ASUS Eee PC 1015PN-PU27-BK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black) Review

ASUS Eee PC 1015PN-PU27-BK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black)

ASUS Eee PC 1015PN-PU27-BK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black)

The Asus Eee PC 1015PN-PU27 belongs to a new breed of netbooks that run on dual core processors and come with faster DDR3 memory modules. The 1015PN is powered by an Intel Atom N570 dual core processor and it comes bundled with 1GB of RAM. It has one SODIMM slot that supports up to 2GB.

This netbook comes with a 10.1-inch LED backlit display that makes for good image quality for movies and images. It comes with NVIDIA’s ION graphic solution for the Atom series built in, making it quite a capable netbook that can handle high resolution movies and also some of the modern games at low resolutions. It also comes with the NVIDIA Optimus intelligent graphics switching technology for better battery life.

Features & Specifications:

• Operating System: Windows 7 Starter
• Display: 10.1-inch LED-backlit WSVGA matte display (1024 x 600)
• Processor: Intel Atom N570 dual-core processor (1.66 GHz)
• Graphics: Next-Generation NVIDIA ION graphics with NVIDIA Optimus Technology
• WLAN: 802.11b/g/n (@ 2.4GHz)
• LAN: 10/100 Mbps
• Memory: 1GB DDR3 (expandable to 2GB)
• Hybrid Storage: 250GB 5400RPM hard drive + 500GB ASUS WebStorage3
• Camera: 0.3 megapixel
• Audio: Hi-definition stereo speakers, microphone
• Card Reader: 2-in-1 MMC, SD(SDHC) flash card slot
• Input / Output: 1 x VGA port (D-sub 15-pin for external monitor), 3 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x LAN RJ-45, 2 x audio jacks (Headphone & Mic-in)
• Battery: 6 cell battery (up to 9.5 hours1)
• Dimensions: 10.31 (W) x 7.01 (D) x 0.93~ 1.43 (H) inches
• Weight: 2.76 lbs (with battery)
• Color: Black, White, Blue & Red

Since the 1015PN is from the SeaShell series, it inherits the sleek design cues that have made the series popular. The netbook has a plain black matte finish along with a slim profile that makes it look quite good. The keyboard has Chiclet keys in a layout that utilizes every bit of space possible to make individual keys larger. The keys are shaped well and have a good travel, making for comfortable typing. The touchpad sits flush with the rest of the palm rest and has the same finish. It is demarcated by sliver strips on either side and sports a single bar click button. It supports multitouch and enables you to zoom in and out through gestures.

The 10.1 display is LED backlit and quite bright under most average indoor scenarios. Coupled with the NVIDIA ION graphics, it makes for a good entertainment netbook with high-resolution movies and 3D Gaming support.

The dual core Atom processor supports a good bit of multi-tasking. You can easily have a good multi-tab web surfing experience whilst playing music in the background and perhaps one more lightweight application open. The processing power is also good enough for you to do some photo editing and similar processor intensive work. Increasing the RAM will also help in getting more performance out of the processor and graphics chip.

The Eee PC 1015PN-PU27 comes with 250GB of local storage and a complimentary 60-day trial of ASUS Web Storage cloud storage service with 500GB storage space. The battery life is rated at up to 9.5 hours, which in real life scenarios can come down to around 7-8 hours and hence makes for all day mobility if used judiciously.

On the wireless front, it comes with Wireless-N WiFi support (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth 3.0 support. There’s also a 10/100 Ethernet port for LAN connections. There’s a 2-in-1 card reader with MMC and SD card support. There’s a VGA port, 3 USB 2.0 ports and the usual audio ports.

It comes bundled with Windows 7 Starter Edition, which is usually the only complaint that consumers have about this netbook because of the OS’s limited functionality. However, most are able to find a way around it using tools found online. Other than that, consumers reported being quite happy with the netbook with special praise directed at the processing, graphics, battery life, keyboard and overall design.

Asus Bringing Next-Gen NVIDIA ION Infused Eee Box To UK By End Of Summer

Asus [TPE:2357] is preparing to ship the Eee Box EB1501P home theatre focussed nettop in the UK by the end of this summer or around the beginning of fall. This news was leaked earlier this week by UK tech news source Electric Pig and was later confirmed by Asus UK. Even though it is supposed to be a nettop, this Eee Box will pack quite a punch with its above average specifications.

