Asus 1008P-KR review – Karim Rashid Collection special edition

Andrei Girbea May 19, 2012 Reviews 5 Comments

Asus 1008P-KR Seashell review summary

The Asus EEE PC 1008P Seashell netbook caries on the legacy of the famous 1008HA 10 inch mini laptop and brings it in the PineTrail era, with improved hardware and some ergonomic changes. The 1008P-KR however is a special edition designed by Karim Rashid and also brings a different look and some aesthetic improvements.

The end result actually looks good and works smoothly for a netbook, but it does have a couple of major flaws that will probably make possible clients go for something else. See the below review for more info.

Pros:

  • packs up some nice hardware for a netbook, but overall performance is not that great
  • very comfortable chiclet style keyboard and nice touchpad
  • exterior actually looks beautiful, and i expect it to be even better in Black. Plus, it’s not glossy anymore. Also, arm rest and  surface around the touchpad are also now matte and feel quite nice
  • will be available in 4 different colors

Cons:

  • screen is the same as on the 1008HA version, glossy and difficult to use in direct light conditions
  • battery is small, thus resulting in a poor autonomy (update: Asus ships this with 2 batteries, and this will allow up to 7-9 hours of life, which is way better)
  • it will probably be quite expensive, since it is a special edition signed by a famous designer, Karim Rashid
  • I really expected more in terms of performances from a new platform, although i knew Intel developed it to be less energy hungry than powerful

Conclusion:

On a first look, I kind of like the 1008P-KR from Asus. I like the looks, the feeling and I find that it moves somewhat better on Windows 7 than the other netbooks i tested before with Atom N270/N280 processors (you’ll find more details bellow). However, this is the first Pine Trail device i get my hands on, thus comparing it with the older netbooks is definitely not a smart choice to do. But all in one, this is one of the best mini laptops in the 10 inch class i got my hands on.  Too bad for the poor battery life though, this aspect scores some high negative points for it. And I would have expected the new hardware to really bring a visible performance boost, but that’s not actually the case.

And there’s also the price matter. Since it is a special edition and since it is the follower of the 1005HA that was around 15% more expensive than the standard EEE PC netbook, i would reckon this device will hit the market in the US for around $450 . It actually costs $499. And although it might be a limited edition, i doubt too many will stand in line for it. But for now these are suppositions, let’s just wait and see what future updates will tell about prices for this 1008P-KR Seashell notebook.

But actually, even if it would cost around $350 (but it won’t), my practical side can’t see me getting a netbook with 3.5 hours battery life just because it’s a special edition, when you can get something with same performances and autonomy of above 10 hours for the same price or cheaper.

Where to buy:

For now, this device is not yet available on the market in US. I’ll update this part once it is.

You can get this special edition 10 inch netbook for $499 on Amazon (price at the moment of this post. It might change in time, so click the link for the exact up to date one). I’ll update the post if I’ll find it cheaper in some other US stores.

And now for a more detailed view on the 1008P-KR EEE PC in the lines below.

The exterior

The exterior is in fact where this Karim Rashid special edition 1008P-KR device differentiates from the other devices in the standard 1008P line. If the regular line comes with a standard glossy finish, this one uses a special patterned one that covers the entire surface, front and back. Also, special covers have been developed to cover and protect ports on both sides, an idea I also saw on other Asus notebooks like the UX30 i tested last year.

Karim's signature gives the 1008P an unique air

Karim’s signature gives the 1008P an unique air

Opening the lid, you’ll see that the glossy interior was replaced with a new matte one that looks and feels better. And in the right part of the arm-rest surface, just bellow the directional keys, there’s Karim’s signature, giving the device an unique air.

Some might not like the exterior of the 1008P-KR . I for one tell you that it’s actually better live than it is in the pictures. And in order to satisfy potential customers, Asus plans to offer this mini laptop in fours different colors: the brown one i have here on my desk, a pink one also spotted on some sites and two more that have yet to see flashlights, a black and a white one. The Black one would definitely be the one to look for, at least in my case.

