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CNET First Look
Asus Eee PC 1215NThe Asus Eee PC 1215N combines Intel's new dual-core Atom CPU with Nvidia Ion graphics and Optimus GPU-switching for an impressive overall package, but one that still feels a bit too much like a Netbook.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here with the Asus Eee PC 1215N. This is actually a system we've been looking forward to for a long time because it's the first laptop to cross our desk with the new dual core version of Intel's Atom chip in it. Now, we've actually seen some dual core Atoms in a couple of laptops earlier but those have been the nettop or low-end desktop versions of the Atom, not the ones that are specifically optimized for portable computer use. Now, of course, you can get a lot of low-end dual core chips in kind of these 12-inch size systems right now, even the 11.6-inch size ones. Most notable is the AMD Neo which we're finding in a bunch of laptops these days. The dual core Atom does not quite match up to that in terms of prices and power. It's really faster than the single core Atoms that you're used to but not by a huge margin. What the 1215N does, however, is pack in a bunch of other useful features, most notably nVidia's Ion graphics which we've always liked as a low-end graphics solution, and nVidia's Optimus technology which turns those graphics off and on as needed so you don't have to manually switch them and you don't have to leave them on all the time eating up your battery, so combined with the Atom's already really good power performance, you're gonna get a very long lasting laptop. If you're already used to kind of the low-end performance of a single core Intel Atom netbook then you're gonna find that this dual core version definitely feels a little bit zippier, definitely nowhere near a full-size, full-power laptop. If you're looking for something that's close to that, those AMD Neo systems like the Dell M101Z are gonna be much more laptop-like but they're still more expensive. At $499, this guy is a pretty decent mix of price and performance and components and it's especially good at low-end basic gaming and HD video playback. There's a couple things we didn't like so much about the Eee PC 1215N. The mouse buttons on the touchpad, very stiff. It's one of those thin rocker bars. We prefer separate buttons but really tough to actually click over here, and the keyboard itself was fine but it felt a little flimsy. It kinda had a little bit of give under your fingers when you were typing. Didn't really feel like a premium product. So what you end up with is a system with really good battery life, performance that's better than a netbook but not by a huge margin, decent for gaming and HD video, the larger 12-inch screen makes this thing, this might be a good choice for somebody who does a lot of traveling but wants to have a more multimedia friendly laptop than your typical netbook. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Asus Eee PC 1215N.