seashell_opener1WHAT: Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell

PRICE: $429.99

COMPARE TO: MSi Wind U120, Samsung NC10, HP Mini 2140

FUN FACT: The Seashell is available in black, blue, white and pink.

WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING IT: Asus helped usher in the age of the Netbook with their Eee PC line of sub-notebooks back in 2007 with the release of their Eee PC 701 model, and since then it has been improving the model line year by year as almost every computer company has released their own Netbook.

For those of you still using a Compaq Presario from the '90s, let us bring you up to speed on what exactly a Netbook is. Doing away with most of the features that go unused by a majority of the computing masses, a Netbook is a small laptop that gives you the bare essentials, allowing you to complete basic tasks such as browsing the internet—checking your Facebook, Twitter,—light word processing and playing music and videos, all for a price well south of $1,000. If that sums up your computing needs, you may wanna chuck the desktop and check out a Netbook.

Asus' newest EeePC, the Seashell, is their best yet. Coined the SeaShell because of its tapered clamshell form (think Apple MacBook Air), the SeaShell comes with some much welcomed improvements such as a larger keyboard. The achilles heel for most Netbooks is their cramped keyboard which makes it frustratingly impossible to touch type, but unless you're a Ninja Turtle or Jazze Pha, this keyboard will prove comfortable. The trackpad even gets a revamp in the form of multi-touch. Just like on the iPhone and now the MacBooks, you can now make a pinch gesture on the trackpad to enlarge and shrink documents. It may not seem like much, but when you're working on the SeaShells 10.1" LED backlit screen (1024x600 resolution), having the ability to resize photos and text easily is key.

Most Netbooks have gotten past the storage problem, and the SeaShell, with 160GB of internal storage and 10GB of Eee Online Storage, does so as well. Also thrown into the package is a Premium Dolby and SRS Surround Sound Speaker set up, which makes the diminutive laptop sound larger than its 10.7" wide and 1" thick footprint. But the real reason to get a Netbook, besides the price, is the battery life. The SeaShells battery is rated at 6 hours, which means it can still survive a flight from New York to Cali. Processing duties are adequately handled by Intel's Netbook chip, the battery friendly, Atom running at 1.66 Mhz.

Netbooks aren't for everyone. Some people need a bigger screen and an optical drive, a dedicated graphics card and more powerful processor. But, let's be real, for most of us, they're perfect for simple everyday tasks and are much easier to tote along to the beach this summer. If you're in the market for one, the Seashell should be high on your list.