS Eee PC 1002HAE Review (1)

Speedy hard drive. Above average, though differences between these 160GB 2.5” hard drives are largely irrelevant.

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