Asus Eee PC 1215N Netbook Review

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Is Intel's Pinetrail platform really all its cracked up to be? We recently took an in-depth look at the 1.8GHz processor / platform, but it's a different thing to take a look at the same thing in a shipping product that's available today to consumers. We have been longing for faster Atom processors, and particularly in recent months, we felt as if even the newer Atom chips weren't fast enough compared to their predecessors. That said, the new Atom D525 dual-core chip holds a bit more promise, at least on paper, for the next generation of netbooks.



We seem to be heading into an era where netbooks aren't the bargain bin machines that they once were. We can't recall the last time we saw a $199 or $249 netbook.  The vast majority coming our way now are priced at at least $399, and Asus' Eee PC 1215N fits the mold here. With a $499 MSRP, this isn't the netbook to get if you're looking to pinch pennies, but it does offer a new generation Atom CPU, NVIDIA's next generation Ion GPU and NVIDIA's Optimus graphics switching technology. That's solid power in a netbook, and we're as interested as anyone to see if this sub-$500 machine can actually serve as an ultraportable replacement.


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The 12.1" display means that you'll get a full-size keyboard, and Asus has made the trackpad a bit wider than we're used to seeing. In honesty, the 1215N is an SSD and an integrated optical drive away from being just as full-featured as the average $800-$1000 ultraportable, which makes the $499 price tag look a lot more appealing when you put it in perspective.

Asus Eee PC 1215N Netbook
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • Intel Atom D525 CPU (1.8GHz; dual-core with 1MB L2 cache)
  • 2GB of DDR3 RAM 
  • 12.1" LCD (1366x768 resolution)
  • NVIDIA Ion 2 + Intel UMA Pintrail Graphics (Optimus enabled)
  • 250GB (5400RPM) Seagate Momentus 5400.6 HDD
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • No optical drive
  • 0.3 Megapixel Webcam
  • VGA and HDMI Outputs
  • USB 2.0 x 3
  • RJ-45 (Ethernet 10/100)
  • Headphone / Mic Input Jacks
  • SD / MMC / SDHC Multimedia Card Reader
  • Altec Lansing Stereo Speakers
  • 'Chiclet' Keyboard
  • Gesture-Enabled Elan Multi-Touch Trackpad
  • 3.1 Pounds (with 6-cell battery installed)
  • Removable 6-Cell (5200mAh) Li-ion Battery
  • "Up To 7 Hours" Claimed Battery Life
  • 11.6" (W) x 8.0" (D) x 0.90 - 1.4" (H) (Dimensions)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • Price (MSRP): $499



As you can see, the specifications list here is drool-worthy for a netbook. But do these specs lead to real-world performance? And more importantly, is this 12.1" netbook dramatically more powerful than Asus' last line of 12.1" netbooks? Is the 1.8GHz D525 really a leap above the last Atom? Join us in the pages ahead as we find out.

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I have an ASUS1201N and have been really pleased with and have only had a couple of instances where I wish it were a little peppier and had better graphics. I'll have to watch for benchmarks, etc but way to go Asus

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Another great HotHardware review...thanks Ray! Is the Windows Experience Index rating shown in the article being run with the Ion 2 disabled? The graphics scores seem a bit on the low side.



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Hey Dave, I'll ping Ray on this but it's likely that it was in fact integrated graphics in this test, since Optimus probably didn't detect an application running at the time that required the discrete core.

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Dave_HH:
Hey Dave, I'll ping Ray on this but it's likely that it was in fact integrated graphics in this test

The WEI graphics scores on my son's older 1201N with the original ION is showing 4.3 and 5.3 respectively. Hopefully this newer ION 2 can do at least that! Thanks for checking into that, Dave.

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I want one, but the lack of USB 3.0 and a 7200 RPM HD are deal-breakers. Only 2GB of RAM is pretty lackluster too. Hopefully they will include these features in a refreshed version not too far down the road. I am interested to see what HP, Dell, and even Samsung will have to offer with Intel's latest Atom processor.

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