ASUS EeePC 1215N: Bringing NG-ION to the 1201by Vivek Gowri on November 25, 2010 12:00 AM EST
(Re-) Introducing ASUS EeePC 1215N
It’s been a while since I last reviewed a netbook. Even though the netbook market is pretty huge right now, there’s a couple of pretty good reasons for this. First, the iPad factor—tablets have the buzz, and devices like the Galaxy Tab, RIM PlayBook, and anything and everything else with a touchscreen are far more interesting than the bog standard netbook. Two, they all have basically the same hardware in slightly different cases. If you’re ASUS, that means you’ve got roughly 20 different models with the same basic internals and otherwise minor changes to differentiate them all.
But this one, the 1215N, is actually different. You’ve got a dual-core Atom (a desktop Atom D525, not the new N550), a 12” screen, and NVIDIA’s Next Generation ION (NG-ION) platform, all in a tasty aluminum wrapper. Like the 1201N it’s replacing, it’s a unique riff on the netbook theme. Thankfully, most of the inane netbook limitations are gone, so the 1215 has a solid 2GB memory and Windows 7 Home Premium (as opposed to the awfulness that calls itself Win 7 Starter). All the other standard stuff is here too—Bluetooth, WiFi, etc. It’s a full featured netbook, except on steroids.
|ASUS EeePC 1215N Specifications|
Intel Atom D525
(1.80GHz, 45nm, 1MB L2 cache, 13W)
NVIDIA Next-Generation ION
(16SPs, 475/790/1092 Core/Shader/RAM clocks)
Intel HD Graphics (Optimus Switchable)
|Display||12.1" LED Glossy 16:9 768p (1366x768)|
|Hard Drive(s)||250GB 5400RPM HDD (Seagate ST9250325AS)|
Atheros AR8152 Fast Ethernet
Atheros AR9285 BGN
|Audio||HD Audio (2 stereo speakers with two audio jacks)|
|Battery||6-Cell, 10.95V, 5200mAh, 56Wh battery|
Flash reader (MMC/MS/MS Pro/SD/xD)
1 x USB
AC Power connection
2 x USB 2.0
|Operating System||Windows 7 Home Premium|
|Dimensions||11.65" x 8.0" x 0.91-1.46" (WxDxH)|
|Weight||3.21 lbs (with 6-cell battery)|
Flash reader (MMC/MS/MSPro/SD/xD)
ExpressGate OS (8-second boot)
1-year global warranty
6-month battery pack warranty
30-day zero bright dot LCD
|Pricing||ASUS EeePC 1215N Silver starting at $484|
Compared to the outgoing 1201N, not much has changed here. It's the same basic hardware configuration in a similar chassis; the biggest difference is the bump from the first gen ION platform to Pine Trail and NG-ION, with a slightly higher CPU clock. It’s still pretty great as far as netbook specs go, but it costs significantly more than most netbooks. Our favorite 1001P goes for $299, while the 1215N goes for $499. Can the performance upgrades justify the large amount of additional cost, and how does it hold up versus similarly priced notebooks running AMD’s Nile platform? There are some other interesting questions; NG-ION is not significantly faster than the first-gen ION platform, so will the 1215N be better than the 1201N? And then you’ve got the N550 in play now as well; now that there are plenty of dual-core 10” netbooks out there, is the 1215N as different as it seems at first look? Let’s find out.
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MeSh1 - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link" Intel has essentially left the Atom core the same since the launch in mid-2008" This is what happens when there is no competition.
Alexstarfire - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - linkTrue, there aren't other netbooks without atom, but there are other CPUs to compete. Unfortunately they all suck. All of the "competitors" use more power, save for ARM processors. Not sure if they'll ever use ARM processors in netbooks though. Tablets and smartphones seem to promising for them.
VivekGowri - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - linkNo x86 license means no ARM netbooks. Qualcomm was trying to get the whole "smartbook" deal off the ground, basically just thinner netbooks running Snapdragon and either Linux, Chrome OS, or Android. They all sucked big time, then the entire segment got basically axed for tablets. Toshiba released this Tegra 2/Android smartbook, but it hit the market and basically disappeared, so that says enough about the segment.
We'll see, I'm interested to see if AMD's impending release of Ontario can change anything, but the Ontario cores are clocked at a pitiful 1.0GHz (for the dual core, 1.2GHz for the single) so it might not beat Atom by too much. For single core apps, I'm thinking maybe a 20% boost in performance - whether this will be faster than Atom by enough to be usable is the question. But seriously, I would like for something (anything) to kick the Atom team into action. They basically created the netbook market with the release of Atom, but after that they've done nothing other than moving the graphics onto the CPU package. Every time I get a netbook, it's like "oh boy, Atom....again....greaaaaat" I want some interesting netbooks lol.
Eug - Friday, November 26, 2010 - linkNon-Atom netbooks already exist in 2010. The Acer listed in the review is arguably in this netbook/hybrid class, at 11.6" inches with a street price LESS than the Asus Atom/ION machine, but sporting a CPU that runs circles around Atom and which also has an integrated GPU (Intel 4500MHD) with full 1080p H.264 decode capability like NVIDIA ION provides.
Hopefully 2011 will see more of these decently powered netbooks, whether it'd be with CULV Core 2 Duo class chips, or from Zacate, beginning in the sub US$400 price segment.
Actually, just as important as the CPU is the keyboard. Using 10" keyboards is utterly painful. Just one and a half inches more and you get a full-sized keyboard. It makes all the difference in the world, not for productivity apps, but for basic netbook-style internet consumption as well. It's much more pleasant typing an AnandTech comment on a full-sized keyboard. For this reason, any 10" model IMO isn't even in the running compared to the Asus 1215N, regardless of performance.
Terodius - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - linkyou do realize Sony has a 13.3 inch vaio with core i7, nvidia discrete graphics and a full HD screen? I mean seriously... netbook on steroids? I consider 12 inches more of a ultraportable. with another extra inch you get the experience of a desktop replacement.
monomer - Friday, November 26, 2010 - linkDid you seriously just compare a $500 netbook to an $1800 laptop?
jigglywiggly - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - linkTHIS LAPTOP BE DISSAPOINT
ATOM SUX GTFO
damianrobertjones - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - linkWhat?
erwos - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - linkI ordered a 1215N, but promptly returned it unopened after finding out online about the number of people who are breaking the flimsy power pin in the course of normal use. This is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed in the review.
Scott_G - Friday, November 26, 2010 - linkWhy wouldn't you just give it a try on your own, you can't always believe what people say on the Internet about defects. If you did believe everything then you wouldn't own anything tech related.