Review Asus Eee PC 1101HA Netbook

The Eee PC netbook has grown!

'Netbook inventor' Asus presents its latest achievement in the Eee PC 1101HA. Although Asus is constantly expanding and adapting its range of small and mobile mini-notebooks, the difference here is clear from the first glance. For the first time, the netbook pioneer has produced a larger WXGA screen, at 11.6 inches. But despite the inevitable increase in size and weight, the Eee PC 1101HA is still focused on portability above all else. Read on to see how this €399 machine fares in our tests.

Asus Eee PC 1101HA
Asus Eee PC 1101HA

There are already a wide variety of Eee PC models. Starting with the original Eee PC, the Asus Eee PC 701 from 2007 with its 7 inch screen, the Eee PCs have grown to 9 inch and 10 inch versions, now reaching a new level with the 11.6 inch Asus Eee 1101HA.

Nevertheless Asus remains true to its focus on portability and above all promises up to 11 hours battery life (with a 63 Wh battery) and comprehensive networking capabilities. This is confirmed with a glance at the hardware: the integrated Intel Atom Z520 chip, with a thermal design power of only 2 Watts, is currently one of Intel's most energy-efficient processors.

Case

As with the Asus Eee PC 1008HA, the shape of the Asus Eee PC 1101HA is supposedly inspired by seashells. Be that as it may, the netbook is genuinely elegant, with its gleaming surfaces and its profile tapering at the front. It is available internationally in Crystal Black, Pearl White, Royal Blue and Rose Pink.

For all colour choices Asus is relying on so-called IMR (In-mold Roller) technology to make the glossy finish less prone to scratching. Only long-term use will show whether this actually works in practice. In any case, our black test model proved very susceptible to unsightly fingerprints and other dirt marks.

The gentle wedge-shaped curve of the netbook is pleasant, and leaves the base section at a slight incline; along with the matt keyboard surface, this make typing more ergonomical.

The angular, self-closing hinges, affixed to the lid, limit the opening angle to a maximum of about 132 degrees. Unfortunately they fail to prevent it from wobbling noticeably when it is adjusted. The lid also moves of its own accord in some situations when jolted. When the closed notebook is held upside down, the hinges do not prevent it from opening somewhat. Since there is no locking mechanism, when carrying the notebook around it is advisable to use the protective case that comes with it, to prevent any objects from getting into the space between the keyboard and the screen.

Connectivity

Very typically for a netbook, this model has three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA connection, a LAN (RJ-45) port and audio ports. The integrated card reader supports MMC and SD (SDHC) formats. As usual, the netbook user will have to do without any additional ports which might be of use; for instance docking ports, which are mostly reserved for more expensive subnotebooks and business devices.

The way the ports have been arranged is also fine. While there was no room to put any ports on the front or back edges, the distribution of ports is otherwise practical for right- and left-handed people alike.

As you would expect of a netbook, the Asus Eee PC 1101HA offers barely any maintenance or upgrade possibilities. However, there is a single access panel on the underside, which allows a RAM upgrade, even by owners without much technical knowledge.

Front: status LEDs
Front: status LEDs
Right: card reader, audio ports, 2x USB 2.0, LAN
Right: card reader, audio ports, 2x USB 2.0, LAN
Rear: battery
Rear: battery
Left: power socket, VGA, Kensington lock, air vents
Left: power socket, VGA, Kensington lock, air vents

In terms of networking the Eee PC 1101HA scores well by having an Atheros W-LAN module, the Atheros AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter, which supports Draft-N. Models with an integrated broadband modem are not (as yet) offered. As far as wired communication is concerned, the Atheros AR8132 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller (10/100Mbit) is provided for ordinary Ethernet connections via RJ-45.

The already perfectly respectable 160 GB hard drive is expanded through 10 GB of online storage (Eee Storage). The operating system is Windows XP Home, as is usual for a netbook, but GNU/Linux is also offered as an alternative.

Input devices

Keyboard

In contrast to the high gloss finish of the surrounding parts, the individual keys have a pleasant matt finish and smooth feel. Typing comfort is further enhanced by the slight incline caused by the wedge-shaped body and the good mechanical properties of the keys, which depress to a good depth and respond firmly. The size of the keys is generally satisfactory given the overall size constraints. The only negative here is the small right shift key; hitting it will require some practice. Other than that there are no surprises in terms of keyboard layout. Because of lack of space there are hardly any separate hotkeys, but all important functions can be completed with use of the function (Fn) key. The single exception is a button above the keyboard for disabling or enabling the touchpad.