The RAM will stay at 2GB just like the Eee Box that came before it, so will the HDD at 250GB and you can’t get away from Windows 7 either. But beyond that lies the graphics — which will be the next-gen ION from NVIDIA which is 16-core desktop graphics. It will be paired with the Atom Dual Core D525, Wireless N WiFi and HDMI out too. So if you are thinking about attaching it to your HDTV directly — you can just go on ahead.

The  ION 2 graphics chip and the Atom D525 are going to really help its cause as a home theatre solution. Together they will enhance your HD video experience by quite a few notches over the previous models. Also, it will be giving you good mileage when it comes to gaming. Some of the newer games might also run on it at lower settings. So over all it is going to be  good deal.

And while we wait for it to release, the original report compares it with the Mac Mini and poses it as a possible competitor. The two cannot be compared directly thanks to the hardware difference but with it costing around $600, which is below the Mac Mini’s starting price of $699. A lot of people might want to trade up if they want a Mac but I can see a lot of people being okay with this because it does more or less everything an average person would want to do with a desktop.

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Acer Building A Dual-Core Atom Netbook [To Rival Similar Model From Asus]

Acer is not cutting its main netbook competitor any slack and is going to release its own dual-core Atom netbook soon. This development comes from newly leaked development details from deep inside Acer. The new model is going to be called D255 and it is going to go on a head to head collision course with Asus’ Eee PC 1215N.

The Eee PC 1215N is a fairly new model from Asus and it is their first to sport the new dual-core Atom N550 chip. Atom of course, already had a dual-c0re chip before this — the N330. But that was not meant for use in portables, for power consumption issues of course. Intel has been hard at work developing a chip that will work well for netbooks and still be able to run twin cores simultaneously. The Atom N550 has two chips running at 1.5GHz each and thus gives the whole system a significant power boost.

The difference will especially show in multi-tasking performance, which is a processor oriented job. However, other than the processor details, little else is known about this forthcoming Acer netbook model. It is believed that the D255 will actually resemble the D260 in terms of the other hardware features and looks. The D255 is expected to have different color options and perhaps a chrome trim. So nothing out of the ordinary is to be expected from this release.

There’s one thing that might differentiate the two competing models from Acer and Asus respectively, quite distinct from each other. Whilst Asus’ model uses the NVIDIA ION 2 graphics to deliver superior graphics and 3D performance, Acer’s model might be paried with an ordinary Intel onboard graphics. But less graphics performance also means longer battery life and vice versa. So it might be a close one after all.

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Asus Eee PC 1201PN Gets Bested By 1215N

The rate at which the netbook market is moving, buying one is becoming more like trying to hit a moving target. The Asus Eee PC 1201PN was looking pretty sweet when it was announced. Powerful new Atom Processor, NVIDIA Ion, etc. But now we have word that Asus is bringing out a better model called the 1215N that will have the yet to be released Atom N500 dual-core processor and NVIDIA Optimus intelligent graphics switching technology along with the ION.

If that is tempting you to wait the thing out, you are surely not the only one. But there is a problem here. It seems like the 1201PN and the 1215N are due to be out at the same time this year. The 1201PN is supposed to be out in May/June and the 1215N is supposed to be out around June. If that is the case, I cannot see how Asus intends to differentiate between the two offerings.

Thsi kind of confused product release is not going to go down well with the market. Of the many things that they teach you at marketing boot camp, I am sure “do not confuse your customers” is amongst the top 10 tenets. Still, it seems like nothing can detract Asus from their throw it all on the wall and see what sticks approach.

In the meantime, Asus is also going to coming out with their own tablet computer in competition with Apple’s iPad. That is going to dilute the company’s marketing efforts further mote. However they intend to handle it, I do not know but I do think it is time for the company to cut down on their ever mutating line up netbooks and offer a few models that are solid contenders. People like clearly defined lines.

Release of both models will vary by country. The announced time frame likely applies to Asus’ main markets like parts of Asia and Europe and also perhaps US.

