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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

User Interface, Display and Audio Quality

User Interface

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Although a 12.1” display isn’t particularly large, it forces the use of a much larger chassis than your typical netbook with a 10.1” display. In my experience, a well-designed 12.1” netbook or ultraportable is as pleasant to use as any laptop, and the ASUS Eee PC 1215N is a prime example.  ASUS makes use of every inch of the available interior space, and the results of their efforts are clear; the 1215N’s keyboard is as wide as the keyboard on my MacBook.

It’s not a flawless execution, however. The main problem is key size, which is smaller than I would like. Although this makes it easier to navigate the keyboard thanks to the improved tactile feel between keys, the keys could probably be wider without losing quality in that respect. The other problem with the keyboard is flex; it’s not as bad as the ASUS N53 we recently reviewed, but it is noticeable if you type with a bit too much vigor. These flaws are minor, however. Overall, this keyboard is enjoyable even when used for hours at a time.

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The 1215N’s touchpad is as large as what you’ll find on many 15.6” laptops. ASUS has gone with a minimalist approach by integrating the touchpad with the material of the surrounding palmrest, but they’ve also made sure that there is a definite tactile border on each side. Better yet, the touchpad actually responds quite well to multi-touch gestures. I found it easy to scroll through web pages and zoom in to documents. Most netbooks fail terribly in this area, but the Eee PC 1215N beats not only most other netbooks, but also a significant number of much larger laptops.

My only problem with the touchpad is the buttons. As anyone who has read our reviews knows, I’ve been a bit of a broken record about the rocker-style buttons ASUS has been using on most laptops. Although they certainly look good, they suffer from poor tactical feedback and a somewhat cheap feel. I somewhat doubt ASUS will turn away from this design soon, but a guy can hope, right?

Display and Audio Quality

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The display on the ASUS Eee PC 1215N isn’t bad for a netbook, although it’s generally average overall. The black level and contrast performance appears to be about the same as most laptops, though the white saturation is actually a bit better than what I’ve seen in several recently reviewed units. 

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Gloss is a problem, however, when combined with your typical TN-panel viewing angle issues.  Simply tilting the display a few degrees can drastically change the appearance of an image, and you’ll usually have to take a moment to find the display’s “sweet spot” when you first sit down. The backlight could be brighter, as well. Using the 1215N in a sun-lit room can be a pain; using it in sunlight is nearly impossible.  

Audio performance is the big surprise of the Eee PC 1215N because, unlike most small laptops, it is extremely good. In fact, the ASUS Eee PC 1215N has one of the best audio systems I’ve ever encountered on a netbook. While there are certainly limits to what this netbook can offer, it is generally capable of reproducing music with minimal distortion at a reasonable volume. That’s more than can be said for most netbooks sold today, and the audio quality could be a major selling point for some buyers. I know that during my days as a student I would have appreciated owning a netbook capable of playing music without turning the bass into a mess of static and noise.

April 25, 2011 | 10:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

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

April 27, 2011 | 12:30 AM - 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 | 01:03 PM - 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 | 02:33 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

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

March 30, 2012 | 10:52 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 | 07:38 PM - Posted by Shirely Nahas (not verified)

I like this web blog very much, Its a very nice post to read and incur information.

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