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 The 1201N was one of the glossy models, but that’s thankfully been replaced by brushed aluminum.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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  • MeSh1 - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    " Intel has essentially left the Atom core the same since the launch in mid-2008" This is what happens when there is no competition.
  • Alexstarfire - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    True, there aren't other netbooks without atom, but there are other CPUs to compete. Unfortunately they all suck. All of the "competitors" use more power, save for ARM processors. Not sure if they'll ever use ARM processors in netbooks though. Tablets and smartphones seem to promising for them.
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    No x86 license means no ARM netbooks. Qualcomm was trying to get the whole "smartbook" deal off the ground, basically just thinner netbooks running Snapdragon and either Linux, Chrome OS, or Android. They all sucked big time, then the entire segment got basically axed for tablets. Toshiba released this Tegra 2/Android smartbook, but it hit the market and basically disappeared, so that says enough about the segment.

    We'll see, I'm interested to see if AMD's impending release of Ontario can change anything, but the Ontario cores are clocked at a pitiful 1.0GHz (for the dual core, 1.2GHz for the single) so it might not beat Atom by too much. For single core apps, I'm thinking maybe a 20% boost in performance - whether this will be faster than Atom by enough to be usable is the question. But seriously, I would like for something (anything) to kick the Atom team into action. They basically created the netbook market with the release of Atom, but after that they've done nothing other than moving the graphics onto the CPU package. Every time I get a netbook, it's like "oh boy, Atom....again....greaaaaat" I want some interesting netbooks lol.
  • Eug - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    Non-Atom netbooks already exist in 2010. The Acer listed in the review is arguably in this netbook/hybrid class, at 11.6" inches with a street price LESS than the Asus Atom/ION machine, but sporting a CPU that runs circles around Atom and which also has an integrated GPU (Intel 4500MHD) with full 1080p H.264 decode capability like NVIDIA ION provides.

    Hopefully 2011 will see more of these decently powered netbooks, whether it'd be with CULV Core 2 Duo class chips, or from Zacate, beginning in the sub US$400 price segment.

    Actually, just as important as the CPU is the keyboard. Using 10" keyboards is utterly painful. Just one and a half inches more and you get a full-sized keyboard. It makes all the difference in the world, not for productivity apps, but for basic netbook-style internet consumption as well. It's much more pleasant typing an AnandTech comment on a full-sized keyboard. For this reason, any 10" model IMO isn't even in the running compared to the Asus 1215N, regardless of performance.
  • Terodius - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    you do realize Sony has a 13.3 inch vaio with core i7, nvidia discrete graphics and a full HD screen? I mean seriously... netbook on steroids? I consider 12 inches more of a ultraportable. with another extra inch you get the experience of a desktop replacement.
  • monomer - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    Did you seriously just compare a $500 netbook to an $1800 laptop?

    Well played.
  • jigglywiggly - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

  • erwos - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    I ordered a 1215N, but promptly returned it unopened after finding out online about the number of people who are breaking the flimsy power pin in the course of normal use. This is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed in the review.
  • Scott_G - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    Why wouldn't you just give it a try on your own, you can't always believe what people say on the Internet about defects. If you did believe everything then you wouldn't own anything tech related.

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