Sleek, curvy and undeniably attractive, Asus' Eee PC 1005PE looks far classier than it has any right to at this price, and on top of those good looks it's a capable wee beastie.
Under the hood, there's a multitude of improvements over its predecessor, the 1005HA. Wireless networking soars to 802.11n speeds, the hard disk swells to 250GB (there's even 500GB of online storage included in the package) and Intel's Pine Trail platform makes it a veritable long-life champion. Running at over 9hrs 30mins in our light use tests and five hours when flat-out leaves the 1005PE right up there with the most athletic models here.
Performance is never going to set the world on fire, but it's much the same as any other Pine Trail-powered netbook, with a score of 0.29 placing it just a whisker away from its rivals.
Some things, however, have suffered in the process. The keyboard, once a textbook example of how to get it right, has been dumped in favour of mediocre scrabble-tile design. Getting used to the short-travel keys isn't an issue, but it's the layout we have a problem with: the right-hand shift key and the cursor cluster are simply too cramped.
Given a bit of time and patience, we were soon happily typing away, but place it next to the Toshiba NB305 and its deficiencies leap to the fore.
The new display proves a retrograde step too. Resolution is no more an issue than with any 1024 x 600 pixel display, but image quality isn't great, with inferior contrast, brightness and colour reproduction when compared to the original 1005HA.
It's still good enough for the everyday tasks expected of a netbook, but many others here trounce it in the quality stakes.
It's ironic, then, that arguably the least important aspect of the Asus' performance - its sound quality - is by far the most impressive, putting in a musical performance that embarrasses every other netbook here.
However, that's not quite enough to swing things in the 1005PE's favour, with arch rivals the Samsung N210 and Toshiba NB305 putting in more balanced performances. But, while it's easy to bemoan the 1005PE's faults, at this price we're inclined to be forgiving.