Checking Out the ASUS Eee PC 1215N

ASUS hit on a pretty good design when it debuted the Eee PC Seashell models two years ago. It hasn’t changed much since then, with the overall lines staying about the same. The biggest change in the intervening two years has been the material used—first the super-glossy plastic on the original models, the textured matte plastic on the 1001P, and now the soft-touch plastic on the 1015 series. The 1201N was one of the glossy models, but that’s thankfully been replaced by brushed aluminum. This gives it a pretty hefty, high quality feel. It’s a much more solid feeling system than most other 11-12” ultraportables (*cough* Acer *cough*). There’s little to no flex throughout the chassis, and I actually think it’s better built than some of ASUS’ larger models (the UL80Jt comes to mind).

I wish I could say the same for the keyboard—it’s not great. There’s a fair amount of flex, particularly in the middle. This was pretty disappointing to me, because the last few ASUS keyboards I had sampled, whether Eee PC or regular U-series notebook, had been quite good. Maybe I just got unlucky with my review unit, but the keyboard flex stood out because the rest of the notebook was so solid. As far as other input devices go, the touchpad is pretty much standard; it works without anything to complain about. It’s pretty large, taking up a good 30% of the palmrest area, and the single mouse button (with two sensors underneath, a la U33Jc) gives pretty good feedback, though it might be too “clicky” for some.

Port selection is basically netbook-standard, plus an HDMI port (thanks to ION). That’s three USB ports, VGA, Ethernet, line in/headphone out, and a card reader, if you haven’t looked at a netbook lately. That’s about all you can expect at this pricepoint. The webcam has the same gimmicky manual shutter over it that the U33Jc has. In my opinion, that’s just one more part to break, but if someone sees value in it, so be it.

(Re-) Introducing ASUS EeePC 1215N How Does the ASUS Eee PC 1215N Perform?
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  • StrangerGuy - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    Until I saw this review, I didn't knew the D525 doesn't even have speedstep...What was Intel thinking? Isn't the whole point of Atom is to SAVE as much power as possible even if this was meant for nettops?

    Back to the 1215n...ION 2 with Atom is just going to handle Flash and HD videos and... that's it, anybody who's buying a 1215n for gaming really, really needs a reality check. If current-gen Atoms actually came with an IGP that accelerates both I don't think anyone would even bother with ION...
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    Been like that since day one, but why is it an issue when you take around 10-15 watts anyhow?

    Heck, my 2.5ghz dual core pentium only takes 3 watts less at idle when clocked down. That's why I didn't care when I went from the 65nm 2.2ghz to the 45nm 2.5 since for whatever reason Linux couldn't scale the new version down.
    Reply
  • Geraldo8022 - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    I have an Asus with the ten inch screen and single core. I find I can tolerate most everything about it except the small screen size.. The concept of the tablets eludes me. I do like the battery life. I am wondering if Ontario, or even Atom for that matter, will be available in 15 inch laptop. Reply
  • ajp_anton - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    I'm still confused about your x264 battery life test. Do you mean x264, as in the program that *encodes* h264 videos, or just general h264 playback?
    You also mention x264 in the text, "[...] with slightly worse x264 battery life [...]". Is this when encoding (actually using x264), or h264 playback (which has nothing to do with x264)?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    This is playing back an x264 encoded 720p video file, which is a very common use for laptops on planes (i.e. watching movies). Encoding battery life would be far worse I think, since that would effectively max out the CPU. Reply
  • ajp_anton - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    But the test itself has nothing to do with x264. An x264 encoded file is like any other h264 file, nobody cares where it came from.
    A much more relevant thing would be what you're using to decode the file (and if DXVA was used), because that's what's using the battery.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    We've stated this in the past: we use Media Player Classic Home Cinema 64-bit, with DXVA enabled. It's a ~7Mbps file as well, if that's important (though in my testing to date I haven't seen much difference between this file and a higher 15Mbps bitrate 1080p file, provided you have DXVA decode available).

    Anyway, we're playing an x264 encoded file, so it has everything to do with x264. It is also representative of general H.264 playback, though some H.264 content isn't quite so friendly. As an example, some of the QuickTime H.264 stuff behaves quite a bit differently.

    A 9.4Mbps QuickTime H.264 file uses 21.5% average (12.1 to 34%) in QuickTime. Played back in MPC-HC with DXVA, the same file uses nearly 8.4% (5.1 to 18.0%) but looks like absolute crap. VLC uses 13.5% (7.0 to 25.4%) but at least looks as good as playing it with QuickTime. The main point being that the file type does matter, though you are correct that the playback software is equally important.
    Reply
  • ajp_anton - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    Yes I remember you mentioning MPC-HC before, I'm just pointing out that it's not in the actual test.

    And saying that x264 has "everything" or anything to do with the playback test is the same as saying it's important to know if the 600MB file you're testing HDD performance with is an .avi or a .mkv.
    If it weren't for the encoder info that x264 puts in the file header, there'd be no way of telling what it's been encoded with.

    Sure the file format may make a difference - different containers may need different amounts of CPU power (mov, mkv, m2ts...). However, this has nothing to do with the h264 stream inside, or x264. You can make a quicktime file out of an x264 encoded video, and you can make a mkv out of a quicktime video.
    Here I actually don't know what it is you're playing back in the test... avi? mkv? mp4?
    Reply
  • stancilmor - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    aside from a using a dell ultra-sharp quality LCD/LED panel why can't manufacturers just do away with the track-pad, push the keyboard forward,and include a wireless logitech mouse. Reply
  • justaviking - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    If you accept that a fundamental premise of a laptop/netbook is portability, the less you have to carry around, the better.

    I like the option of not having to pick up a mouse and juggle it along with my other stuff (coffee cup, a paper notepad (gasp!), donut, power cords, whatever) when I move from one room to another.

    I know some people like the little joystick nubbin thing, but I've always detested them. The first laptop I used, and old Compaq, predated the trackpads and the joystick thing was very difficult to use. It had two speeds; really slow, and zoom across the screen, not much in between.

    So while i do prefer a mouse, especially for longer use, and I love mice with the nano receiver that I can leave plugged in all the time, for me the lack of a touchpad for mousing would be a deal breaker.
    Reply

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