Cheap Mini Laptop – Asus Eee PC 1025C Flare
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We haven’t talked about a new netbook model in a while so we figured out that for today we should have a look at the Asus Eee PC 1025C Flare. I’m not a big fan of tablets and I prefer having a netbook because you can do a lot more things with it and it costs just about the same money if you know which one to get.
As you probably know, the netbook industry was not very successful mostly because a lot of the systems shared just about the same components (Intel Atom CPU, 250GB HDD, 1GB of RAM) but things have changed in the last two years when we saw a new generation of netbooks with AMD E-Series APU, like the Lenovo IdeaPad S205 which offered better hardware components and more power under the hood.
While some people consider that netbooks will soon be dead because of the tablet hype (especially the new iPad), I don’t think so because in my humble opinion there will always be people who would rather have a netbook than a tablet, even if it has an apple on it as a logo.
Anyway, a new kid on the block is this Asus Eee PC 1025C Flare that costs only $299 which makes it probably the cheapest Windows 7-running laptop you’ll be able to buy. At the heart of this netbook is a new generation of Intel Atom processors, in this case the N2600 clocked at 1.60 GHz. Unfortunately you only get 1GB of RAM which for Windows 7 Starter is not enough (I’ve learned this the hard way). For storage it packs a larger 320GB hard drive spinning at 5,400 rpm while the chipset is an Intel NM10. The graphics power is provided by the integrated Intel GMA 3600.
This netbook from Asus measures 10.3 x 7.0 x 0.8 – 1.4 inches and has a curb weight of 2.5 pounds or 2.9 pounds if we add the AC adapter. Design-wise, nothing has really changed in comparison to previous Eee PC netbooks from Asus. It has an almost all-plastic body that tapers towards the front of the system, while the back is propped by a huge (in a netbook) 6-cell battery. A few years ago we probably would have described this as a slim laptop but nowadays it is bloated and big. You probably know that there aren’t a lot of attractive netbooks but even so with a little bit of research you will find another one that looks better than this, such as the aforementioned IdeaPad S205 from Lenovo.
If you’ve used a netbook before you will get used to the keyboard and the touchpad right away. The first one consists of island-style, flat-topped keys which isn’t half bad but since this is a 10.1-inch system and not an 11.6-inch laptop, the overall experience might be considered as crowded by some people. The good news is that the important keys like Backspace, Enter, left Tab and Shift keys have a decent size, but the arrow keys and the right Shift key are smaller.
The touchpad of the Asus Eee PC 1025C Flare has a decent size and offers support for multitouch gestures but performing these is quite tricky since the surface is not drag-free; instead it is manufactured from the same plastic that you can notice on the rest of the netbook’s chassis. Discrete left and right mouse buttons have been replaced by a single, thin rocker bar that sits below the touchpad.
The 10.1-inch display has a native resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels which was the standard for the netbooks that came out up until early last year. Since then, most manufacturers upgraded the displays of their netbooks to 1,366 x 768 pixels, but as you can see there are a few exceptions to this rule. Due to the lower resolution, you will have to do a lot of scrolling when viewing websites and reading long documents. We like that the screen has a matte finish (a rarity these days), while the horizontal viewing angle is very good, but the vertical ones are awful.
Let’s talk ports and connectivity and mention that in the video department it comes with VGA and HDMI ports, while for audio you get a headphone/microphone combo jack. In the data area it comes with an SD card reader and three USB 2.0 ports, while for networking you only get an Ethernet port and 802.11n Wi-Fi. We like that Asus decided to throw in an HDMI port but we notice that there isn’t Bluetooth on board. However, this is somewhat understandable given the extremely low price tag of the netbook.
Even though it comes with a newer Intel Atom processor, the performance offered by the N2600 is not very good, being outperformed by an old AMD C-50 processor. This means you can pretty much forget about multitasking and you should consider sticking with just one or two web browser tabs. As far as 720p HD playback is considered, the netbook manages to run it smooth enough but from time to time you’ll notice dropped frames.
A cool feature of the Asus Eee PC 1025C Flare would have to be the quick-start pre-Windows operating system called Express Gate which will get you online right away. However, it’s not one of the best solutions in this category but even so it’s nice to see it in a netbook.
Although it might not have impressive hardware components, there is an area where this netbook from Asus really shines. Obviously, we are talking about the battery where that 6-cell unit is capable of lasting for more than ten hours during a demanding video playback test. Some consider that the most considerable advantage of Intel’s new generation of Atom processors is the improvement of the battery efficiency. Even though you do get a lot of battery life, keep in mind that this still is a rather slow netbook so a lot of battery life will be wasted on loading screens.
All things considered, this is probably one of those netbooks for developing markets where the need of a computer is high but the budget is very limited.