The Eee PC 1215N is a 12.1 inch ultraportable laptop from Asus which sports a dual core 1.83GHz Intel Atom D525 processor and second-generation NVIDIA ION graphics. The folks at Laptop Magazine have posted a detailed review, and while it’s not the first I’ve seen, it’s worth paying attention to, because Laptop says it’s the best 12 inch notebook available for under $500… and that means something because the magazine has reviewed an awful lot of 12 inch notebooks.

According to Laptop Magazine the Eee PC 1215N performed well above average in benchmarks, besting machines with single core Atom processors as well as newer AMD Neo CPUs. Where the Eee PC 1215N really kicks into high gear though, is in graphics benchmarks. It scored a whopping 2692 in 3DMark06, which is far higher than scores from notebooks with first generation NVIDIA ION graphics or ATI Radeon HD 4225 graphics.

What does that mean? Basically you should have no problems watching HD video playback, although Flash video playback is hit or miss — partly because it can tax the CPU if there are text overlays.

Laptop Magazine was also impressed with the notebook’s battery life, which at more than 5.5 hours is pretty good for a machine packing this kind of graphics power.

That said, if you’re looking for a machine with a high performance CPU, you can certainly do better. The Intel Atom D525 is still basically a low power processor. It’s just a dual core low power processor. But it sounds like it provides good enough performance for most day to day tasks, and when you bundle it with the NVIDIA ION graphics, you can get a pretty pleasant experience out of this notebook.

The only catch? While Laptop calls it the best notebook for under $500, you can’t actually get it for that price yet. The only US retailer carrying it at the moment appears to be ExcaliberPC, which is charging $549.

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13 replies on “Asus Eee PC 1215N notebook with NVIDIA ION 2 reviewed”

  1. Most overrated netbook ever. If you are interested in ION to begin with, then surely you do focus on performance and anything with Atom is not the place to find it in sufficient quantity.

    “2692 in 3DMark06” doesn’t tell the whole story since it is a GPU centric benchmark and hides the weakness of the Atom CPU. Test the 1215n with SC2 and watch it c r a w l. Even the i3 with the integrated GPU runs it faster because it actually has the CPU processing power to start with unlike the Atom so there goes the ION advantage.

    Ultimately what will kill Atom netbooks will be $500+ i3 laptops now and AMD bobcat equipped ones in early 2011. Until then, it will be wise stay away from this pretender.

  2. I read somewhere the cancelled the idea of the 1218, I was hoping for it too. I ended up buying the 1215n. Made the mistake of buying it from AbesOfPAIN. I should have gotten it from provantage. <-They ship quickly. AbesOfPain (maine) sat on my order until I threatened a complaint through NJ BBBureau. They are a shady bunch…

  3. What I don’t understand is why Asus insists on always putting crappy webcams in their netbooks. The common size is over 1mp and in every one I see they put a crappy 0.3mp cam in there.. Other companies can put better ones in without increasing the price; asus should beable to too.

  4. Truly a great combination of specs. Gotta love ASUS for that. On saving mode ($) now ’til this xmas season… 🙂

  5. I’m a huge fan of Atom computers, but I at least expect them to be light weight, good on battery time, and inexpensive. This is a bit heavy, under performs on battery life, and a bit expensive in my opinion. But, maybe, I’m not the buyer in mind?

    If you come at it from a perspective of, “My grandmother wants a netbook. She needs a big screen and she needs a bigger keyboard, so what do I do?”

    Well this computer is an answer, if not the answer for a ‘grandmother netbook’. Yes, you’ll pay a bit more to get her this ‘Netbook Extra-Large’, but it will do what see needs and is a good size for shall we say older users.

  6. I read the review, and I’m impressed, but I’m left with more questions than not. The dual core atom, still is still two in order cores which means that clock for clock, watt for watt, they’re not giving you a ton of processing power… That’s been the problem with Atom all along.

    Did they up the number of PCIe lanes on the new chip? I haven’t seen all that. If not, you’ll run into the same issue on this box that you do on the 1205PN, which is that you can saturate the video link if you try to display to bigger monitors. The 2nd gen chip doesn’t have a direct display out, it moves the frame buffer to the display port by over writing the built in atom’s display buffer in memory, if you start making it write bigger frames to the buffer, begins to have communication issues since it only has a 250mbs of bandwidth to that memory. You typically won’t notice it playing on the built in screen, but you’ll notice it big time the second you plug in an external monitor, which is a shame.

    Lastly, I’ve tried playing games on the 1201N which I seriously thought about buying… I’m sure this is more powerful, but that machine was still very much processor limited, so it had issues even running console ports in 1366×768 native resolution at 30fps. I keep coming back to the fact that this processor, although more powerful, isn’t THAT much more powerful… So, you can sort of game on it, but not overly well… You’re sacrificing battery life for all this…

    Ultimately I’m excited about this computer. It’s nice to see more variation in netbooks and netbook class components. Still, I think this may be too expensive for what it is. On paper it looks impressive, but in reality I think that the atom processor, even in a dual core, is going to hold this product back in ways you just won’t see the AMD Nile based dual cores being held back in, or a CULV, or a Core i system, which ultimately limit how much that graphics card is going to bring to the table.

  7. I’ll admit this might be the best 12” out there by a small degree…but it depends on what you want. An Acer Aspire TimelineX AS1830T-3721 11.6-Inch laptop has a Core i5 processor and would bet the pant off of it in those tests. The 1830t as tested as a six hour battery and it weighs 1/3 lb less too. 3D games might be better on the ASUS, but video playing and most functions I’d give to the 1830t with that Core i5.

    It baffles me that Laptop Magazine wouldn’t mention the 1830t in that story, unless they were fooled by the promised under $500 price and put the two machines in two classes. The reality is if you even think of buying that ASUS 1215N you should look at the ACER 1830t as well. The price is stinging for the i5, but lighter, more battery life and being much more powerful shift the balance for me.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head. Price. They have 2 caveats, price and size. Last time I checked (right before getting a UL30vt) the 1830tz was still $599 and the core i5 version was a whopping $679. But if you want to spend the money, don’t care too much about graphics, then either is a truly superior machine.

      1. Has anyone heard when Asus is releasing the 1218 laptop? I have been waiting patiently, but NOTHING!

    2. yep, I knew I saw this. Second to last line in the laptop review:

      Yes, you could get a similarly sized Intel ULV laptop that offers more pep and even longer battery life (like the Acer Aspire Timeline 1830T), but you’d have to cough up at least $200 more.

      So there you go.

  8. How about an ION 2 version with a 10 inch or smaller screen? At this size, I’d rather just buy an Acer 1830T or other Intel CULV based ultraportable.

  9. There is also apparently no USB 3.0 yet in this release, and some who have already gotten it have reported that not all RAM will work with it.

    Check the Eee User Forum for the reported problems with RAM for both the 1215N and the 1018P…

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