Thin, stylish Eee PC 1002HA launches at $499

So far, Asus has offered cheap and cheerful Eee PC netbooks to the general public while keeping thinner, more stylish derivatives at much higher price points. With the new Eee PC 1002HA, Asus seems to be trying to merge the two concepts—affordability and style.

A quick glance at the Eee PC 1002HA's spec sheet shows many similarities with the $480 Eee PC 1000H: both units have Intel Atom N270 processors, 10" 1024x600 displays, 1GB of DDR2 memory, 160GB mechanical hard drives, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Windows XP Home Edition.

Unlike its older sibling, however, the 1002HA boasts an aluminum palm rest and display lid, and Asus has strived to make it thinner and lighter. Compared to the 3.2-pound, 1.12-1.5"-thick 1000H, the Eee PC 1002HA weighs only 2.6 lbs and is just 1.09" thick. Those svelte proportions come in part from a lighter battery, which has only two cells. Asus nonetheless rates it for five hours of run time, or 2.5 hours less than the 1000H.

Last, but not least, Asus notes that the 1002HA features a Super Hybrid Engine technology that lets users lower or raise the CPU clock speed "by pressing a button above the keyboard." That sounds a bit like the overclocking functionality MSI has offered in its Wind netbooks for some time.

According to Asus, the Eee PC 1002HA is launching in the United States today with a $499 suggested retail price.

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