Mobinnova Beam Spotted Running Android, G’Bye Windows CE

mobinova-android-03-25-2010

Just as Mobinnova had promised use even before they released the Beam, the netbook is now running Android instead of Windows CE. Good riddance I say — that OS is getting really old really fast when compared to the latest crop. Beam has made the switch over Android and it seems like Laptop Mag got some time alone with it. How nice!

As is evident from the image above, things haven’t changed much in the Android world. You still have that little tab that gives you access to all you need. The status bar is also there on top and the home screen seems to be acting like a nice little desktop substitute. The only thing that has visibly changed is the size of the display on which Android is running. We are way too used to seeing Android run on mobile phones. So when we see a large 8.9inch device running Android, the sheer number of icons fitting onto one screen is slightly unsettling.

More than unsettling, it is somewhat too busy for the eyes. They really should’ve tried to create a custom UI or at least create a few tweaks with a skin. Nevertheless, at least they have saved porting time by not doing those things.

The new Android model also features some other enhancements, other than the Android that is. There seem to be new media buttons on the keyboard and the CinemaNow software comes pre-installed so that you start downloading movies at once. As is to be expected — you cannot access the Android market from the Beam. It’s just too different at the hardware level  for that.

Since this is based on NVIDIA’s Tegra, it will have some games to show off its graphics capabilities. And the company is working on its own app store, much like everyone else in the market.

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Dell Introduces An Alienware Netbook

Dell Alienware M11x [Credit: Gizmodo]This just had to happen sooner or later. But looks Alienware’s entrance into the netbook playing field is slightly on the ‘later’ side of things. So Dell has introduced a new ‘Ultraportable’ called the M11x. This device, from the very looks right down the name, has Alienware written all over it. The design, the backlight, the grills, it’s just all too familiar. So what’s to special about the first ever Alienware netbook (so to say)?

Well, this 11.6″ device is packed with a Core 2 Duo chip that is complimented by a 1GB NVIDIA 335M graphics card. Yes, it is very powerful. Dell claims it is the most powerful notebook below the 15″ mark. That title is held by Alienware itself by the way, with their Nehalem mobile laptop with crossfire graphics.

The screen displays 1366×768 pixels and is covered with plastic instead of the usual glass. The body is also plastic but features the signature Alienware design, as mentioned before. So yes, this device that is basically a netbook has a 720p screen and can play games that other netbooks wouldn’t even think of in their wildest dreams.

During a demonstration at CES, the M11x played Call of Duty (a favorite for in-game performance benchmarks) at 30 FPS, which is extremely decent performance. You will not be able to play CoD if you turn on anti-aliasing on the M11x but that matters little for a little old 11.6″ ultraportable.

It also has 3 USB ports, 1 mini-firewire port and one VGA out port. They are certainly out to woo the legacy gaming crowd. Who uses a mini firewire these days anyway? It also has a SIM slot, to aid in your mobility.

The price is supposed to be below $1000 with all specs maxed out. But why would you want to buy an 11.6″ portable for $1000? That just does not make economic sense. But when has that ever stopped people from spending. It will hit sometime in February it seems.

Google Netbook Specs Leaked

chromebookGoogle is making a special netbook (or two) for its Chrome OS’ hardware debut later this year (hopefully) and that is not a very good secret. But the actual hardware specs for this netbook have so far been out of reach for most of us. Yes, we do know that Google really wants only the fastest possible hardware and hence has done away with slow old HDD’s in favor of the fast and new SSD’s. But beyond that, questions like what powers the entire device were far from being answered.

Now however, it seems like they we have a leak that predicts what Google has been up to with the hardware. News resource IBTimes reports that there has indeed been a leak of the Google netbook and they are saying that the rumored device will be powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra chip.

Those unfamiliar with Tegra just need to know that Tegra is NVIDIA’s System on a Chip that is meant to rival Intel’s Atom. It is capable of running full HD content and such things on a miniscule amounts of power that is only marginally higher than Atom, thus bettering Atom on quite a few counts. However, it has failed to gain much traction in the market.

Until now it seems. If Google is really interested in Tegra, NVIDIA is surely celebrating with champagne right now. However, the report also says that Google is going to use ARM CPU, so everything won’t be supplied by NVIDIA. So overall, Google knows what it wants and it is speed without sucking on power.

