Heat and Connectivity, Battery Life and Portability
Heat and Connectivity
Heat and fan noise are always a compromise, and in this case ASUS seems to have taken the middle road. The Eee PC 1215N’s idle temperature was usually just above 40 degrees Celsius for the CPU and just above 50 degrees Celsius for the GPU. Once put under load, the processor went as high as the mid-50s, while the GPU nudged up to 61 degrees Celsius.
Although these readings are a bit higher than what I’ve received from some laptops, they’re certainly nothing to be worried about, and they could probably be lowered if the system fan bothered to move faster than a jog. The fan can be noticed easily in a perfectly quite room, but will generally be lost beneath in the ambient noise of a room with other electronics in it. In spite of the leisurely system fan, the temperature of the palmrest never became uncomfortable. The underside of the netbook also remained cool in normal use, but did warm significantly during HD video playback and gaming.
On the left side of the Eee PC 1215N, alongside the fan, you’ll find VGA and HDMI ports as well as 1 USB 2.0 port and a card reader. The right side reveals two more USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet jack and separate microphone and headphone jacks. This is the stock-and-standard setup for a modern netbook, with the exception of the HDMI port, which is generally only found on models with discrete graphics.
Battery Life and Portability
The idea of placing a decent discrete graphics chip on a netbook is nothing new, and despite its advantages, there’s a reason it never really caught on – battery life. Some of the early Ion netbooks could only manage about 4 hours on a charge, even in relatively light use.
The Eee PC 1215N has Optimus switchable graphics technology, however, and that changes the game. In my testing the 1215N managed almost five hours of battery life at a go. That’s actually a little less than I was hoping for, but it the dual-core processor in this netbook is also a factor. Considering the hardware, and the modest 5200mAh battery, this is not a bad score, although the data from the Sony Vaio Y (which lasted four hours and thirty-minutes on a 3500mAh battery) suggests AMD’s E-350 APU sips battery less quickly.
Packing up the Eee PC 1215N is a breeze. The 3.2 pound heft of this netbook is about average and the rounded clamshell design makes it easy to slip this netbook into an out of bags. The benefits of the large touchpad should not be forgotten, either; it’s great to use, so you won’t feel pushed into packing a travel mouse.