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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Asus Eee PC Seashell 1215N 12.1-inch netbook


Choosing a netbook over a laptop used to mean making a compromise in order to save some cash. Screen size would be limited to 10-inch, the processor was a single-core 1.6GHz solution, and graphics came from a just-good-enough Intel integrated solution. This was done to protect the laptop market as much as it was to allow a lower price point to be offered to consumers.

The gap between netbook and laptop continues to blur, though. Screen sizes are getting bigger, Nvidia ION is now used as a more powerful graphics solution in many netbooks, and the Atom processors are being updated and now include a dual core option.

The Asus 1215N reviewed here is definitely a cross-over machine rather than a pure netbook offering. This is made clear from the basic specs:

Intel Pinetrail 1.8GHz dual core processor
12.1-inch 1366×768 LED-backlit display
Intel GMA 3150 and a Nvidia ION 2 (1.2GHz 16-core GPU) switching controlled by Nvidia Optimus
250GB hard drive
2GB RAM
Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
As you can see, this is not a typical netbook, and the price Asus set reflects that at $485. It’s more common to see a netbook priced around $300, but then they don’t have the screen size, processing, or graphical performance on offer here. In that regard you may see the extra $185 as worth it, particularly if you’ve been struggling to watch HD video on your current netbook.



And that’s clearly one of the reasons Asus has decided to release its latest update to the Seashell line. This is a netbook aimed at users who want to use it for entertainment purposes as well as a device for surfing the web.
As well as sporting an updated dual core processor, and plenty of RAM, the 1215N uses Nvidia’s ION 2 platform along with Optimus. This is significant because it means the 16-core GPU running at 1.2GHz allows for playing games. At the same time, Optimus, which turns off the power-hungry GPU automatically when not required, means battery life is increased significantly. The only quirk to this system is your battery indicator will jump around depending on what you are doing with your machine. One minute it will say you have an hour of battery left then the next it will say two hours because you stopped watching that HD video stream.
Asus quotes a 7-hour battery life from the 57W/h 6-cell Li-ion battery. On extended, heavy use doing a range of tasks including surfing the web, playing Flash games, watching HD video, and listening to music, I achieved just under 5 hours. Quite respectable considering the hardware running and the screen size. If you intend to use it for gaming then expect that figure to drop to more like 2 hours.



The battery life of this netbook is even more impressive considering how fast it is. Not once have I been left tapping my fingers waiting for content to load in a browser. Video playback is without fault, and the games it can handle put most netbooks to shame. If you are an avid World of Warcraft player then you’ll have no problems here. I installed Bioshock and Portal with both racing along at very playable frame rates when set to 1024 x 768 resolution. On a 12.1-inch display that’s more than acceptable.

As far as the build-quality and connectivity options go the 1215N is a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. There’s 3 USB 2.0 ports, VGA and HDMI out, mic and headphones, and Ethernet ports are included. The casing overall is solid if a little bland and plasticy in feel. It does fall down in two areas, though. The lid does not feel very strong at all and flexes easily under your finger. That’s a common issue in netbooks that can be forgiven. What is more concerning is the flex in the keyboard.

Detailed Specification

Intel Pinetrail 1.8GHz dual core processor
12.1-inch 1366×768 LED-backlit display
Intel GMA 3150 and a Nvidia ION 2 (1.2GHz 16-core GPU) switching controlled by Nvidia Optimus
250GB hard drive
2GB RAM
Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
WiFi 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth
0.3MP webcam
6-cell Li-Ion 5200 mAh, 57W/h battery (rated 7 hours, realistic: 5 hours)
1.46Kg / 3.22lbs
3 USB 2.0 ports
VGA
HDMI
Mic
Headphone out
Ethernet
Chiclet keyboard
Multitouch touchpad




59 comments:

Astra said...

great review!

SC2 Strats said...

good review, this thing looks tight.

kokojesta said...

cool, i think assus are good computers

Michael said...

Nice review, I might buy this laptop.

Apps Master said...

Thanks for the review, I don't really like that kind of computer (too small for me).

Mark said...

Sounds a bit too flimsy for me. I do need a new netbook though.

aZZo said...

great specs

Galwarrior said...

Sweet Post!

Zoy said...

Time to start saving up.

befashionistic.blogspot.com/ said...

ahh, netbooks are more mobile tho

PlanetBen said...

Great review, and at under 500$ with HD video?
I just stumbled upon your blog, gonna follow for sure

Kikimora said...

It really sounds great!

SY said...

Mac.. I've been thinking about getting the hp touch screen.. what are your thoughts

S said...

Is there a difference between netbook and notebook?

Savage Nugget said...

I need a new netbook, this looks promising. :D

Callum Webster said...

Thanks man. I own an Asus! Supporting you!

HondaX said...

very good post man...

Jessica said...

Great review. Following and waiting for more updates Mac ;)

dee jey said...

cool notebook

CrispyPeanutButter said...

I've never had anything good to say about netbooks, but I might have to take a look at this one.

Hiphop Rising said...

damn sweet laptop

Matte said...

Well asus laptops aren't bad :) good review! :D

The Cockshiner said...

Nice review, but I'm looking for something more powerful.

T.dot said...

good review man

level85nerd said...

freind of mine want to get one

iRetiv said...

if its got nvidia it must be good huh..

About Insurance said...

this computer seems like a sweet deal

stoneycase said...

asus has one of the best reliability rates in the industry too for laptops and netbooks. beats apple, hp, dell, etc. can't go wrong with asus. good choice.

Swift Love said...

haha, nice

CAE.II said...

Seems worth getting to me!! Thanks for the heads up and the great review!!

Your blog just keeps getting better and better!! Congrats

Cunning Linguist said...

great, can't wait for an update :D

amidoinitrite? said...

thanks for sharing

comradejoker.blogspot.com/ said...

CPU is a bit too weak for me.

ImmaFrog said...

amazing laptop review

MacPCharmony said...

that's pretty interesting

Fuuuuuuuu said...

wow, good to know

Unlogic said...

wow, this one looks pretty amazing !

Ken said...

Nice review! Keep it up!

James said...

I kinda want :D

Joebloggs said...

Try a Compaq Presario, essentially same specs, although I'd imagine more affordable

Gansita said...

Whoa, that netbook is sexy and useful. =)

kokojesta said...

yeah great computers those :)

Mr. Bloggity said...

See now thats a halfway decent netbook!

RoodNverse said...

i like asus , good review thanks

ModerneFusion said...

you should post the video on the Asus commercial, so funny.

SpringyB said...

Netbooks need more RAM

Charles Mockingbird said...

sickkk computer

happybuffet said...

I've actually wanted one of these for a while now. Great review, man. I think you've swayed me into actually getting one.

Witdarkstar said...

great info. This was helpful

Home Alone Stoned said...

makes me want to come back for more

DJ Name Brands said...

thanks for the review, i still wish they could include internal dvd drives

Come At Me Bro said...

I should get one!

One.Pissed.Off.Guy said...

Netbooks suck man

NeebBlog said...

thanks for the info, i'm actually in the market for a new laptop

Crammarc said...

hmmm ths looks interesting

Secret Guide to Shaving said...

Good post.

The Drug Connoisseur said...

I need a netbook.

pixel said...

i have an msi wind - it is pretty good!

nick said...

tahts one great netbook

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