Other features will apparently include 64GB SSD, 2GB RAM, HD ready 10.1” TFT multitouch display. In fact, this could easily be turned into the Google tablet that is being rumored. After all, these are all components used on mobile devices like the Zune HD. The schedule for Chrome OS device is around Q4 2010.

ION Netbooks Emerge But Slowly

nvidia-ion21The long promised ION netbooks are emerging, but really slowly. So far we have one from Samsung and one from Asus. But other than that, there are no other models. This is worth noticing because of two things.

A)   The ION has been around for a long time now and it is almost time for ION 2 to emerge into the mainstream.

B)   The ION actually adds the missing piece of the puzzle by giving Atom exactly what Atom needs – raw, graphics cheap.

The companies that have brought these netbooks are actually spending any money on that. They are just waiting for the boom to hit? Not exactly. Their main problem is that netbooks carry too little a profit margin. That is bad enough for any company. But then something else happened.

ION came along and showed everyone that it is actually possible to achieve great graphics and HD video capabilities on netbooks running on Atom dual core CPUs. In fact, it can play most recent 3D games at respectable details and frame rates. Suddenly, everyone realized that they do not have to spend all that much to get decent performance. They can get the usability of a $800 desktop from a $450 netbook because they don’t need the surplus performance that remains when they use their main systems.

So once people begin to understand that ION netbooks are actually extremely cheap and powerful solutions, they will stop buying the high-end systems. And it is through these higher-end devices that companies and vendors actually make their profit. So they will never shoot themselves in the foot and promote something that will eat away their profit. The ultimate loser is actually the consumer, who is losing out on a great piece of technology.

Lenovo IdeaPad S12 ION Is Now Available In The US

lenovo-s12-netbookThe Lenovo IdeaPad s12 is a popular netbook model. It had the right balance between power and elegance and it was priced correctly as well. But the one thing that held it back was the same thing that held all the other netbooks back – the complete and utter lack of graphics prower.

Thankfully, that changed after the NVIDIA ION came along. But Lenovo chose to put the ION LE version in to the S12 and hence caused it to become a minor setback. nOw that upgrade season is here again, Lenovo has decided to make amends.

The main reason for using ION LE over ION was ensuring that the battery life was not hampered. But the consumers want both power and battery life and Lenovo understands that now. The company has stepped up and made the S12 into one of the first ION (full version) equipped netbooks made by a major manufacturer. It has a similar, albeit a bit lower battery life but it can now crunch HD video and handle graphics.

Around the launch of Windows 7, the newly configured S12 was launched in Japan. A day later, it was made available in the US as well. The price on the website is currently $599. This is a steep price to pay for a netbook but it has only just been launched here. There is an 11 business days waiting period as well.

So the right thing to do would be to wait for it to show up on Newegg or Amazon and then snipe it for a much lesser price. Given the way these things work, the price will probably come down to near $500 very soon to make it more appealing.

NVIDIA Tegra Based Netbook gets Priced

60109mbelanThe Mobinnova Élan has been shown off by NVIDIA for quite some time now. It is a tiny netbook that has a rather large battery compartment sticking out of it, promising a lot of power. But the main feature of this 8.9 inch portable is not that it has an extra long battery life. It is being shown around by NVIDIA because it is one of the first (probably the first) netbook to be built around the NVIDIA Tegra platform.

NVIDIA’s Tegra promises to be quite a useful platform for small portables. It involves the use of a power-efficient, low voltage ARM-based processor in conjunction with a powerful graphics chip. This gives the platform the ability to have stunning graphics with low power consumption.

The Mobinnova Élan was only the initial name of the portable. It is now being called the Mobinnova Beam and that is what it will be known as officially when it is launched at next year’s CES. The official word on the ultimate fate of this device is still nothing significant except for the fact that it will be tied to a carrier when it is launched at CES 2010.

This device is capable of delivering true HD video at 1080p resolution. And even while doing that, it will give you a battery life of 5-10 hours. If you are playing music, it will give you a battery life of 24 hours. Well, with that really large battery case, it would’ve been slightly stupid if it did not have such a long battery life. But still, that is impressive.

However, since this device is running on Windows CE, which is an embedded OS, it is somewhere between a netbook and an MID. The price is pretty right though, at $299 when it launches.