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Asus Eee PC 1201N review

The most powerful mini-laptop you can buy, but does it qualify as a netbook?

Our Verdict

We are not sure whether to class this as a CULV laptop or a netbook, but either way it is still a decent machine.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Nvidia ION
  • Screen size

Against

  • Screen is not too bright
  • Not too powerful

Since Asus kickstarted the modern netbook market, it is only apt that it has now released one of the world's first dual-core mini-laptops. The Eee PC 1201N is the most powerful netbook we have seen so far and further blurs the line between laptop and netbook.

The use of a 12.1-inch screen – rather than the 10-inch screen usually seen on netbooks – means the machine straddles a fine line between netbook and ultraportable laptop. This is becoming more common as netbooks move away from their initial small and cheap remit.

Powered by a dual-core Intel Atom processor previously only seen in compact desktop PCs, performance doubles that seen from previous netbooks. While it still can't match the power of a full-sized laptop, software is able to start faster and run smoother than on any other netbook.

The use of Nvidia's ION technology allows a dedicated graphics card to be fitted, rather than the low-powered integrated graphics common in netbooks. Regular and demanding gaming and media editing is still out of reach, but video and online Flash content streams smoothly.

Although some models in the Eee PC range have greatly impressed us with their all-day mobility, the raw power on offer here impacts somewhat on battery life. With that said, we were able to keep working for nearly five hours, which will prove ample for most users.

Seashell style

The chassis retains the sleek look of previous Asus Seashell-branded machines. Slim dimensions and curved edges make this one of the most stylish netbooks around, although the glossy plastics aren't quite as resilient as we would have liked.

The wide keyboard uses the now ubiquitous isolated-style layout, with each key cut through an individual hole in the chassis. Usability is excellent, with all keys moving with a firm and short motion.

The 12.1-inch screen proves average, with poor brightness making the panel quite dull. It is sufficiently sharp, however, with decent colour and contrast, so will suit most basic use. The glossy Super-TFT coating is not too reflective, so decent visibility is provided at all times.

Continuing its run of providing nonstandard netbook components, the 250GB hard drive betters the usual 160GB disks seen in older netbooks. An HDMI port is also in place for connecting the 1201N to an HDTV when you're back at home.

While the 1201N fails to redefine the netbook market as dramatically as we would have hoped, it is the most powerful mini-laptop we've seen to date. With its large screen and dual-core power, however, we question whether it really qualifies as a netbook in the first place.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNetbook
Hard Drive Capacity250 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA
Graphics Controller ModelION
Optical Drive TypeNo
Solid State Drive CapacityNo
HDMIYes
Product FamilyEee PC 1201N
Processor Model330
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameAsus
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Processor TypeAtom
Screen Size30.7 cm (12.1")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory2 GB
Cache1 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Height33.3 mm
Width296 mm
Depth208 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product Series1201N
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product Model1201N-BLK039M
Product NameEee PC 1201N-BLK039M Netbook
Product LineEee PC
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number1201N-BLK039M
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

The Eee PC 1201N-BLK039M Netbook marks a radical departure from other netbooks that usually feature single core Atom processors. With its Intel dual core Atom processor, NVIDIA ION graphics, dual-channel memory architecture, the Eee PC 1201N-BLK039M Netbook will set new performance benchmarks. More importantly, this combination shatters today's netbook conventions by delivering a rich multimedia experience.

Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Eee PC 1201N-BLK039M Netbook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Bus Speed533 MHz