Checking Out the ASUS Eee PC 1215N

ASUS hit on a pretty good design when it debuted the Eee PC Seashell models two years ago. It hasn’t changed much since then, with the overall lines staying about the same. The biggest change in the intervening two years has been the material used—first the super-glossy plastic on the original models, the textured matte plastic on the 1001P, and now the soft-touch plastic on the 1015 series. The 1201N was one of the glossy models, but that’s thankfully been replaced by brushed aluminum. This gives it a pretty hefty, high quality feel. It’s a much more solid feeling system than most other 11-12” ultraportables (*cough* Acer *cough*). There’s little to no flex throughout the chassis, and I actually think it’s better built than some of ASUS’ larger models (the UL80Jt comes to mind).

I wish I could say the same for the keyboard—it’s not great. There’s a fair amount of flex, particularly in the middle. This was pretty disappointing to me, because the last few ASUS keyboards I had sampled, whether Eee PC or regular U-series notebook, had been quite good. Maybe I just got unlucky with my review unit, but the keyboard flex stood out because the rest of the notebook was so solid. As far as other input devices go, the touchpad is pretty much standard; it works without anything to complain about. It’s pretty large, taking up a good 30% of the palmrest area, and the single mouse button (with two sensors underneath, a la U33Jc) gives pretty good feedback, though it might be too “clicky” for some.

Port selection is basically netbook-standard, plus an HDMI port (thanks to ION). That’s three USB ports, VGA, Ethernet, line in/headphone out, and a card reader, if you haven’t looked at a netbook lately. That’s about all you can expect at this pricepoint. The webcam has the same gimmicky manual shutter over it that the U33Jc has. In my opinion, that’s just one more part to break, but if someone sees value in it, so be it.

(Re-) Introducing ASUS EeePC 1215N How Does the ASUS Eee PC 1215N Perform?
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  • kmmatney - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    I have to say that I'm almost as productive with the track pad as I am with a mouse. I just have to turn off the double-click feature - that drives me nuts. Overall, trackpads are a very good built-in solution - I just wish mine was larger, like the track pads on Apple's laptops.
  • slagar - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    On a netbook? Ew, no. Trackpads are fine for light computing use, carrying around a mouse (and having a decent surface to use it on) is not.
  • stancilmor - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    well perhaps just provide a way to disable the track pad, I have clumsy hands that are always hitting the track pad and messing up my typing...usually have to tape over the track pad and use a mouse.
  • Evil_Sheep - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    Virtually all trackpads can be disabled in software (typically Synaptics drivers) ...most laptops even have a Fn keyboard shortcut to do that. Try looking for that or use control panel and go to mouse settings.
  • Nataku - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    actually, I think if they embed the mouse into the laptop like how some mouse embed the receiver into the mouse as an option from the trackpad, i might actually jump on it ;-)
  • b.kenobi - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    maybe not such a bad idea to remove the trackpad... how about using a smartphone as your trackpad...
  • Xipto - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    "all in a tasty aluminum wrapper"

    Funny thing, I've just hold one and there's no trace of aluminium in the chassis. Like most Asus laptops now available, it's plastic painted as brushed aluminium. Only a few feature some aluminium screen cover or palm rests but I didn't found one where it was applied all around.
  • slagar - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    "The webcam has the same gimmicky manual shutter over it that the U33Jc has. In my opinion, that’s just one more part to break, but if someone sees value in it, so be it."

    Why do they feel the need to include this? So people can stop spying on themselves?
    Perhaps it's to evade potential lawsuits: 'oops I left a video-conference open while I got undressed - I better sue my laptop manufacturer for not including a safety shutter!!'. Honestly, it baffles me.
  • Evil_Sheep - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    We live in an era where school administrators use laptop webcams to secretly spy on their own students ( governments will go to any length to spy on their own citizens, including photographing them naked, and hackers control networks of millions of zombie computers because the incredible complexity of modern technology is far beyond the comprehension of the average citizen.

    A simple webcam shutter is not only a sensible countermeasure, it should be mandatory on all computers.
  • Evil_Sheep - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    The lesson of the 1215N is that while there's lots of choice in this market (10-12" budget ultraportables), nobody offers a product without at least one significant drawback. Though the 1215 is a flawed product, there is no clearly superior alternative.

    The conclusion mentions a few possibilities but look at them: if you go with a 10" netbook, you have to live with their cramped 600p screens and keyboards and crippled Win7 Starter. If you go with EOL CULV, typically an Acer Timeline 1400 or 1800, you have to live with Acer's awful keyboards, LCD's, and bottom of the barrel plastic. And if you go with AMD, you get poor to awful battery life and still anemic performance. It's a no-win situation.

    Only the Macbook Air 11 comes close to perfection...but at $1000 you're blowing the budget and of course you have to take OSX.

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