Home' LAPTOP Magazine : November 2010 Contents NETBOOKS
With each generation, 12-inch Ion
netbooks are edging closer to their
Pinocchio-like aspirations of becoming
real notebooks. The ASUS Eee PC 1215N comes
the closest yet. That's because it's packed with a
dual-core Atom processor and Nvidia's Optimus
graphics-switching technology to save battery life.
Not only that, the 1215N features an improved
design that makes it more comfortable to use for
extended periods of time. Power and portability in
an inexpensive package? Your wish is granted.
At 3.4 pounds, the 1215N is slightly heavier
than previous iterations but remains very easy to
carry. The matte finish doesn't pick up fingerprints
as easily as its predecessor. The keyboard is un-
changed from the 1201PN; it's
quite comfortable to use and
offers pretty good feedback.
However, the right Shift key
is slightly undersized, and
there's noticeable flex.
The biggest aesthetic
change is that the touchpad
is no longer dimpled. We es-
pecially like that the touchpad
is a good deal larger than
before---3.3 x 1.9 inches
versus 2.5 x 1.3 inches on the
1201PN. This made multitouch
gestures, such as pinch to
zoom, much easier to execute.
The touch button, too, is much
larger, now measuring 3.4 inches wide, up from 2.5
inches. However, this laptop has a single button
and is slightly stiff. The 1215N remained very cool
during our testing, although the underside next to
the vent reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
While bright and crisp, the 1366 x 768-pixel
display could have better horizontal viewing
angles. The 720p videos streamed from YouTube
were detailed and smooth. The dual speakers
beneath the front lip delivered plenty of volume.
The improved 0.3-megapixel webcam didn't
pixelate our images, which were
nice and bright.
On PCMark Vantage, the 1215N scored about
600 points higher than the previous generation,
and 700 points above the netbook
average. It even compares
Athlon II Neo
K125 processor man-
aged a score of 1,938.
The 1215N's Geekbench score is also the
highest we've seen in a netbook. It took 3 minutes
and 17 seconds for the 1215N to convert a 117MB
MPEG-4 file to AVI using Oxelon Media Encoder,
about twice as fast as regular
netbooks. Duplicating a 4.97GB
folder of multimedia files took
3 minutes and 8 seconds,
which translates to a rate of
27.1 MBps, also considerably
faster than most netbooks.
Like the 1201PN, the 1215N
comes with Nvidia's Ion 2 graph-
ics. This machine, however, has
the added benefit of Optimus
technology, which switches
automatically between the
more powerful Ion chip and
the power-saving Intel GMA
3150 GPU as need demands.
On 3DMark06, the 1215N blew
away previous Ion netbooks. It even bettered the
thin-and-light notebook average by 100 points.
We also saw a marked improvement in our vReveal
Transcoding Test, which uses GPU acceleration. The
1215N took 3 minutes and 17 seconds to convert
an MPEG-4 file to AVI; that's 2 minutes faster than
the 1201PN (5:12).
Consumers looking to do a little gaming will
not be disappointed with the 1215N; when playing
World of Warcraft we saw frame rates well above
30 fps on autodetect mode.
While Nvidia's Optimus technology hasn't
completely closed the gap between Ion netbooks
and those with integrated graphics, it's definitely
helping them make up ground. On the LAPTOP Bat-
tery Test, the 1215N lasted 5 hours and
40 minutes. While
that runtime is 50
minutes short of
the netbook aver-
age, it's almost an
hour longer than
the 1201PN (4:33).
ASUS bundles a number of utilities, including
CyberLink YouCam (for taking pictures with the
webcam) and Boingo Wi-Fi finder. The ASUS
@Vibe portal streams music and radio stations,
and offers up casual games and language classes.
The Dr. Eee voice command software was hit or
miss, and had a few quirks.
While AMD-powered 11.6-inch ultraportables
offer comparable processing power, they don't
last as long on a charge as this machine and
don't provide as much graphics muscle. That's
the difference Nvidia's Optimus technology
makes. Call it a supercharged netbook or a
notebook. The bottom line is that for those on
a budget, the Eee PC 1215N can't be beat.
---Michael A. Prospero
ASUS Eee PC 1215N
The addition of Nvidia's Optimus graphics technology makes
this the best 12-inch notebook you can get under $500.
BENCHMARKS Score Category
PCMark Vantage 1,921
LAPTOP Battery Test
LAPTOP Transfer Test
Boot Time (min:sec)* 1:26
(autodetect/max) 37/9 fps 28/10 fps
Test (min:sec)* 3:17
Efficiency Rating* 19
* Lower is better
LAPTOP | November 2010
CPU: 1.8-GHz Intel Atom D525 Operating
System: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
RAM/Upgradable to: 2GB/4GB Hard Drive
Size/Speed: 250GB/5,400 rpm Display
Size/Resolution: 12.1 inches/1366 x 768
Graphics/Video Memory: Nvidia Ion 2, Intel
GMA 3150/Shared Wireless: 802.11b/g/n
Ports: Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet,
headphone, mic, Kensington Lock Card Slots:
3-in-1 memory card reader Size: 11.6 x 8 x 0.9
to 1.4 inches Weight: 3.4 pounds Warranty/
Support: One-year parts and labor, one-way
free shipping/24/7 tech support
Good battery life
Larger touchpad than predecessor
Sluggish boot time
Deck and lid still pick up fingerprints
webcam has a little
sliding cover for
times when you'd
prefer others not
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