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Asus Eee PC 1015PEM-PU17 review: Asus Eee PC 1015PEM-PU17

Asus Eee PC 1015PEM-PU17

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR | Gaming | Metaverse technologies | Wearable tech | Tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
7 min read

Not much has changed in Netbooks since next-gen Atom N450 processors hit the scene at the beginning of 2010, which is why the emergence of dual-core Atom Netbooks merits some interest. Single-core Netbooks have always lacked the oomph to attack tasks the way a full-size laptop can, particularly when it comes to multitasking. The dual-core Atom N550 CPU in the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM provides slight performance improvements without causing any extra strain on battery life or your wallet; this configuration costs about $40 more than an otherwise similar single-core Asus Eee PC 1015PED with an Atom N455 CPU.


Asus Eee PC 1015PEM-PU17

The Good

Long battery life; dual-core Atom processor offers better multitasking speeds; cost for a dual-core Atom configuration isn't much more than for the single-core alternative.

The Bad

Cramped keyboard; streaming full-screen videos don't look much better than on single-core Atom Netbooks; lacks HD screen and HD accelerated graphics.

The Bottom Line

For only a slight price increase over its single-core cousins, the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM's dual-core Atom CPU handles multitasking better, but this Netbook doesn't offer the features or performance we've seen in higher-priced "premium" alternatives.

The 11.6-inch Netbooks featuring AMD Athlon Neo dual-core CPUs are still faster, but this more affordable CPU configuration gives the more expensive dual-core 12-inch Asus Eee PC 1215N, with its D525 Atom, a run for its money. Still, you get what you pay for: this Netbook's lack of higher-end features--HD screen, Broadcom HD accelerators, or Nvidia Ion graphics--place it in a non-premium category.

Price as reviewed / Starting price $369
Processor 1.5 GHz Intel Atom N550 (dual core)
Memory 1GB, 667MHz DDR2
Hard drive 250GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Intel NM10
Graphics Intel GMA 3150 (integrated)
Operating System Windows 7 Starter
Dimensions (WD) 10.3 x 7.0 inches
Height .8-1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 10.1 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 2.7/3.2 pounds
Category Netbook

Like many of Asus' recent Eee PC Netbooks, the 1015PEM has a sleek, teardrop-shaped side profile, thicker at the back and tapering down to a sharp point at the nose. It's largely the same tapered/curved design we've seen on most Asus Eee PCs over the last year or so, particularly the 1005PEB, and it's getting hard to muster excitement over yet another incrementally similar design. Smooth matte surfaces on the back lid and keyboard deck guard against fingerprints but still show some ambient gloss. This Eee PC line comes in red, blue, white and black; our red model had an attractive coppery brownish glow. The back lid is rather thick and the whole unit feels solid, even a bit dense, but the compact form felt easy to tuck away. Having no protruding batteries or edges other than a slight bump on the rear bottom is a plus.

The edge-to-edge raised chiclet-style keyboard features responsive keys and no flex, but the smaller-than-full-size keyboard felt cramped after a while. In particular, the tiny wrist rests underneath feel too small for easy lap typing. A wide multitouch trackpad is composed of the same comfortable matte-smooth lid and palmrest material, and is delineated by thin silver strips on the left and right, a slight change from previous Eee PC models. The trackpad felt wider and nicer than on previous models, though our thumbs tended to land on the pad when typing. A thin plastic button-bar beneath is a bit small, but has a solid click.

Above the keyboard, a small plastic power button sits to the right and a quick-start button lies side-by-side with a Wi-Fi on/off button on the left. Asus' Express Gate Cloud quick-start OS is a pared-down environment with its own browser, photo app, and a few other features. Despite its faster boot time, we doubt many people will be satisfied with its performance and limited options; most will opt to simply boot up Windows and keep the Eee PC in sleep mode between sessions.

The 10.1-inch LED matte screen on the 1015PEM has a maximum pixel resolution of 1,152x864, which is highly nonstandard and produces a squished look. The resolution can be knocked down to 1,024x600--common for Netbooks. We've noticed 1,366x768 10-inch Netbook displays becoming increasingly common, but there's no such luck here. Pictures and videos looked crisp and viewing angles were reasonable for the size and hinge limitations of the Asus' lid, but Web pages feel cramped at this limited resolution.

