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CNET First Look
Asus Eee PC 1201PNAs the first next-gen Nvidia Ion Netbook, the Asus Eee PC 1201PN is a bit of a misnomer--offering single-core Atom performance and no automatic graphics switching in an expensive package that underperforms its predecessor.
>> Hi, I'm Scott Stein, senior associate editor at CNET.com. And this is the Asus Eee PC 1201PN. Now, since the iPad has debuted, everyone wants a machine, a portable that's going to be able to play video seamlessly and be able to play games, and you expect good battery life that's increasingly becoming the norm. Now, the iPad does it by not running SNRPs and software such as Flash. The Asus Eee PC 1201PN has next-gen NVIDIA ION graphics inside. Now, we've seen ION graphics in last year's netbooks. And what it's supposed to do and what it often does, from what we've seen, is boost graphics somewhat in terms of video playing, some game playing, and some multi-tasking boosts. Now, unfortunately, it doesn't really do it to the point where you'd be able to watch full-screen HD streaming video seamlessly, and that's what you'd expect out of a boost graphics environment. Plus it doesn't play all games fantastically. And, we really like the 1201N, which was the last generation that we saw that looked almost exactly the same as this. We reviewed it in early 2010. Costs the same, $499, but had a dual-core Atom processor, along with the ION graphics. This time it's a single-core end 450 processor, which is not as good. It does have a 250 gig hard drive, Windows 7 Home Premium, and 2 gigs of RAM. Now, the next gen ION graphics inside are NVIDIA's next generation of ION graphics. It's unclear, however, how much of a significant boost they are. In our experience, they weren't that fantastic, especially compared to what you'd expect out of graphics in any laptop. So no, it doesn't really play games the way you'd expect them to, and it doesn't stream all video fantastically. Adobe Flash 10.1 was good with some things and not good with others. So this is the problem with netbooks, unfortunately. It can do some things well, other things it can't do quite as well, and you're left guessing which ones it can do well. So unfortunately, the experience is not a universal leap up. And in that regard, we feel like maybe you might want to wait to see what else comes out around the corner. I'm Scott Stein, and this is the Asus Eee PC 1201PN.