Touchpad

As with the Eee PC 1008HA, the Eee PC 1101HA’s palm rest area and touchpad form a single entity without edges or recesses. The touch-sensitive area is distinguished by its dimpled surface. While this feels a little odd at first, most users will get used to it after a short while without any problems. More problematically, with the default driver settings, the touchpad is sensitive to the ‘tap to click’ and 'Multi-Touch' features, so that they are sometimes activated accidentally.

The touchpad buttons are made to look like a single chrome button. However they only really respond well at the edges, whereas the central area requires more pressure and can be unresponsive to the user’s input. One positive is that the clicking noise is quiet.

In addition the touchpad can be easily disabled when required. The hotkey for this is positioned above the keyboard to the left. Mirroring the on/off button, it is reminiscent of the ‘PowerSmart’ button that you often find on Acer notebooks.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Touchpad
Touchpad
Hotkey for turning the touchpad on or off
Hotkey for turning the touchpad on or off

Display

Asus Eee PC 1101HA outdoors
Asus Eee PC 1101HA outdoors

The integrated display from AU Optronics Corp. (AUO), model B116XW02V0, provides a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution in a widescreen 16:9 format. As well as the glossy screen surface, which is often considered inappropriate, especially for mobile notebooks, the netbook also fails to impress with its brightness. The maximum brightness value, measured in the bottom left segment of the screen, is only 135 cd/m². It is fairly even however, with a uniformity of 83%. Overall the netbook is not suitable for extended use in the workplace or outdoors. Once again this clearly shows the orientation of these netbooks towards their target market.

131.5
cd/m²
125.3
cd/m²
118.5
cd/m²
122.7
cd/m²
118.6
cd/m²
111.4
cd/m²
135.0
cd/m²
124.1
cd/m²
124.9
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 135.0 cd/m²
Average: 123.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 83 %
Center on Battery: 118.6 cd/m²
Black: 0.6 cd/m²
Contrast: 198:1

All the same, with a low black value of 0.6 cd/m² and the measured maximum brightness in the middle screen segment, the netbook achieves a good contrast ratio of 198:1. Also subjectively the colours look clear and vibrant.

While the horizontal viewing angle is generous, the viewing angles along the vertical axis are unconvincing. Even small deviations from the ideal 90 degree viewing angle lead to distortions, appearing in the form of a darkening of the picture when viewed from below as well as an over-brightening of the picture when seen from above. At even greater angles you can also see some inversion of colours. Although the usable viewing angles along the horizontal axis are somewhat wider, you have to deal with more disruptive reflections because of the flat angle.

Viewing angles of the Asus Eee PC 1101HA
Viewing angles of the Asus Eee PC 1101HA

We tried boosting the low screen brightness with the Eeectl tool. However, with the Asus Eee PC 1101HA this does not lead to any improvement and the screen remained dark.

Aside from the fact that the program was unsuccessful in this case, it should also be mentioned that Asus advises against the use of this tool, warning of possible damage to the display and display controller. You should therefore only use the program if you are aware of the risks and understand that it may invalidate your guarantee.

Performance

Saving energy and thus increasing portability were the main criteria behind the design of the Asus Eee PC 1101HA. With the Intel Atom Z520 processor and the Intel US15W chipset (codename Poulsbo), with integrated GMA 500 graphics, it does live up to this goal, but at the cost of processing power. With a thermal design power (TDP) of only 2 Watts, the Atom Z520 even undercuts the thermal power loss of the Atom N270 or N280 processors, commonly used in netbooks at present, which have a 2.5 Watt TDP.

No great processing feats should be expected, simply because of this combination of the Atom Z520 CPU and the GMA graphics chipset. 1GB of RAM completes the package. As you would expect, the Asus Eee PC 1101HA is similar in terms of performance to the Sony Vaio VGN P21Z and the Acer Aspire One 751, already tested by us, which are comparably equipped. For instance the 1101HA scored 888 points in the PCMark05 test, whereas the Vaio VGN P21Z and the Acer Aspire One 751 scored 916 (+3%) and 692 (-22%) respectively. From the 3DMark tests consider for example the 3DMark03 value – here the 1101HA’s 418 points are roughly level with the Sony VGN P21Z which scored 425 points (+2%) and the Aspire One 751 which scored 413 points (-1%). In the 3DMark05 test we see a similar picture, with 146 points for the 1101HA, 126 points (-14%) for the Sony Vaio VGN P21Z and 136 points (-7%) for the Aspire One 751.

