Design and Build Quality
If you've seen one of Asus' recent Eee PC netbooks, then you've seen the Eee PC 1215N. It utilizes the Asus Seashell design scheme that has been in place since early 2009, which means that the machine gets thicker from front to back, curves are everywhere and the overall build quality could be a bit more sturdy in our opinion.
The 12.1" form factor means that a full-size chiclet keyboard can be included, which is great for touch typists who tend to spend an inordinate amount of time pegging away on thesis papers and the like. The overall design is a familiar one; the Ion 2-powered Eee PC 1201N that we reviewed in late July is nearly identical in terms of layout.
That means that Asus still hasn't dropped their single silver trackpad button. You have to click on the left side to activate a left click, and click down on the right side for a right click. We'd prefer a legitimate split in between the bar, but it seems that we're either alone in thinking that or we're just being ignored perhaps. The trackpad itself here is fairly good; it's large for a netbook, but we wish it were a few millimeters wider given the ample palm rest space. The multi-touch gesture support is fantastic, and we've always credited Asus for including this on even their low-end notebooks.
The port assortment is fairly usual. On the left, there's a VGA and HDMI output, SD/SDHC/MMC card slot, USB 2.0 port and an AC input. On the right edge, there's an Ethernet port, two more USB ports, a headphone jack and an audio input (3.5mm) port.
The bezel and LCD are par for the course; there's a 1366x768 12.1" non-touch panel (glossy), with an LCD recline that folds back nearly completely, but not quite. Our only major gripe is that Asus has done little to improve the feel of these 12.1" Eee PC netbooks. It still feels somewhat flimsy, and it relies too heavily on cheap plastics. It just feels like a toy more than a real machine, despite the fact that the specifications clearly show that it is indeed meant to be a performer in its category. We will confess that this one feels a bit less flimsy than prior Eee PC netbooks, but just barely so.