Stereo speakers, located on the bottom front edge of the Eee PC 1015PEM, offered louder-than-average audio that actually sounded quite good for video viewing. They're not musically extravagant, but they're definitely good enough for most needs.

Asus chose to add a physical lens cover slider to its VGA Webcam, ostensibly to protect people against being unknowingly recorded. It seems a little silly and is more likely to cause panic by making some people think their Webcam is broken when it's really just covered. Regardless, the picture quality is suitable for basic video chat, but its contrast levels created dark silhouettes. Included on the system is CyberLink's YouCam software, which can be launched from a pull-down software widget on the desktop and links to various Asus cloud-storage services and shortcuts.

Asus Eee PC 1015PEM Average for category [Netbook]
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 3 USB 2.0, SD card reader 3 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Expansion None None
Networking Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive None None

Netbooks rarely surprise when it comes to ports and features, and this Asus Eee PC doesn't break the mold. Three USB 2.0 ports and an SD card slot pretty much round out the offerings; there's only a VGA out for connecting to an external display. This Eee PC does have Bluetooth and is, in fact, Bluetooth 3.0-compliant.

The real question here is, "How does that dual-core Atom perform compared with a regular, old single-core?" The speed of the included Atom N550 CPU is very similar to its single-core brethren, so there's no appreciable bump in any single tasks, such as streaming video or converting MP3s. This isn't a panacea enabling silky-smooth video on a Netbook. Hulu and Netflix viewed full screen exhibited the same choppy-yet-somewhat-watchable video we experienced on the 1015P. Most everyday tasks will feel exactly the same as they do on any other Netbook. The difference comes in multitasking: if you like to download and Web browse and stream audio and do other things all at once, the 1015PEM will feel less chuggy.

We did notice improvements on our multitasking benchmark test, but the results are still nowhere near what faster laptops can do. Dual-core CPUs such as those found on the more expensive 11.6-inch AMD Athlon Neo systems produced faster overall results, but the N550 kept up with the dual-core Atom D525 CPU found on the pricier Asus 1215N. The N550 is an incremental fix at an incremental upgrade in cost. Is it worth it? We'd say yes, as long as you keep your expectations in check.

Juice box
Asus Eee PC 1015PEM Average watts/hour
Off (60%) 0.86
Sleep (10%) 0.91
Idle (25%) 8.02
Load (05%) 15.54
Raw kWh Number 29.69
Annual Energy Cost $3.37

Annual energy consumption cost
Asus Eee PC 1015P

The Asus Eee PC 1015PEM's six-cell battery lasted 5 hours and 33 minutes on our video playback battery-drain test, producing excellent results for a dual-core CPU machine. It's comforting to know that the dual-core capabilities won't appreciably drain battery life, unless heavy multitasking activities are engaged in.

Asus offers a standard one-year warranty with the Eee PC 1015PEM. Support is accessible through a 24-7 toll-free phone line, and an online knowledge base and driver downloads are available on the company's Web site. It's a little hard to track down phone numbers and model numbers, but we eventually found what we were looking for.

Jalbum photo conversion test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Asus Eee PC 1015P

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

System conifgurations:
Asus Eee PC 1015PEM
Windows 7 Home Premium; 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 Dual-Core; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 251MB (Shared) intel GMA 3150; 250GB Seagate 5400rpm

Asus Eee PC 1015P
Windows 7 Starter; 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 251MB (Shared) Intel GMA 3150; 160GB Seagate 5400rpm

Dell Inspiron M101z
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.3GHz AMD Athlon II Neo K325; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 384MB (Dedicated) ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4225; 320GB Seagate 5400rpm

Gateway LT3201u
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.7GHz AMD Athlon II Neo K125; 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 384MB (Dedicated) ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4225; 250GB Hitachi 5400rpm

Asus Eee PC 1215N
Windows 7 Home Premium; 1.8GHz Intel Atom D525 Dual-Core; 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM 1033MHz; 512MB Nvidia ION; 250GB Seagate 5400rpm

Acer Ferrari One
Windows 7 Home Premium; 1.2GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core L310; 4096MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 384MB (Dedicated) ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200; 250GB Seagate 5400rpm

Find out more about how we test laptops.


Asus Eee PC 1015PEM-PU17

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 8Battery 9Support 7