Netbooks with the more common combination of Intel Atom N270 or even N280 processor and GMA 950 provide a markedly better performance according to benchmarks. As a comparison, the Asus Eee PC 1005HA (N270, GMA 950, 1GB RAM) scored 1617 points in the PCMark05 test, a performance 82% better than the 1101HA.

Nonetheless, office tasks, internet browsing, Skype and so on are well within the 1101HA’s grasp and it handles them without difficulty.

As you would expect, the only mass storage device is the hard drive, a Hitachi HTS543216L9SA00 which provides 160GB total capacity. With a rotation speed of 5400 rpm it is unremarkable.

Systeminfo CPUZ CPU
Systeminfo CPUZ Cache
Systeminfo CPUZ Mainboard
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM SPD
Systeminfo GPUZ
Systeminfo HDTune
System information: Asus Eee PC 1101HA
PC Mark
PCMark 051088 points
Help
3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE888 points
3DMark 03413 points
3DMark 05146 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
68 points
Help
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
454
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
693
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
29
Help
Hitachi Travelstar 5K320 HTS543216L9SA00
Transfer Rate Minimum: 27.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 59 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 47.4 MB/s
Access Time: 18.2 ms
Burst Rate: 43.6 MB/s
CPU Usage: 8.6 %
DPC latencies
DPC latencies

We also tested the latencies under Windows XP using the DPC Latency Checker program. With high latencies observed at times, there could be synchronization problems when external devices are connected, such as crackles of sound when using external sound cards. The image to the right illustrates the problems.

Emissions

System noise

The Eee PC 1101HA is very quiet, producing a maximum of 31.2dB(A) when idle or with light use. With a heavier system load it gets somewhat louder, reaching a maximum value of 37.2 dB(A). All in all it is a relatively quiet machine which produces a pleasant low-frequency sound.

Noise Level

Idle 31.2 / 31.2 / 31.2 dB(A)
HDD 31.4 dB(A)
Load 31.4 / 37.2 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The heat build-up is very unobtrusive, both in the keyboard area and on the underside of the machine. Even with heavy use the upper side reaches a maximum temperature of 34.3 degrees Celsius, while the underside even manages to stay somewhat cooler with a maximum 31.1 degrees Celsius. Working with the notebook on your lap is therefore not a problem.

Max. Load
 33.2 °C32.2 °C28.8 °C 
 34.3 °C33.5 °C28.9 °C 
 31.8 °C28.8 °C27.8 °C 
Maximum: 34.3 °C
Average: 31 °C
27.6 °C30.2 °C30.3 °C
28.6 °C29.6 °C30.9 °C
26.1 °C30.2 °C31.1 °C
Maximum: 31.1 °C
Average: 29.4 °C

Loudspeakers

The loudspeakers, placed along the front edge of the machine, project their sound downwards. Asus clearly put some thought into sound quality, as the SRS Premium Sound True-to-life 5.1 Surround Audio provides a good, relatively balanced, range. The sound quality via the 3.5mm head phone jack is also without problems.

Battery life

Reader's Test
Maximum battery life (Reader's Test)
Classic Test
Minimum battery life (Classic Test)

Asus promises up to 11 hours battery life on its website. However this is only true for machines with the 63 Wh, 6-cell lithium-ion battery. For those with the 48 Wh lithium-ion battery, like our test model, 9.5 hours of offline use should be possible.

In the Battery Eater Reader’s Test (with minimum brightness and wi-fi disabled) the Asus 1101HA lasted for 584 minutes, which is 9 hours and 44 minutes of battery usage, exceeding the manufacturer’s claims. With wireless surfing and the maximum screen brightness the power drain increased, but the battery still lasted 367 minutes, around 6 hours.

Under a full system load, wireless modules turned on and maximum screen brightness, we reached 326 minutes, about 5.5 hours, on the Battery Eater Classic test (minimum achievable run time).

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.3 Watt
Idle 7.2 / 7.6 / 8.8 Watt
Load 11.2 / 11.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 44min
WiFi Surfing
6h 07min
Load (maximum brightness)
5h 26min

Verdict

Asus has delivered a complete package with pleasing portability in the Eee PC 1101HA. Despite its excellent battery life it does not belong to the absolute front-runners of the field in this respect, but to be able to work for at least 6 hours away from a mains power supply is still pretty useful. You should not expect great performance from it, but the combination of the Intel Atom Z520 CPU, the integrated GMA 500 graphics chip and 1GB of RAM on Windows XP is sufficient for simple office tasks and surfing the web.

