ASUS Eee PC 1201N: Dual-Core Atom + ION FTW?

by Jarred Walton on 12/24/2009 5:00 AM EST
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31 Comments

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  • YpoCaramel - Friday, January 22, 2010 - link

    130cd/m2 is too dim for portable use. These levels might be useful for getting accurate color in lighting controlled rooms, but most ultra-portables don't have that luxury. Even if they are kept indoors they will encounter a variety of lighting conditions, some of which will make the screen quite difficult to see at such low brightness. What's worse, the screen is reflective. Sufficient brightness can minimize reflections, but the 1210N just doesn't have the brightness. The competition can do better - even old the eeePC 1000H. Reply
  • darkryft - Monday, December 28, 2009 - link

    I personally feel the 1201N is a great evolution for the netbook, but probably represents the limit. To go any further in size any number of other features would drive the cost to where it is no longer a netbook, it's a laptop.

    There are some drawbacks, yes, and there are laptops that can be had for nearly the same money the perform better, but this is a fantastic feature set in the ultra-portable class. I'm personally phasing myself out of PC gaming and desktop computing as a whole, and I will probably invest in a full-on laptop at some point, but for documents, music, and netsurfing this will easily handle the tasks.

    If only it were cost-feasible to drop a Patriot Torqx in this thing.
    Reply
  • SmCaudata - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    The ASUS 14" laptop seems like the best portable out there right now. The battery life is good enough were you really don't need to bring your charger everywhere and it's price is not much more than this dual core netbook for much better performace. There are a few select situations where one may absolutely need 11" or smaller, but for 99% of the users out there I cannot imagine that the 14" thin and light ASUS is too big. If I were in the market for a laptop it is certainly the one that I would buy. Reply
  • Rsaeire - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    "...video decoding and in particular gaming are too much for the 4500MHD."

    The Intel GMA 4500MHD supports full hardware acceleration of HD video codecs, MPEG-2, VC-1 and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    Yes, but Flash 10.1 still struggles on HD movies. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, December 28, 2009 - link

    Yes, but Flash 10.1 is currently at beta 2, a full-featured release isn't available yet. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, December 28, 2009 - link

    Exactly, and do you buy something with GMA 4500MHD with the hope that everything gets worked out in the next couple of months as far as Flash goes, or do you wait and see first, or do you go with ION? I'm inclined to take one of the latter two approaches, as buying something with the assumption that it will work later (see GMA 500 -- no recent XP driver updates, and as far as I can tell the Acer 751h still has major issues with stability) isn't a great plan. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, December 28, 2009 - link

    Alternately, I might just wait for something like this.

    http://www.windowsfordevices.com/c/a/News/Broadcom...">http://www.windowsfordevices.com/c/a/News/Broadcom...

    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, December 28, 2009 - link

    Actually, having seen Adobe in action, I'd probably wait. Haven't seen too many things they can't break to some degree, even sometimes after they have fixed them.

    Ion is cool, don't get me wrong. However, Intel's 4500 onboard video has been the first video product I've seen from them that seems to work well for almost everything except gaming. I rarely switch on my Radeon 3470 mobile graphics (I have a ThinkPad with switchable graphics) for this reason. If I was in the market, I'd rather get an SU2300 laptop than an N330 once I've seen what Flash 10.1 release looks like --and your review actually convinced me of that, as I'd have been on the fence before.
    Reply
  • Spivonious - Monday, December 28, 2009 - link

    But that's not due to the 4500MHD, it's due to Flash not taking advantage of it. Reply
  • bsoft16384 - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    Maybe someone can answer this for me - does the Eee PC 1201N support x86-64? The desktop Atom CPUs (Atom 330) do, but the mobile Atom CPUs have it disabled. Since this laptop apparently has a desktop Atom CPU, presumably it supports 64-bit as well? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    Yes, it supports 64-bit, but the default OS is 32-bit. Since it apparently only supports up to 3GB RAM, however, it's probably not important to install a 64-bit OS. There are a few apps where 64-bit code can boost performance by ~5%, but the higher memory requirements would likely decrease performance in other apps. Reply
  • vavutsikarios - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    I would like to see how the 1291N compares to Acer Ferrari one.

    They are same size (the acer has the same 1366x768 on a 11.6 screen), exact same price, have comparable CPUs and graphics capabilities, same HDD and memory size, same OS.

    They are, obviously, direct competitors.
    Reply
  • vavutsikarios - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Correction: the Acer comes with the Win 7 Home Premium 64bit version, so it's not the exact same OS.

