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ASUS Eee PC 1215N Review: Atom and Ion, Back Together Again

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS
Tagged: netbook, ion, eee pc, atom, asus

Heat and Connectivity, Battery Life and Portability

 Heat and Connectivity

Heat and fan noise are always a compromise, and in this case ASUS seems to have taken the middle road. The Eee PC 1215N’s idle temperature was usually just above 40 degrees Celsius for the CPU and just above 50 degrees Celsius for the GPU. Once put under load, the processor went as high as the mid-50s, while the GPU nudged up to 61 degrees Celsius. 

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Although these readings are a bit higher than what I’ve received from some laptops, they’re certainly nothing to be worried about, and they could probably be lowered if the system fan bothered to move faster than a jog. The fan can be noticed easily in a perfectly quite room, but will generally be lost beneath in the ambient noise of a room with other electronics in it. In spite of the leisurely system fan, the temperature of the palmrest never became uncomfortable. The underside of the netbook also remained cool in normal use, but did warm significantly during HD video playback and gaming.

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On the left side of the Eee PC 1215N, alongside the fan, you’ll find VGA and HDMI ports as well as 1 USB 2.0 port and a card reader. The right side reveals two more USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet jack and separate microphone and headphone jacks. This is the stock-and-standard setup for a modern netbook, with the exception of the HDMI port, which is generally only found on models with discrete graphics. 

Battery Life and Portability

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The idea of placing a decent discrete graphics chip on a netbook is nothing new, and despite its advantages, there’s a reason it never really caught on – battery life. Some of the early Ion netbooks could only manage about 4 hours on a charge, even in relatively light use.

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The Eee PC 1215N has Optimus switchable graphics technology, however, and that changes the game. In my testing the 1215N managed almost five hours of battery life at a go. That’s actually a little less than I was hoping for, but it the dual-core processor in this netbook is also a factor. Considering the hardware, and the modest 5200mAh battery, this is not a bad score, although the data from the Sony Vaio Y (which lasted four hours and thirty-minutes on a 3500mAh battery) suggests AMD’s E-350 APU sips battery less quickly. 

Packing up the Eee PC 1215N is a breeze. The 3.2 pound heft of this netbook is about average and the rounded clamshell design makes it easy to slip this netbook into an out of bags. The benefits of the large touchpad should not be forgotten, either; it’s great to use, so you won’t feel pushed into packing a travel mouse. 

 

April 25, 2011 | 07:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Really stayin' a head of the curve on this one. Good job beatin' the competition to it.

April 26, 2011 | 09:30 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

Hah, you card!

Yes, this model has been on the market for awhile. It's still relevant, however, and I think it is interesting to look at in light of our recent AMD Fusion coverage.

April 26, 2011 | 10:03 AM - Posted by klatch

I'm happy to see the E-350 doing well out there. I built a windows home server off of one of the ASUS boards and am very happy with it. I know they aren't meant for things like video encoding but I have been queueing up videos in handbrake for it to encode so I can turn my main computer off. The really sad part (for me) is that the E-350 is actually faster at video encoding than my main computer (an Athlon 64 3000+). I've done some comparisons and the E-350 is about 30% faster than my current main computer - how far we have come. As soon as Z68 drops though I will be upgrading. Can't wait.

April 26, 2011 | 11:33 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

That is pretty good praise for the E-350 indeed!

March 30, 2012 | 07:52 PM - Posted by MJohnson

Bought this netbook for my wife. It's a pretty good netbook. It runs all of her apps easily, including some internet java and flash games. Some games are too intensive for it, but that's somewhat expected on a netbook. One of the biggest advantages is the HDMI port. HDMI is very hard to find on a netbook right now, and this is one of the few that have it. We hook it up to our TV and play movies a lot, and it plays them just fine. I love the size and portability. The battery life isn't as great as advertised, but it's still tons more than I'm used to on my regular laptop. It usually lasts about 5-6 hours.

The big downside to this netbook is the trackpad. It's HORRIBLE! It works sometimes, other times it registers that im trying to zoom in or out of a screen and brings up a arrow diamond thing that is really unhelpful. Tried playing with the control panel functions, but it only helped slightly. It still bugs out real bad at times. Expect to buy a seperate mouse for this thing. I bought a small wireless mouse and it works well.

Pros:
Small size
Battery life
Powerful enough to do most tasks
HDMI port!!
Cost

Cons:
Trackpad is horrible; plan on buying a new mouse

December 18, 2012 | 04:38 PM - Posted by Shirely Nahas (not verified)

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