Asus Eee PC 1215N-PU17
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An interest netbook launched by Asus back in 2010 for its Eee PC lineup is this 1215N-PU17 which was one of the first netbooks that came with a dual core processor in the form of an Intel Atom D525. This improved CPU was one of the reasons why this system was a bit more expensive than its competitors, but it did come with other nice features, like the Nvidia Ion graphics with support for the Nvidia Optimus graphics switching technology, along with a bigger 12-inch display, which made this model a premium netbook.
While standard netbooks carried a retail price tag of about $300-$400, the Asus Eee PC 1215N-PU17 cost $499. At the heart of this system is an Intel Atom D525 dual core processor clocked at 1.80 GHz which works together with the 2GB of DDR2 memory running at a speed of 1.8 GHz. In the storage department we notice a 250GB SATA HDD spinning at 5,400 rpm while the graphics area is covered by the Intel GMA 3150 / Nvidia Ion. The netbook is running Windows 7 Home Premium.
It measures 11.7 x 8.0 x 0.9 – 1.4 inches and tips the scales at 3.3 pounds or 0.6 pounds more if we take into consideration its AC adapter. This is a 12-inch netbook that has a design similar to those 10- and 11-inch systems rather than the styling of a 13-inch model. In other words, this model offers a netbook-like feel, adopting a black plastic body which has both matte and glossy finishes, along with a gently tapered look that makes the netbook higher at the back in order to make room for the battery. The design is quite good but it fails to impress us in any way.
As far as the keyboard is concerned, this is just about the same as large island-style configuration used on Asus on the Eee PC netbooks that came out that year, featuring an additional vertical row located on the right side which holds the Page Up, Page Down buttons, as well as other navigational keys. The same design can be seen on another 12-inch netbook launched by Asus before this model came out, the Eee PC 1201N. The typing experience is quite accurate and fast as the keys seem to be working just fine, but we noticed that the middle of the keyboard area is a little bit flimsy as there is a noticeable amount of flex. Pressing the buttons located in the middle of the keyboard feels a little bit cheap.
What we do like is that Asus has managed to install a generous touchpad which is far superior in comparison to the rest of the netbooks that the company had launched up until the Eee PC 1215N-PU17 came out. It has a traditional matte surface instead of the previous small rectangle of raised dots, which manages to offer just the right finger resistance amount. This matte surface can also be seen on the surrounding wrist rest. We should mention that this touchpad has support for multitouch gestures which work very good. Instead of a two-button setup, Asus decided to install a thin rocker bar which is hard to press and quite often it does not register clicks.
The Asus Eee PC 1215N-PU17 has been fitted with a 12.1-inch display that has a native resolution f of 1,366 x 768 pixels which makes it suitable for watching 720p HD content. You have enough room for web pages and documents, while the display is wearing a glossy coating. As for the built-in speakers, these have an acceptable quality for such a small laptop and can get quite loud. However, for serious music or video playback we have to recommend some external speakers or a decent pair of headphones.
Moving on with the review, let’s talk about the ports and connectivity features that you get with this netbook from Asus. In the video area it comes with both VGA and HDMI ports, while in the audio department you’re covered by the headphone and microphone jacks. On the data front we find three USB 2.0 ports and an SD card reader, while for networking it has been fitted with Bluetooth, an Ethernet port and 802.11n Wi-Fi.
Even though it has a larger chassis, the number of ports isn’t bigger in comparison to what you’ll find in the netbooks that came out that period, maybe except for the HDMI port. Compared to the netbooks of the day that came with only 1GB of RAM, this model from Asus packs double the amount. The highlight of the model is without any doubt the combination between the dual core processor and the Ion GPU which benefits from the aforementioned Optimus graphics switching technology.
The netbook is capable of playing Unreal Tournament 3 at a resolution of 1,280 x 768 pixels at 40.5 fps while Street Fighter 4 can be played at the display’s native resolution at 21 fps. Thanks to the Ion GPU, playing 720p HD video content works silky smooth.
You might think that this more powerful hardware configuration had a negative effect on the battery but the good news is that the battery in this Asus Eee PC 1215N-PU17 is capable of lasting for almost 4 hours in a demanding video playback test. This is a solid result, but standard netbook can offer about 60 minutes. However, these do not offer the hardware power that the 1215N-PU17 is capable of providing.
One of the reasons why the battery of this model is still quite good despite the more powerful specification is thanks to the implementation of the Nvidia Optimus technology that is capable of turning on/off the Ion GPU as needed. The netbook is going to use the integrated Intel graphics solution when you are not playing a video game, watching HD content or other intensive application. The good news is that the switch between the integrated Intel graphics solution and the Nvidia Ion is done without the user noticing any changes so you won’t have to use a physical switch to make the change.