I also have to add that this Karim Rashid netbook comes with a special leather case in the box, one that feels and looks astonishing, perfectly fits the device and has a magnetic lock. All in one, one that i would surely like to have for my 10 inch netbook, whatever that might be. I doubt they will sell the case independently though.

Nice patterned body and the leather case included in the pack

Nice patterned body and the leather case included in the pack

Keyboard and touch-pad

The new keyboard is in fact one of the most important improvements the 1008P received over its predecessor. It’s now chiclet styled with spaced independent keys, thus more ergonomic and easier to type without accidentally pressing other key that the one intended. Personally, i have a problem with keyboards that have too much flex, but that’s actually not at all the case here. I can say that this is one of the best keyboards i ever saw on a 10 inch netbook so far.

Touchpad and the button are in fact similar to what the previous line had to offer. I didn’t like the knotted surface on the 1005Ha or the 1101HA when i tested them, but i kind of do on this device. Why? Because the surface of the touchpad (and the entire arm-rest part) is no longer made out of glossy sticky plastic, but from a matter one that feels a lot better.

Touchpad and chiclet keyboard

Touchpad and chiclet keyboard

Display

There’s actually nothing special about this display, as we have the same 10.1 inch screen I saw on the previous similar Asus netbooks, with the same 1024 x 600 px resolution and the same glossy finish that make if difficult to use in strong light conditions. Overall, a decent display, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Hardware and performances

As i already told you, this 1008P-KR netbooks packs the new PineTrail platform for Intel. Thus, hardware specs looks like that:

  • Intel ATOM 1.66 GHz N450 processor
  • GMA 3150 graphics
  • 2 GB of memory
  • 2.5 inch 5400 rpm 250 GB hard-drive + 500 GB EEE storage

It’s always good to have more memory, thus the 2 GB installed on this one are welcomed. Asus probably went for this solution because upgrading RAM on this exact model is difficult due to the encased body without any dedicated RAM bay on the back. Also, the bigger storage space is a nice addition, but you also get 500 GB EEE Storage space online for free, more than enough for a netbook.

The big change over the older 1008HA is the platform though. However, you might expect to see noticeable improvement in terms of speed and performances when upgrading the platform. But, while there are some improvements in some areas, the N450 + GMA 3150 combo is in fact similar to the N280 + GMA500 .

That’s because the new ATOM line focused on being more energy efficient and more compact and not on power. There will be however more “muscular” versions, but that’s not the case for the N450.

So, in terms of performances, here’s what i can say:

  • due to the fact that the processor has HT (HyperThreading) and there are 2 GB of RAM installed, the overall system moves pretty smooth in Windows 7 Starter. In fact, it scores a 2.3 Win7 Rating, with the CPU bringing it down as you can see in the picture below
Windows 7 ratings for the 1008P-KR

Windows 7 ratings for the 1008P-KR

  • Unfortunately i didn’t have the time to properly test performance and run PCMark05 or CPUMark . Hopefully i’ll upgrade this part later today
  • Like the old notebook with N280, this one still can’t handle 720P video content (with VLC player)

All in one, performance level is OK for a netbook. But, i for one expected more. It’s pretty obvious the new ATOM line focuses on better autonomy (however that’s not the case for the 1008P-KR) and if you want some decent performances you’ll have to go for the ULV platform.

Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, this 10 inch Asus netbooks packs high speed Wi-fi N wireless and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR . No 3G however, and I believe in the following years this feature will become more and more popular, as 3G plans will get cheaper and many of us would be able to enjoy Internet connectivity wherever we might be (as long as there’s signal). For now though, I for one can say that connectivity options offered by the 1008P are enough.

Autonomy

This Asus 1008P-KR comes with a 3 Cell 29WAh battery and that’s kind of a big problem. As you really can’t squeeze too much from a small battery. Thus, although producers claim battery life is up to 6 hours, in real tests autonomy looks like this:

  • 2h 54 min – continuously playing a DivX movie on full-screen, with Wi-fi and Bluetooth OFF, screen brightness at maximum
  • 3 minutes 22 – regular WEB surfing on Balanced Mode, with Wi-fi ON and screen brightness at maximum, no music, no chatting

You can probably squeeze more if you use the device on Power Saver, with Wi-fi Off and doing just basic stuff like editing documents. But who does that?

