Impressions and Conclusions

In the end the Asus Eee 1201N feels like a mobile PC with a mixed identity. In some respects it feels and performs like a full-fledged notebook system thanks to the ION accelerated graphics. But on the other hand, the Atom 330 CPU under the hood is still a lightweight processor and it shows its limitations when doing some common tasks like image editing in Photoshop.

The NVIDIA ION chipset is impressive and it really makes an otherwise typical netbook user experience a lot more enjoyable. One of the biggest frustrations with typical netbooks is its inability to handle HD media. With ION, everything just works – the way you want it, and the way you always expected it.

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Asus, of course, doesn’t just stop at giving you an ION chipset with standard netbook components and call it a day – Asus has gone the extra mile to make the Eee 1201N special by giving it a Dual-Core Atom 330 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a 12.1″ screen doesn’t hurt either. This makes the Eee 1201N feel much more than just a netbook, but you’re also paying a bit more as well with an approximate market price of $470 USD at time of publishing.

If you were a consumer looking for a light, portable, and rather inexpensive notebook or a more powerful netbook – you could buy the Asus Eee 1201N and be very happy with what you’re getting. However, if a prudent buyer does a little more digging, one would find that there are ultra-portable notebooks with low voltage CPUs that are actually fairly close in price and may actually offer superior performance1. (For example, the Asus UL20A sells for about $560).

As beautiful as the Eee 1201N is, it’s in a difficult position. As a netbook, it is more capable than a netbook, but you end up paying more for a product positioned in a budget category. As a budget notebook, the Eee 1201N appears to try to be in the same league as Core 2 ULV ultra-portable notebooks, but ULV systems perform better and only cost a little more1.

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The Asus Eee 1201N is a good product that is well designed and very practical. It’s a snappy little netbook that has a the distinction of being able to play HD content extremely well and allowing you to output it to full HD using the HDMI out. The Eee 1201N definitely has the shelf appeal, but its split identity and market position may confuse consumers. Hopefully articles like this will help you make the most of your purchase.

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