    Despite that, I still can't think of any other machine that feels so much similar, hardware-wise, with the 1291N.
    I mean, the absence of intel graphics is by itself enough to differentiate those machines from the majority of netbooks out there. And then you add Win7, and they become even more different, and even more similar -with each other.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I've already sent in a request; we'll see if Acer fulfills it. Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    What is preventing someone from putting out a CULV + an nvidia 9300 chipset??? Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, December 25, 2009 - link

    I'm sure something like that may exist, but you couldn't really call it a netbook anymore, but an Ultra-portable. Once you go there, you typically end up paying 4-5 times more than you would for a netbook. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 25, 2009 - link

    The 9300 and 9400 are essentially the same, but regardless no one has created a CULV with NVIDIA IGP so far. There are discrete GPUs with some CULV laptops, but that's as close as we get. Anyway, 9300M is just 9400M with lower clocks. Reply
  • evident - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    This thing is almost pushing $500. If you look around you can find a nice intel pentium dual core 14" laptop for the same price. granted, the netbook is alot smaller and that itself is worth something, but i still feel that the compromise is still too great. IMO, the sweet spot for an ion netbook would be $200. Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    Just buy a Intel CULV (Core2 based) if you like a small notebook. Atom is great, (think embedded space), but with ION, large screen etc I don't really get it. But at least netbooks (with Ion or Broadcom Crystal HD) will be more useful when Flash 10.1 hits none beta release. GMA 4500MHD is still a pretty good fit for accelerated flash (video) though, and the faster cpu helps with a lot of things. I think it would be more interesting to shrink the atom devices to the MID size. Finishing up Moblin would also be nice. Maemo has showed you can create a pretty good consumer Linux MID already. But they become pretty pointless as stand alone internet devices though. Reply
  • chrnochime - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    Some of us don't want to lug around a 14" and its requisite 9 cell battery plus the charger and the bag.

    I'd still take the SU2300 version over this, that's cheaper and faster.
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Wednesday, January 06, 2010 - link

    But some of us DO want to lug around a netbook with at least a 9 cell battery.

    I chuckle every time someone thinks "I'll only use it X amount of time", as if it's really acceptable to them to have to make a beeline to a power socket to recharge it every chance they get. THAT is far far far far more of a burden than the extra few ounces and cubic centimeters 3 x more 18650(?) cells take up.

    It's just plain madness. Even if you don't need that runtime when it's new, it'll retain the runtime you do need a couple years later rather than requiring another battery. IMO, a battery pack should last the viable lifespan of the system even if they have to move to LiPOFE4 and make it twice the size it already is! No more packs bursting into flames would be an added bonus.

    /rant
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, December 25, 2009 - link

    "Lug around a 14" laptop" ? "requisite 9 cell battery" ? Netbooks do not have chargers, or bags ?

    All I can say is wow. Anything more, and I will become the troll. . . . Or maybe I already am ? Because some people can not handle criticism ?
    Reply
  • san1s - Saturday, December 26, 2009 - link

    I'm guessing he/she means that the netbook's battery life is long enough to not require a charger and/or additional batteries, and that it is so small that you do not need a separate bag. Reply
  • sublifer - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    I'd like to see the Gateway EC1435u compared or an equivalent. These cheap dual-core celeron proc's probably would smear the atoms across the floor. Same price, same size, better performance. :) Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    I am SUPER disappointed by the crappy LCD in this netbook. That was one of the things I was most hoping they would improve alongside the better CPU and GPU. :(

    Thanks for the review!!
    Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    Asus is an ODM and one of the largest lap top designers out there. I don't get why they add stupid features like a rocker mouse button to their own branded laptops, and netbooks. Also, why are they sticking to the glossy plastic. Gloss only looks good in a display window. Most people prefer the flat black that some Dells come with.

    I certainly hope they don't design it to be inferior to justify the low price of selling, and design their higher end laptops with the features people like/want.
    Reply
  • withog - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    Curious how the amd congo powered (dual core mv40+radeon hd3200) will fare up to its dual core atom+ion sibling.
    Should be cheaper (no hdmi, 7 starter ed.), lesser battery life (processor tdp of 18w), more appealing looks (silver version should cut the gloss at least) and i guess the overall performance should be more balanced as processor seems to be more closer to culv levels than d330.
    Reply
  • IdBuRnS - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    "I can comfortably type on such a laptop, though I still prefer full-size ergonomic ("natural") keyboards"

    So you've come across many portables with full-size ergonomic keyboards? Doubtful, so why even mention it in a portable review?
    Reply
  • brybir - Thursday, December 24, 2009 - link

    He is letting you know what he prefers so that when he says "I dont like X, it is because I prefer Y" you have some basis of comparison. Would his review be better if it just said "I don't like the keyboard because its small"? That is nothing but a subjective statement, and when he makes those subjective statements, he qualifies them as a good reviewer does, rather than pass something that is only opinion off as fact.

    This would be different if he were talking about build quality of the keyboard, key response or anything else that is objective, but I for one like when authors qualify subjective comments like the one you quoted above so I know why they think what they do.
    Reply
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