UPDATE: Asus ships the 1008P-KR with two 3 Cell batteries, so total battery life is twice the numbers above. Still, you get the inconvenient of having to shut down the device and change the batteries (plus, you can only recharge one at the time, when inside the laptop), but that’s something i can live with.

The actual cold truth is that during a normal use, with browsing, chatting and listening to music, the autonomy offered by this device is just around 3 hours, and that’s really bad considering many many other devices offer right now above 8-10 hours battery life.

And the worse part is that you can’t get the 1008P with a bigger battery. Because of the way this one is built (slides in the specially made compartment), there’s only enough place for this small and thin one. See picture below.

Battery slides on the special compartment on the back

Battery slides in the special compartment on the back

Sound and noise/heat levels

In terms of speakers, there’s one thing i can say: they are loud. The 1008P comes with a pair on stereo speakers that can really scream, although sound quality is not that great, so i would go for a headset when using it.

I used Everest Ultimate Edition to measure temperatures for some components of this device and got 68 degrees Celsius for the CPU and 37 degrees for the HDD, all measured during a regular everyday use (web, office, etc).

As for external temperatures, i really would have to buy myself some kind of thermometer that would allow me to measure them. For now, I’ll have to settle with saying the upper part runs cool, but the back can go pretty hot (i know, that’s lame without actual numbers, but there’s nothing more i can do for the moment).

As for the noise, fan kicks off from time to time but i can’t say it’s more noisy than other fans i found on previous netbooks and laptops i tested.

Other details

There’s not much to add in here, but i will also have to tell you that this device:

  • comes with a 1.3 MPx webcam
  • only has 2 USB ports
  • uses Mini VGA port and you have to insert the standard 15 Pin connector that usually lays on a special compartment on the back  in it (picture below should really explain more)
Special VGA port used for the 1008P-KR

Special VGA port used for the 1008P-KR

Price

For now, there’s no exact info on the price of this device. It was spotted in Europe for around 360 euros. Based on that, the fact that it is the follower of the 1008HA and that it is a special edition after all, i would reckon it will sell for anything between $450 and $499 . But hey, i might be wrong. Thus, I’ll update this section once I know more.

Photos

You can find some more pictures below.

Final verdict

The 1008P-KR is the first netbook built on the PineTrail platform i get to play with. That’s why i was really excited when i got it. Especially after seeing the design and the fact that they dropped the shiny glossy finish for a more “usable” one. Good news kept coming, with the improved hardware specs , better keyboard and touch-pad.

However, i was quickly disappointed somehow by overall performance levels, that is similar to what the previous 10 inch line of Asus netbooks had to offer. I was expecting noticeable improvements. And even more disapointed by battery life. Launching a netbook that can only run for around 3 hours on a regular day basis use it’s just not acceptable for me, not in 2010. My old laptop i bought back in early 2008 could do that, and it had dedicated graphics and dual core CPU.

As a conclusion, i have mixed feelings regarding this Asus EEE PC 1008P-KR . And although it brings some nice improvements, i feel that the cons surpass the pros . At least for me, as I’m a very practical person who puts design and aesthetics somehow on a second plan.

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About The Author

Andrei Girbea, aka "Mike", Editor-in-Chief at TLBHD.com. I absolutely hate carrying around heavy stuff, that's why I'm fond of mini-laptops and portable computers. I'm primarily using such devices and have been testing them for many years now. Get in touch in the comments section below.

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous October 26, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Eee PC 1008P (Seashell Karim Rashid Collection)
    Making Waves
    Genuine Windows® 7 Starter
    Elegant Techno-chic Digi-wave design by Karim Rashid
    Innovative soft-to-the-touch finish smooth the sense of touching
    Ultra slim at just 1″ and lightweight at a mere 1.12kg
    Dual OS: Boots up almost instantly with Express Gate
    6 hours* of unplugged computing with ASUS Super Hybrid Engine

  2. Andrew John Hoffman August 26, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I think I would prefer a Sony Vaio P or a Asus Transformer. Like the look of the 1008p but the battery set up  is  a real turn off and the specs look ordinary. My VR46 kills it.

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