Asus Eee PC 1215N Netbook

The Asus Eee PC 1215N is a netbook that doesn't look like a netbook.

Like its predecessor, the , the 1215N offers a bright 12.1-inch LCD display with a native resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels. That moves the Asus from netbook to entry-level ultraportable, but the internals are all netbook-class components--albeit a high-end netbook.

The CPU is now the Intel Atom D525, a dual-core processor supporting Intel's hyperthreading technology, typically found in small "nettop" desktop computers. It allows the system to handle up to four simultaneous process threads. The clock rate is also juiced up slightly compared to older Atoms, to 1.8GHz.

Although the D525 is a 64-bit-capable CPU, Asus ships the 1215N with a 32-bit version of Windows--Windows Home 7 Premium, which is a step up from most netbooks. Using a 32-bit OS makes sense in light of the 1215N's 2GB of memory, even though the D525's memory controller can support up to 4GB of RAM.

Asus builds the 1215N on top of an Nvidia Ion chipset, which offers more robust graphics capability than the integrated Intel GMA 3150. Graphics switch automatically between the Intel integrated graphics and the discrete GPU thanks to Nvidia's technology. Despite having a faster, dual-core CPU and Ion chipset, the 1215N's battery life lasts 5 hours, 24 minutes, over an hour better than that of the older 1201N.

The keyboard is also quite good, with the typing keys nearly full-size. Even better, each alphanumeric key has a slight depression, easing touch typing and making this one of the better keyboards I've used in this class of machine. The trackpad is another story. The pad itself is twitchy, and causes the mouse cursor to jump around, seemingly completely at random. The pad buttons require excessive pressure. You might want to get a laptop mouse if you will be using the 1215N extensively.