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Asus Eee PC 1201N review: Asus Eee PC 1201N

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The Good Dual-core Atom processor. Nvidia Ion graphics. 1366x768 screen. HDMI out. Easily accessible RAM panel. Windows 7 Home Premium rather than Starter Edition.

The Bad Far too much pre-installed software. Multi-touch touch pad is still unpredictable. Battery life suffers due to higher performance parts. For the price, there's plenty of other options.

The Bottom Line We like the 1201N, but at a price of AU$789, it sits in an uncomfortable spot between a full-sized budget laptop and a smaller netbook with integrated graphics. Ultimately, it all comes down to needs — if you must have a netbook, this is the highest performing one you'll get. Just be aware there are other options out there.

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8.0 Overall

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With AMD and Intel seemingly trying to squash the netbook category by enabling larger thin-and-lights with long battery life, the flood of netbooks has waned to a trickle in 2010. The newest to cross our desks in a while comes from the progenitor of netbooks, Asus, and does everything it can to offer more value while still technically falling into the netbook category.

The Eee PC, all grown up

The Eee PC 1201N is a 12-inch netbook, unusually powered by Nvidia's Ion technology. We say unusually, as Ion in Australia has typically been given short shrift. Those models that eventually did arrive here seemingly disappearing quickly into the woodwork after release. We're not entirely sure why, and people look uncomfortable and shuffle their feet when we ask — perhaps in the price-sensitive netbook field consumers simply don't want to pay more for better graphics, or don't understand what Ion is.

In short, it enables better 3D performance and movie-watching capability on a netbook. The Atom CPU, of course, limits exactly what the Ion can do in games, just as the typically sub-HD resolution of the in-built screens limits the HD movie capability, so it's fortunate that the 1201N's 12.1-inch, LED backlit screen has a usable resolution of 1366x768 and an HDMI-out port to make the most of the chip.

The Atom processor has been given a bump inside as well, offering two 1.6GHz cores in the form of the Atom 330.

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