ASUS Eee PC 1000HE early tests: no vast N280 improvement, keyboard good

ASUS only announced the Eee PC 1000HE on Monday, but LaptopMag have already had a chance to play with what's set to be the first Intel Atom N280 model on the market.  Aesthetically the biggest difference between the 1000HE and its 1000H predecessor is the new VAIO/MacBook style "chiclet" keyboard, but it's the grunt of this netbook that we're really interested in: Intel have previously promised much improved HD video playback from the new GD40 chipset.  Update: There's no GD40 in this 1000HE, and there won't be in any production model.

Problem is, it doesn't look like anybody told the GD40 about that.  Reviewer Joanna Stern noticed roughly the same amount of choppiness in 1080p playback, while the slightly faster processor – 1.66Ghz versus the N270's 1.6GHz – and new bus frequency don't exactly bring with them a huge GeekBench blip.  In fact the 1000HE scores 909 while the 1000H managed 871.

Thankfully the keyboard is much improved, with both reduced flex and a better, more traditional layout.  It's mixed opinions about the Eee PC 1000HE, then; hopefully ASUS can claw back the lost Atom N280 ground with a decent showing from the 6-cell 8700mAh battery, from which they estimate in excess of 8hrs runtime.

Update: A leaked Intel slide has confirmed that the company is offering the N280 processor with the older 945GSE graphics; more here.