Regretably the major stumbling block to mobile use turns out, once again, to be the screen. With a highly reflective surface and low brightness levels, it is not recommended for outdoor use – which is a shame. On the positive side, it has a larger usable work area than previous Eee PC models, thanks to the 1366 x 768 pixel, 11.6” screen, though this of course increases its size and weight.

As is to be expected with netbooks, the Asus Eee PC 1101HA is clearly targeted towards a specific market. At a reasonable price it offers sufficient mobile performance and is also attractively designed, if a little hard to keep clean.

Asus Eee PC 1101HA
Asus Eee PC 1101HA
Asus Eee PC 1101HA
In Review: Asus Eee PC 1101HA
In Review: Asus Eee PC 1101HA

Specifications

Asus Eee PC 1101HA

:: Processor
Intel Atom Z520 1.333 GHz
:: Mainboard
Intel US15W (Poulsbo)
:: Memory
1024 MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
11.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Hitachi Travelstar 5K320 HTS543216L9SA00, 160 GB 5400 rpm
:: Soundcard
Intel Poulsbo - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Microphone, headphones, Card Reader: SD, MMC (SDHC),
:: Networking
Atheros AR8132 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller (10/100MBit), Atheros AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (b g n ), 2.1+EDR Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 36.2 x 286 x 196
:: Weight
1.35 kg Power Supply: 0.19 kg
:: Battery
48 Wh Lithium-Ion
:: Price
399 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows XP Home 32 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1.3 MP, Case, instructions, cleaning cloth, proof of guarantee, support DVD, 24 Months Warranty

 

An elegant appearance, which...
An elegant appearance, which...
The single access panel allows a layman to replace the memory.
The single access panel allows a layman to replace the memory.
...has its price. With the Intel Atom Z520 CPU and integrated GMA 500 graphics chipset, the Eee PC 1101HA's processing power is just sufficient.
...has its price. With the Intel Atom Z520 CPU and integrated GMA 500 graphics chipset, the Eee PC 1101HA's processing power is just sufficient.
The very good battery life...
The very good battery life...
...or should that be screen?
...or should that be screen?
Mirror, mirror...
Mirror, mirror...
The touchpad takes a bit of getting used to.
The touchpad takes a bit of getting used to.
Apart from the small right shift key, the keyboard is inviting.
Apart from the small right shift key, the keyboard is inviting.
Small, but clearly visible status LED on the front edge
Small, but clearly visible status LED on the front edge
...and left-handed people alike.
...and left-handed people alike.
The ports are well positioned for right-handed people...
The ports are well positioned for right-handed people...
The hinges limit the maximum opening angle to 132 degrees.
The hinges limit the maximum opening angle to 132 degrees.
The screen has grown to 11.6 inches, increasing the overall size and weight.
The screen has grown to 11.6 inches, increasing the overall size and weight.
... is also available in white.
... is also available in white.
Neither top nor bottom overheats.
Neither top nor bottom overheats.

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The displayed prices can be up to one day old.

Pro

+Good battery life
+Light and compact
+Stable and well made
 

Cons

-Over-reflective, dark display
-Limited opening angle
-Small right shift key
-Glossy finish hard to maintain
-Not much processing power

Shortcut

What we liked

The sleek, elegant design and the comprehensive accessories.

What was missing

A brighter screen with a matt finish would be far more appropriate for such a portable notebook.

What surprised us

That a notebook that is supposed to appeal to younger people doesn't have a better screen.

The competition

Netbooks of this size are not yet as common as their smaller counterparts. However the Acer Aspire One 751, also 11.6 inches and also with Atom Z520 CPU, GMA 500 and 1GB RAM, is strikingly similar.

 

Bewertung

Asus Eee PC 1101HA
08/28/2009
Martina Osztovits

Chassis
89%
Keyboard
87%
Pointing Device
80%
Connectivity
86%
Weight
92%
Battery
100%
Display
75%
Games Performance
15%
Application Performance
55%
Temperature
90%
Noise
96%
Add Points
85%
Average
79%
87%
Netbook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Asus Eee PC 1101HA Netbook
Author: Martina Osztovits, 2009-09- 3 (Update: 2012-05-26)