Asus Ion-Powered Eee PC 1201N Review

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: In our SiSoftware Sandra tests, the Eee PC 1201N did well in comparison to the reference systems in the CPU benchmarks, and it matched up well against rival components in other areas too. There was a significant difference in overall speed when using "Power Saving Mode" and "Super Performance Mode," but in the latter, the system was very responsive. We would have liked to have seen a faster hard drive or an SSD in the system over the 5400rpm drive that is included, but we understand the need to keep costs down. The decision to insert 2GB of RAM (compared to 1GB in most netbooks) really helped out, as switching between applications was far easier on this system compared to netbooks we tested just a few weeks ago. We were impressed with this unit's ability to handle our more advanced benchmarks, thanks to its Ion GPU, and this is the first netbook we've tested that could actually play older 3D titles respectably. You won't get Crysis running on here, but older titles can be played back nicely if you tone the details down and lower the resolution. It played back 720p and 1080p content without stuttering, and the dual-core CPU allowed enough headroom to multitask while videos were playing. The 6-cell battery lasted just under 3.5 hours in our "real world" test simulation, which is definitely respectable given the dual-core CPU, larger screen, Ion GPU and 5 hour estimate from Asus under ideal conditions.

We suspect the Eee PC 1201N could be one of the more highly anticipated netbooks given that the Ion-based IdeaPad S12 was delayed to the point where the buzz had died down. A dual-core CPU paired with an Ion GPU is a recipe for success, and this is easily the most potent netbook we've seen to date. You get a roomy 12.1" display, full-size keyboard, 6-cell battery (that can last 3.5 hours even under pressure), an Ion GPU and a dual-core CPU for under $500. Asus expects these units to start hitting retail shelves soon, and if you're in need of a netbook for Christmas, this is the one to get. Sure, it's more expensive than those bottom-feeder netbooks, but this thing is worth the additional investment.

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We're expecting Intel to announce new Atom CPUs at CES in just a few weeks, but who knows how long it'll take for those to ship in a machine as well rounded as the Eee PC 1201N. If you need a netbook now, there's no better one on the market today in our opinion. The Eee PC 1201N strikes the perfect balance of speed, battery life and size, and the stylish Seashell design doesn't hurt matters either. The only thing that left us wanting more was the noisy/slow hard drive and the lackluster right/left click bar, but if you pair up a Bluetooth mouse you can get around the latter. Otherwise, this is an outstanding machine from top to bottom. The build quality is top-notch, it's fast for a netbook, it's the one of the few netbook we've seen with some gaming prowess, and it handles up HD content with aplomb. Considering that the Mini 311 is currently selling for around $530, the $499.99 retail price on the Eee PC 1201N seems all the more attractive. If you don't want to spring for a CULV thin-and-light, this is the netbook to buy.

  • NVIDIA Ion
  • Gaming Is Possible!
  • Spacious 12.1" Display
  • Three USB 2.0 Ports + HDMI
  • Windows 7 Onboard
  • Stays Cool
  • Dual-Core CPU Is Quick


  • Glossy Casing Attracts Fingerprints
  • 5400RPM HDD Is Sluggish
  • Preinstalled Bloatware
  • Lackluster Trackpad


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