Asus Ion-Powered Eee PC 1201N Review - HotHardware

Asus Ion-Powered Eee PC 1201N Review

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There have been two major changes to the Eee PC netbook line since its original inception. The first was the phasing out of the original 7" and 9" netbooks designs, and the second was the introduction of the Seashell line up. Most of the company's latest netbooks have fallen into that Seashell line, with a distinct enclosure that tapers down in thickness towards the front of the machine.


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The Eee PC 1201N is a lot like the Eee PC 1005HA in terms of design. In fact, we'd say that if you've seen the 1005HA in person, you've seen the 1201N. There is very little in terms of sheer design that has changed since the 1005HA was released, with the additional screen real estate (12.1" on the 1201N versus 10.1" on the 1005HA), HDMI socket and the full-size keyboard being the most notable.


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That's not to say we're disappointed with the 1201N. Asus has clearly found a sweet spot with styling, and they are apparently not looking to mix that formula up anytime soon. The size of the 1201N is just about perfect in our eyes; the 12.1" form factor gives you no extra pixels compared to the 11.6" Mini 311 (which also boasts a 1366x768 resolution), but the extra real estate enables a full-size keyboard to be planted and it also enables more surface area for heat to disperse--in turn, keeping the machine exceptionally cool even under intense load.

    
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The dimpled multi-touch trackpad is here, along with the polarizing silver bar beneath it. We appreciate the addition of multi-touch, but as with older Eee PCs, we're still not fans of the dimples and we're really unimpressed with the solid silver click bar that allows for left / right pushes to account for left / right clicks.


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Even the LCD hinge is the same as before, and the glossy black paint job is everywhere. The LCD bezel is dipped in glossy, the palm rests are glossed and even the top lid is glossed. The underside is the only bit of matte on the whole machine, so we hope you're ready to clean off a great deal of fingerprints.

    
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At 3.22lbs., this machine basically weighs exactly the same as the 11.6" Ion-powered Mini 311 from HP. As you'll recall from that review, the 1.6GHz Atom N270 turned out to really hamper overall system performance. For the same weight, you can get a more spacious machine here with more power under the hood.


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As for overall build quality, Asus has once again delivered. This machine feels like a $500 machine through and through; the LCD hinge is rock solid, the screen and body are both rigid, and keyboard flex is kept to a minimum. It's definitely more robust than Asus' lower-end Eee PC netbook models, but considering the premium price, that's to be expected.

    
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Nice little machine - good review!

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I may have to buy one of these. Has everything I want in a machine--would just like a little more powerful CPU.

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Hehe... we'd like them all to be as powerful as our desktops... but I think this is quite reasonable for a machine that should mostly be used for work and word processing.

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That has got to be the MOST in depth review i have ever seen!  wowza!  (and take it from me, who has read just about EVERY review on EVERY laptop!)  One quaetion:  why are there 4 processors lised for the Asus 1201N?  in the device manager?

 

What an awesome review!

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Agreed, great review Shawn! Alot of discerning insights and very in depth.

 

The $500 price tag is nice, but I feel the lines are being blurred between a netbook and a small laptop. For a 12.1" you can spring for the HP tx2 series which would include a multi-touch screen, much better processor, graphics, etc for a few hundred dollars more. Unfortunately the quality sucks...

 

"For the same weight, you can get a more spacious machine here with more power under the hood."

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Unfortunately the quality of which one s*cks?  (Hopefully u meant the HPtx2) i had that if you mean the Touchsmart and i hated it.  It was soooo thick, the touchscreen worked when it wanted to, it wasn't a very bright screen (even with brightness all the way up) was only a 1280 x 800 res and wasn't expandable past 4 GB (the model i had anyway, but that was almost 2 years ago, but i notice a lot of the specs are still the same.  Who knows, maybe they improved it, but that would cost DOUBLE this one!

But any idea about my orig question?  Why does it show 4 (four) processors under the Device Manager for the Asus 1201N?

 

t/y!  :)

 

Dumm

 

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I was only hoping this would eventually. But I remember Intel saying its atom 330 was a DESKTOP ONLY proc!! ;)

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I am a linux fan and from the product specification I think this netbook should work fine. However I cannot find any information on the chipset of the wireless network card. In the past I have had trouble with the proprietary Broadcom linux driver, so I prefer to stay away from their products. Would it be possible to know what is the name of the chipset manufacturer of this netbook and it's model number please?

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Great question, Christine.

I too am curious about this. Maybe Marco could boot the machine from a Linux LiveCD (recommend trying Ubuntu and Knoppix) and tell us if it works - and if not, give us the "lspci -v" output so that we can figure out if we can make it work.

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How does this machine perform when playing back generic x264 codec files that people tend to release content on the internet as?  Does the Ion GPU acceleration help with that?  For instance, you can playback nearly anything with vlc media player, including just about everything encoded in x264 codecs and packed as a *.avi or *.mkv file.  But does this netbook perform adequately when playing back 1080p movies in this codec?

The other big challenge is HD youtube videos.  Those use flash media player, which I'm not sure if it has any hardware acceleration at all.  How does the netbook perform when playing those back?

 

 

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