Test Setup

Below are the specifications for the ASUS 1201N we're testing. We'll include performance results from other similarly priced laptops, with a bit of leeway on total cost. The 1201N currently sells for just under $500, putting it in direct competition with entry-level laptops and CULV offerings. We'll include ASUS' own UL80Vt as the high-water mark of what you can get for $800, and we'll toss in results from a Gateway EC5409u CULV notebook that we're currently reviewing.

The EC5409u costs $630 and offers very similar performance and features to what you'll find in most CULV designs: a dual-core 1.3GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, 1366x768 LCD, and Intel's GMA 4500MHD. (Models with 2GB can be found for closer to the $500 mark.) Battery life is competitive with most Atom-based netbooks, so while ION may be the clear winner in performance over a stock Atom, it has a tougher battle going up against CULV.

ASUS Eee PC 1201N Test System
Processor Intel Atom 330
(2x1.6GHz + SMT, 45nm, 2x512KB L2, 533FSB, 8W)
Memory 1x2GB DDR2-667 (Max 1x2GB)
Graphics NVIDIA ION (16 SPs)
Display 12.1" LED Glossy 16:9 768p (1366x768)
Hard Drive(s) 250GB 5400RPM HDD
Optical Drive N/A
Battery 6-Cell, 11.25V, 5600mAh, 63Wh
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Pricing Available Online starting at $471

Gateway EC5409u Test System
Processor Intel Pentium SU4100
(2x1.3GHz, 45nm, 2MB L2, 800FSB, 10W)
Memory 2x2GB DDR3-1066 (Max 2x4GB)
Graphics Intel GMA 4500MHD IGP
Display 15.6" LED Glossy 16:9 768p (1366x768)
Hard Drive(s) 320GB 5400RPM HDD
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti
Battery 6-Cell, 11.1V, 5600mAh, 62Wh
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Pricing Available Online starting at $620

We'll include the usual assortment of application benchmarks along with a few gaming tests using minimum detail settings. Battery life is also going to be important, so we've run our usual assortment of battery drain tests.

ASUS 1201N: Eee 1005 Grows Up General Performance: Dual-Core Beats Single-Core
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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

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