Home' LAPTOP Magazine : September 2010 Contents NETBOOKS
It's been more than six months since ASUS shook
up the netbook market with its Eee PC 1201N, a
sleek 12.1-inch machine that paired a dual-core
desktop Atom processor with Nvidia's Ion graphics.
The result was the most potent mini-notebook yet,
capable of playing HD content and mainstream
games, as well as editing video. There was just
one problem: short battery life.
ASUS answered the call for more endurance
with its 1201PN ($499), which
sports a power-sipping, single-
core N450 CPU. However, this
netbook's overall performance
falls short of its predecessor
and the latest crop of low-cost
The 1201PN looks identical
to the 1201N. We still like the
glossy black exterior, but it
picks up fingerprint smudges.
The keyboard looks and feels
slightly cramped at first, but it
grows on you. ASUS' island-
style layout continues to offer
strong, springy feedback, but
we'd like to see a larger right
Shift key. We also wish the company would invert
the function keys and make them direct action
keys (for adjusting the brightness, volume, etc.).
The dimpled black touchpad remains as accu-
rate and responsive as ever. Multitouch gestures
worked well. However, the stiff mouse button is
With a mobile CPU under the hood, one might
think the 1201PN would run cooler than its prede-
cessor. Yet temperatures after playing a Hulu
video for 15 minutes were actually a bit
higher---though not uncomfortably
warm---topping out at 90
ASUS bundles a number of utilities, accessible
from the Eee PC dock, including ArcSoft TotalMedia
Theater 3, CyberLink YouCam, and hit-or-miss Voice
Command software. Plus, ASUS throws in 500GB
worth of online storage, good for one year.
ASUS and Nvidia deserve credit for improving on
the best 12-inch multimedia netbook. For $499, the
Eee PC 1201PN offers longer battery life and better
graphics performance than its predecessor. If you're
on a budget, it's a good bet. But we'd rather wait for
the obile dual-core version of this machine paired with
Nvidia's Optimus technology (which automatically
switches between integrated and discrete graphics).
It will be available soon.
The 1366 x 768-pixel display is bright and crisp,
though you have to tilt the lid back a bit to get the
best picture. Audio was sufficiently loud, thanks
to the dual speakers beneath the front lip, though
we noticed sound was muffled from our lap. We're
not fans of the 0.3-megapixel webcam. A Skype
caller said we looked "extremely pixelated," but
audio was clear.
In PCMark Vantage, the 1201PN notched a score
higher than the netbook aver-
age, but lower than the older
model. The GeekBench score
also saw a drop-off.
The 5,400-rpm, 250GB
hard drive delivered a transfer
rate 5.8 MBps faster than the
1201N's on the LAPTOP Transfer
Test. Too bad the boot time
increased by 14 seconds,
which is 6 seconds slower
than most netbooks.
Although the Ion graphics
inside has 16 cores, Nvidia
says its new architecture
allows each core to do
more work in less time. The
company also claims to have optimized its dis-
crete GPU to minimize latency, and the netbook
mostly lived up to the hype. Transcoding video in
vReveal, which uses hardware acceleration, was
more than 2 minutes faster than its predecessor.
We also saw a considerable boost in 3DMark06.
The netbook performed impressively in World of
Warcraft at native resolution (1366 x 768) with
the settings on low, and while exporting video
to a 32-inch TV.
The 1201PN's single-core Atom processor buys
you 40 minutes of battery life (4:33), which is cer-
tainly an improvement, but this system's runtime
trails the average six-cell netbook.
ASUS Eee PC 1201PN
Improved Ion graphics and longer battery life make this multimedia netbook a tempting choice.
BENCHMARKS Score Category
PCMark Vantage 1,329
LAPTOP Battery Test
LAPTOP Transfer Test
Boot Time (min:sec)* 1:07
(autodetect/max) 28/12 fps 27/9 fps
Test (min:sec)* 6:25
Efficiency Rating* 18.1
* Lower is better
CPU: 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N450 Operating
System: Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit)
RAM/Upgradeable to: 2GB/2GB Hard Drive
Size/Speed: 250GB/5,400 rpm Display Size/
Resolution: 12.1 inches/1366 x 768 Optical
Drive: No n e Graphics/Video Memory: Nvidia
Ion/512MB Wireless: 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth
2.1 + EDR Ports: Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA,
Ethernet, headphone, mic Card Slots: 2-in-1
memory card reader Size: 11.7 x 8.2 x 1.3
inches Weight: 3.2 pounds Warranty: One-year
limited/24/7 toll-free phone
Faster graphics than predecessor
Improved battery life
500GB of online storage included
Relatively slow single-core processor
Stiff mouse button
LAPTOP | September 2010
The dimpled touchpad supports multitouch
gestures, and is easy to find by feel.
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