Latest Eee PC Seashell has Broadcom HD decoder

— 5:20 PM on May 4, 2010

Asus has joined the growing club of PC makers that offer netbooks equipped with Broadcom's Crystal HD video decoder. The new Eee PC 1005PR is part of the same Seashell family as the 1005PE we reviewed last December, but it has a higher-resolution display, HD video decoding capabilities... and a higher price tag.

Asus slaps the Eee PC 1005PR with a $399.99 list price, and Newegg happens to sell the system for exactly that much right now. Those 400 bucks get you a 10.1" display with a 1366x768 resolution, an Atom N450 processor, Intel integrated graphics, that Broadcom decoder chip, 1GB of RAM, a 250GB mechanical hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, Windows 7 Starter (plus Asus' ExpressGate instant-on OS), and a six-cell battery rated for 11 hours of run time.

All that hardware adds up to a weight of 2.8 lbs, just like in the Eee PC 1005PE. Both laptops also have the same thickness: 1" at the thinnest point and 1.4" at the thickest.

At $399.99, the Eee PC 1005PR costs almost $100 more than its standard-definition sibling. $400 happens to be about the price of 11.6" CULV systems like Acer's Aspire AS1410, too, which have Core 2 or Core 2-derived processors, quicker Intel integrated graphics, more RAM, and Windows 7 Home Premium.

Asus isn't the only one to price an HD-capable netbook at a premium, of course—Dell actually charges slightly more for the high-def version of its Inspiron Mini 10. Meanwhile, HP undercuts both of its competitors slightly, allowing its Mini 210 HD Edition netbook to be configured with an Atom N450, 1366x768 panel, and Broadcom accelerator for $364.99.

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