Asus Eee PC 1215N Netbook Review

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: In our SiSoftware Sandra tests, the Eee PC 1215PN did very well in comparison to the reference systems in the CPU benchmarks, and it also performed well in GPU tests. The good news is that we can actually say that a netbook outperformed a netbook of the past. Netbook performance has been on a remarkably slow performance increase curve for the past two years, and the 1215N -- in large part thanks to the 1.8GHz dual-core Atom D525 and Ion 2 graphics system -- finally makes a noteworthy leap in the right direction. It still feels like a netbook, pokey at times when you start to multi-task with five or six applications, but it's still quicker than the competition. In the past, we couldn't actually feel performance increases from one machine to the next.

The Eee PC 1215N, from a style perspective, is just about exactly like the 1201N from late July. It has a glossy 12.1" display, a chiclet keyboard, a multi-gesture trackpad, a single-bar trackpad button (still not a fan), and the usual port arrangement. Asus isn't redesigning the netbook or anything, but at least a familiar design is spruced up by the latest and greatest internal components, mildly improved build quality and a wider-than-average trackpad.

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The Ion 2 GPU and the hybrid graphics switching system is a dream come true. It allows power users to take advantage of a discrete GPU when you need the power (gaming, HD playback, etc.), and uses the IGP when handling more traditional duties (Office documents, web surfing, etc.). The 1.8GHz dual-core processor is a nice upgrade; we can't recommend that netbook buyers of the past year go upgrade to this machine right away, but those who have been holding off a netbook purchase as they wait for a "real" Atom to launch, this may be the one you've been waiting for.

We still maintain that Asus should tweak a few design aspects, including the single trackpad bar and the painfully glossy display and somewhat flimsy build materials. We were also let down by the lack of Bluetooth 3.0 and USB 3.0; we're hearing that some international 1215N SKUs will have these technologies, but not the $499 U.S. model. That's a real shame. Of course, hybrid graphics are a major boon when trying to conserve battery life and keep heat to a minimum. At $499, this is easily the nicest netbook on the market today, but it probably won't hold that crown for long. Now that the D525 is out in the open, we'd expect HP, Lenovo, Dell and the rest to bring this chip into their lineups soon, with the high-end netbook race set to begin all over again. 

  • 1.8GHz CPU performs well
  • NVIDIA Optimus graphics
  • Wide trackpad
  • Great battery life
  • Build quality is on the rise

  • Glossy LCD
  • Palm rest stickers
  • Gets quite warm in use
  • No USB 3.0
  • 5400RPM Hard Drive


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