Designers are making their mark everywhere, and we've seen them giving our "plain Jane gadgets" makeovers – turning 'em from geeky to chic. But the ASUS Eee PC by Karim Rashid is not your usual dolled-up notebook (besides its obvious hot-pink paint job). Instead of the usual art pattern on the cover, Karim gives the Eee PC a total face-lift – in bold and sassy waves!
Form over function
From the get-go, it's pretty obvious that the Karim Rashid Seashell was designed to make impressions. You'll notice that all its slots and ports are all tucked in and hidden in plain sight to achieve the perfect look. You'll end up searching for secret doors on its exterior shell to find your earphone and mic jacks, and a second USB port. And to connect your Karim Rashid Eee PC to an external monitor, you'll have to pull out the camouflaged cable (VGA connector) from its bottom, then plug it to the monitor slot as an extension. Nice touch there.
This laptop's all woman: It maximizes space to keep the perfect figure and hides the not-so-attractive parts. But before you male techies shy away, we've got good news for you: It comes in coffee brown, and it looks pretty sleek, too.
The closest worthy competitor we could think of to this netbook is the HP Mini 110 by Studio Tord Boontje. Both PCs are slated for a limited-edition run and are geared toward the lady-folk. Netbooks, by the very nature of their size, tend to be adored by women, as they can be cleverly disguised as handy handbags (remember the Sony VAIO P?).
The in-house mouse
Although its touch pad looks as though it can withstand the wear and tear more than the standard ones, it seems a little smudgy and, well, kind of collects oil. But it's nothing a good wiping can't remove. There's nothing much new with the pre-programmed gestures, and it doesn't register quite easily – something ASUS should probably work on if it wants to go full touch. Sometimes, you'll have to do "take twos" and even "take threes" just to get the gesture jobs done.
What's up, sys(tem)?
The Karim Rashid runs on a Windows 7 OS, and it's a little sluggish. We gave it the ultimate test (ahem, Facebook games), and even then, it's noticeably slow, but tolerable nonetheless. Its 1GB RAM and 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor tell us it can be much speedier with earlier-released operating systems, which is a good thing. Now if official distributors actually give customers an option to upgrade the RAM to 2GB (and they usually do, sometimes even for free), then we're talking.
When everything is said and done, this Eee PC still is a design-centric netbook and should not be expected to crunch numbers like other similarly priced computers.
The 1008P's 1.3-megapixel webcam is a standard, but it comes with its own editing program so you can make quick clips and movies in a snap. Other goodies are packed in, too: You have Wi-Fi n, a six-cell battery, and a hefty 250GB hard drive to keep all your multimedia goodies. Include the fact that it's inch-slim, and weighs only 1.12kg, ASUS definitely makes a bold statement with this total trendsetter.
Click here to see the Asus Eee PC 1008P in the Buyer's Guide.
*The official Philippine launch is tomorrow, March 2.
The ASUS Eee PC Seashell's designer, Karim Rashid