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Asus EeePC 1215N review

Tom Morgan
5 Nov 2010
Asus EeePC 1215N
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
415
inc VAT

Sacrifices battery life for a welcome increase in performance, but the price takes it close to ultra-portable territory.

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Specifications

12.1 in 1,366x768 display, 1.5kg, 1.8GHz Intel Atom D525, 2.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

Netbooks aren’t traditionally known for their great performance, but Asus hopes to change that with the new EeePC 1215N. Dual-core processors and Windows 7 Home Premium are more commonly found in more expensive ultra-portable laptops, but here both have been squeezed into the diminutive 1215N.

The Intel Atom D525 processor has two cores running at 1.83GHz. In theory, this should provide a welcome power boost over single-core netbooks, but battery life could be sacrificed. By using Windows 7 Home Premium, Asus has avoided the 1GB memory limit that Microsoft insists on for the Starter Edition of its operating system. With 2GB of memory, typical netbook tasks such as web browsing and word processing felt much snappier. In our testing, performance was roughly twice as fast as a single-core Atom. While any performance increase in a netbook is much appreciated, it’s still a long way from matching the power of a full-size laptop.

Graphics horsepower comes from Nvidia’s Ion chipset. This will play both 720p video on the move and 1080p full HD content on an external display via HDMI. Full-screen gaming was still out of the question, though. By dynamically managing the graphics processor when it’s idle, the Optimus power-saving technology aims to extend battery life while still providing improved performance. Lasting five hours in our light usage test, Optimus can't counteract the power draw from the dual-core processor and graphics chip - this is around half the battery life we've seen with other netbooks. Heat wasn’t a problem: even after several hours’ use it remained cool. The fan was quiet during normal operation and there was very little noise even at full speed.

Asus EeePC 1215N

The 1215N has a 12.1in LED-backlit display with a resolution of 1,366x768. This is a step above the size and resolution of the majority of netbooks, but images weren’t especially sharp. Brightness was average and images looked slightly muted. Audio was also a mixed bag; while the 1215n was one of the loudest netbooks we’ve tested, quality was average. Mid-range notes were strong and treble wasn’t harsh, but bass was lacking.

The sleek all-black case looks great, but the glossy screen bezel doesn’t match the otherwise matte body. The keyboard isn’t completely full size, but the Chiclet-style keys are widely spaced enough for error-free typing. Far less impressive was the significant amount of flex in the keys, even under minimal pressure. The smart-looking touchpad is large and lies flush to the wrist rest, with brushed-metal effect buttons sat directly below it. Asus insists on sticking with a single-bar design rather than two individual buttons, but the dead spot in the centre is minimal.

Although it’s quick for a netbook, the 1215N is only slightly smaller and lighter than 13in ultra-portable laptops that have much more processing power. At £415, it’s also very expensive for a netbook. With the relatively short battery life, there are many longer-lasting alternatives. The uneasy combination of performance, portability and price puts the 1215N in an awkward position unless you can live with the battery life in exchange for the larger screen and performance.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Atom D525
Processor clock speed1.8GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4,096GB
Size23x296x203mm
Weight1.5kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size12.1 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorNvidia Ion
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory64MB

Storage

Total storage capacity250GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11b/g/n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSDXC, MMC
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore optionburn own restore disc
Software includedMicrosoft Office 2010 Starter edition

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£415
Detailshttp://uk.asus.com
Supplierhttp://www.asuslaptop.co.uk

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