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Design and expansion capabilities

Upon opening the lid of the 1000HE, you'll immediately be struck by the smooth finish, which starts at the front edge of the touchpad and doesn't end until the top of the display. However, turn the 1000HE on, and your attention will soon shift to the LED-backlit LCD. Though it's difficult to represent in photos, this thing is bright. In fact, I often found myself turning the brightness down a few notches in order to prevent my eyes from having to adjust when switching back and forth from my dimmer desktop monitor. The LCD's 1024x600 resolution lies somewhere between 16:9 and 16:10, and although it seems like an odd aspect ratio, wide-screen video content viewed on it looks just fine.

You'll find a 1.3MP camera just above the LCD. While the quality isn't stellar, the little camera gets the job done for video-conferencing and updating your Facebook or MySpace profile. Just don't expect to win any cinematography Oscars with it. There's a microphone array located below the LCD, too, perfect for the 1000HE's included Skype software. Heading further south, Asus put the power button and four hot keys conveniently above the keyboard. The two hot keys on the left can't be reassigned—the first provides a quick way to turn off the display, while the second switches through the Eee PC's resolution options. By default, the other two hot keys switch Super Hybrid Engine modes and launch Skype, but you can easily reassign them to any programs you choose.

Piano black finishes look great in photos (which are a pain to shoot, I might add), but they're less than ideal in practice. Extending the gloss to the display's bezel was a smooth style change, but the manner in which it reflects light is quite distracting. While I never really notice the glass bezel on the MacBook's display, the changing angles and highly polished veneer of the 1000HE hinder its usability. There's also the issue of finger oils and other smudges, which seem drawn to the 1000HE's finish.

Don't get me wrong: the 1000HE looks great. But after you've wiped your thousandth fingerprint from this netbook's chassis, you might find yourself wishing it were matte black. Other colors shouldn't prove as frustrating—just know what you're in for if you buy a black 1000HE.

On the left side of the netbook, we can see a Kensington security slot, an RJ45 jack for Gigabit Ethernet, and a lone USB 2.0 port. The red and green jacks near the front are for microphones and headphones, respectively. Between the USB and audio ports lies the exhaust area for the 1000HE's lone fan, but it's rare to even notice warm air emanating from it. If you're getting a sense of déjà vu, that's because port arrangement is identical to that of previous Eee PC 1000 units.

Jumping to the other side of the 1000HE, Asus includes an SDHC slot for extra storage—although with a 160GB hard drive, you may be hard-pressed to find a need for it. There are also two more USB 2.0 ports and a VGA output port. DC power input is the final port along the right side. Once again, the layout is the same as on earlier Eee PC 1000 models.

The bottom of the netbook is, as you would expect, a rather bland affair. You'll find ample ventilation for the 1000HE's components and a panel allowing access to the netbook's storage and RAM. 1000H owners might notice that there's no longer a large bulge where the hard drive resides. Kudos to Asus for streamlining the 1000HE's chassis, even if it's with a part no one sees.

Two screws stand between you and the 1000HE's hard drive and RAM. Both components are easily upgraded if necessary, and the entire process should take no more than five minutes. Asus stuck with a standard 2.5" SATA mechanical hard drive for the 1000HE, giving users the flexibility to upgrade to other hard drives or SSDs without worrying about compatibility. Like its predecessors, the 1000HE has a single DDR2 SO-DIMM slot that supports module sizes up to 2GB.