To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Asus Eee PC 1201N review

Asus Eee PC 1201N
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £400
inc VAT

Asus' Ion netbook is more expensive than other netbooks but doesn't have many advantages over similarly priced CULV ultra-portables.


12.1 in 1,366×768 display, 1.5kg, 1.6GHz Intel Atom 330, 2.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

The vast majority of netbooks have comparatively low-resolution screens as well as single core processors and integrated Intel graphics chips that aren’t capable of playing high definition video. The Asus Eee PC 1201N is different – it’s one of the few netbooks we’ve seen to have a screen with a resolution higher than 1,024×600 pixels and a Nvidia Ion graphics chip which can play HD video. Unusually, it also has a dual core instead of a single core Atom processor.

Like netbooks with Intel integrated graphics, the 1201N isn’t powerful enough for playing modern 3D games. It’s perfectly capable of playing HD video though on its 12.1in screen which has a 1,366×768 pixel resolution. This is high enough for 720p video. Images look very bright and vivid, due in part to the glossy finish. This also reflects light from overhead sources, such as fluorescent office lighting, quite easily though. Viewing angles are a little tight, so colours look their best when you’re sitting directly in front of it, but overall it’s a good looking screen.

Oddly, the 1201N doesn’t use one of Intel’s latest N- or D-series Atoms, but uses a previous generation processor designed for nettops, the Atom 330. It was noticeably faster than single core Atom netbooks in our multiple applications test. However, it was only a little bit quicker in our video editing test and wasn’t any faster in our image editing test.

Unlike most netbooks, it’s fitted with 2GB of RAM instead of just 1GB so switching between multiple applications and using Windows in general feels more responsive. If you need more, a maximum of 8GB can be fitted through an easily accessible door on the underside of the netbook. You would need to dispose of the two existing 1GB chips though.

Unfortunately, we suspect that the 330, which is more power hungry than other Atom processors, is at least partially responsible for the 1201N’s disappointing battery life. It lasted just four hours and 28 minutes in our light usage test which would be very good for a larger 15in laptop but is merely satisfactory for a netbook.

This is a shame as we were quite taken with the 1201N’s build quality and keyboard. It feels very sturdy and robust – only the lid flexed under pressure and even then, only a little. The keyboard is a pleasure to type on thanks to its large and responsive keys with have just the right amount of travel and feedback. The touchpad is small, but it feels accurate and has a pleasing, dimpled texture. The single, pivoting button doesn’t give enough feedback when pressed though.

Disappointingly for a HD-capable netbook, the speakers sound terrible. They sound tinny, harsh and distort very easily. External stereo speakers can be connected to the headphone socket for better sound, while the HDMI port supports surround sound output.

We wanted to like Asus’ Ion netbook but it’s an odd beast. Its dual core processor and Ion graphics make it more powerful than a netbook, but not enough to justify its added expense and shorter battery life. At £400 it costs the same as some ultra-portable laptops equipped with CULV processors which can also play HD video. It’s not a bad computer, but it only has a niche appeal.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor Intel Atom 330
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Memory 2.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 33x295x210mm
Weight 1.5kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad


Viewable size 12.1 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor Nvidia Ion
Graphics/video ports HDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory 256MB


Total storage capacity 250GB
Optical drive model none
Optical drive type N/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Modem No
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC
Other ports none


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore option restore disc
Software included ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 3, Microsoft Works 9
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year collect and return
Price £400

Read more