Asus Eee PC 1215N

Does dual-core performance and Nvidia Ion graphics make this a netbook to look for?

Asus Eee PC 1215N
Will more power make for a better netbook?

asus eee pc 1215n

While most netbooks such as the MSI U160 stick to a 10.1-inch screen, Asus has plumped for a 12.1-inch model on the Eee PC 1215N. It also comes with a native 1,366 x 768-pixel resolution, which means there's not only more room on your Windows desktop compared to the standard 1,024 x 600 resolution found on most 10-inch netbooks, but that it's also capable of displaying 720p HD video.

And, as you'll find out in a moment, HD video is something this netbook is more than capable of handling smoothly.

As expected, the display has a glossy coating. This enhances colours and makes movies and photos look vibrant, but it also attracts reflections like there's no tomorrow. If you'd prefer a non-glossy display, consider Samsung's N230.

Of course, a larger screen is always going to impact on chassis size, and with dimensions of 296 x 203 x 38mm, this netbook is ever-so-slightly harder to cram it into a small bag. Still, at 1.46kg it's impressively light, and won't weigh you down on your travels.

The left side is home to the power socket, VGA-out, USB and an SD card reader. There's also an HDMI-out socket, enabling the Eee PC 1215N to be quickly connected to an HD television. On the right are a further two USB ports, along with a 10/100 Ethernet socket and audio in/out.

802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth take care of the wireless, but there's no built-in 3G module, so if you're looking to access the internet while travelling you'll need to purchase a separate 3G dongle.

The quality of the keyboard can make or break a netbook, and the one on the Eee PC 1215N is something of a mixed bag. We loved the chiclet design and the feedback from each individual key was spot on. However, it also has a worrying amount of flex; this is never nice to see, especially so when you're paying for a premium netbook.

The touchpad looks good and has two slim chrome-effect bars marking its left and right edges, but it has the same smooth, slippery texture as the wrist rest, which makes it a little uncomfortable to use. We also found the left and right buttons, which take the form of a single bar, to be a little on the stiff side.

Asus has been slightly stingy with the hard drive, installing just a 250GB model. Unless you're looking to amass a large movie collection, it should suffice, but we expected at least 320GB at this price.

The Eee PC 1215N comes with Windows 7 Home Premium.