Asus has got some pretty nifty Atom-based tech coming up, including the funky touchscreen T91, ludicrously luxurious S121 and eccentric Eee Keyboard. But we shouldn’t forget its most popular netbook, its rank and file – the 10in 1000 series.
Lacking the dinky dimensions of the 901, it's struggling to differentiate itself from newer, more attractive competitors like the Samsung NC10 and Acer Aspire D150. Despite doing the grunt work for Asus's popularity drive, it's already feeling a bit outclassed by rivals. Hence this update.
The EeePC 1000HE looks and feels little different from the last generation of Asus netbooks: it's a point upgrade at best, and serves mainly as a palette cleaner between the banquet that was last year's Eee lineup and the tantalising desserts up ahead.
That's not a bad thing – the improvements may be minor but they're all gratefully received. Playing to its strengths, Asus is seeing off the Samsung challenge by upgrading the battery to one with a massive 8800mHa capacity, giving the 1000HE around seven to eight hours of continual use with Wi-Fi on. Speaking of which, this also boasts a faster Wireless N adaptor for networking, too.
The Mac-like keyboard is less impressive, though. It certainly looks the part, with the keys embedded behind the mould, but is simply a drop-in replacement for the old Eee typepad, with the same telltale bend in the middle that more robust designs – again from Samsung, Acer and LG – simply don't have.
The screen quality is still just okay rather than amazing, though the large multitouch mousepad remains superlative.
The final new feature is a faster CPU, which not only matches the 1.66GHz of Acer's latest Aspire, but thanks to Asus's instant overclocking utility can be supercharged while running on mains power.
It's still not quite enough for reliable HD video, but brings the possibility tantalisingly close while making the desktop even faster and more responsive.
So the Eee PC 1000 is as likeable as ever, but it's hard to lose the feeling that this is a stopgap release. As covetable as the extended battery and faster CPU are, cosmetically it's been surpassed by its rivals – and it might be worth waiting to see what Asus does next.