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Asus EeePC 1201N Netbook
It’s raining netbooks all this week on tech2, and to kickstart the reviews, we have a brand new model by Asus, and let me add straightaway that this one is not just another ‘me too’ in the market. It’s got a larger (slightly) screen and graphics powered by Nvidia Ion, so let's get straight to the dissection routine.
Design and Ergonomics
Black gloss, with a little bit of blue pixie dust when viewed in angle, is the finish we are talking about here, but yes finger prints can be the dealbreaker. This finish extends inside on to the wristrest and touch pad also, the latter being demarcated by a matrix of bumps, or dots, to allow for friction while using. The touch pad buttons are a single metallic slab, and there is no scroll zone.
The keyboard is edge to edge, but it’s a chiclet style one, with lighter keys and a gap in between each. The arrangement is also slightly different here, with an extra column of keys on the right extreme, after the enter key, comprising the “pg up”, “pg dn”, “end” etc. keys, vertically placed. This is good as one doesn’t have to use the “Fn” key then for its access, but the enter key is not in its usual place so users might hit the wrong one. The tactile response is lighter than normal, but it’s still firm, and turns out better for people with slimmer fingers.
The unit has speakers, besides the usual stereo audio connections, thus this makes another difference from a normal netbook, latter seldom come with speakers, albeit notebook speakers sound tinny anyways. We got a model with only 1 GB RAM and an Atom N270 CPU, so that's a bummer considering every review out there, and the official specs say 2 GB and an Atom N330. It's strange, and we will surely speak to Asus about this and update this space. This review's benchmarks should be considered with an N270.
Operating System Win XP SP3
Display 12.1" LED Backlight WSVGA Screen (1366 x 768)
CPU 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270
Graphics Nvidia Ion
Memory 1 GB, DDR2 RAM
Storage 250GB 5,400rpm
Camera 1.3M Pixels
Input / Output 1 x VGA Connector
3 x USB 2.0
1 x Ethernet 10/100
2 x Audio Jack (Headphone / Mic-in)
1 HDMI out
Card Reader: SD/MMC/MS/MS-Pro
Battery 6-Cell 63Wh Li-ion Battery
Dimensions 11.7” x 8.2” x 1.3”
Weight 1.406 Kg
Since this netbook has some extra graphics capabilities, we checked that, connecting the HDMI out to a 46-incher and loading up the netbook with HD trailers and demo clips. The video playback was actually a sigh of relief, with no stutter and hiccupping on any 720p video of any container like MP4, MOV or MKV, thanks to a software called TotalMedia Theater 3 which is included with the Nvidia Ion. 1080p video also played back almost perfectly, but not seamless like 720p. There was an occasional coughing or getting stuck, but this happened rarely, and overall we like the graphics playback capabilities. Now the thing with games is that we get a low fps like 23 fps, but we could play many slightly older titles like Left For Dead and even WoW, on a res like 1024 x 768. Native res of the screen is a little too much for the GPU - we encountered framing there.
Analysis and verdict
At a price of Rs. 21,490, this product commands a premium in price compared to regular netbooks, but it adds a whole new dimension in watching movies, something that a netbook user would love to do on the move, as, let’s face it, all work and no play makes.. you get the drill. Also battery is not the strongest - and CPU performance is just average, so we cannot give it flying colors, but the larger screen and decent ergonomics are tugging at our judgment from the positive end. In the end this model gets more positive than negative, and is a recommend.