Asus Eee PC X101CH

The Asus Eee PC X101CH is a 10 inch netbook with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N2600 Cedar Trail processor. It’s due out in February, but Netbook Live got a chance to check out a pre-release version of the new mini-laptop.

Update: Netbook Live has temporarily removed the video, benchmark results and other details to comply with a non-disclosure agreement.

As you could probably guess from the name, this is an updated version of the Eee PC X101 netbook which launched this summer for $199. The new model is probably more expensive since it ships with Windows 7 instead of MeeGo Linux.

It’s also a little thicker than the X101 thanks to full-sized VGA, HDMI and Ethernet ports. The laptop also has a hard drive rather than a solid state disk.

There’s no RAM or hard drive access panel. That means you’ll need to disassemble the Eee PC X101CH to replace or update the internal components.

The demo video shows a model with 1GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 3 cell, 28Whr battery. It has a 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel matte display.

If you stay tuned until the end of the Netbook Live video you can get a look at the out-of-the-box experience with streaming video. The short version: Don’t expect too much from an entry-level netbook.

thanks Casey!

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19 replies on “Asus Eee PC X101CH Cedar Trail netbook previewed (video)”

  1. I hope non-Atom CULVs make it into netbook form factors. Atom CPUs are just too slow for me but I really like carrying around a laptop with a 10 inch or less screen.

    1. Me too. I want a notebook with a 10.1″ screen with a low voltage Core i3/i5. There are 11.6″ notebooks now but I’m still holding out for the 10.1″ screen.

      Obviously, I’m expecting to pay more than the price of a netbook.

      1. I’d like a high end 10″ notebook too. Even with the new architecture in 2013, I doubt Atom will bring much performance improvement.

        1. Depends on what you consider a significant improvement.

          Silvermont will be the first real update to the ATOM line since it first came out.  They’re going to be completely changing the Architecture, utilizing many of the technology we’re only seeing introduced with the higher end Ivy Bridge right now.

          So the ATOM will be acquiring features like Intel’s Tri-Gate Transistors, the improved efficiency of a SoC design, Out Of Order Processing (something only AMD presently offers in the netbook range with their Fusion line), etc.

          All on top of the 22nm manufacturing reduction from the present 32nm.  So that means it’ll at the very least offer much more improvement than what we got with the Pine Trail to Cedar Trail update.

          While it’s difficult to get the performance of a higher laptop into a netbook form factor.  Companies that do it now usually charge in the 4 figure range and it still winds up being pretty thick.

          Intel is going to be providing better low powered versions of their higher end chips, especially for their Ultrabooks, but we may have to wait till Haswell (first SoC after Ivy Bridge) or even later before we see more serious attempts at using higher end chips in 10″ system size range.  Though 11.6″ and larger isn’t too much of a compromise if you really want that level of performance for now.

  2. 1024×600 screen is positively outdated in this day and age, especially since tablets and smartphones offer 720P. Netbooks needs to die already.

    1. Your attitude is awful.

      How can you compare a $199 device with phones and tablets that START at least $300? (Mosty of them cost $499 to $599.)

      1. How are they incomparable?
        Subsidized phones cost <$200.
        Plenty of tablets sell for $300, and several have sold below $200.

        Plus netbooks are mostly used as content consumption devices, the same with phones and tablets. The screen res on netbooks are hardly usabe for content creation.

        In the eyes of consumers who just need a potable device to watch movies or heck, even browse the web, a tablet works just as well as a netbook, and the battery lasts much longer.

        1. Subsidized products are only subsidized because the companies that sell them are making money in other ways.

          Methods like linking those deals with minimum contract periods have you spending a lot more than the cost of the device by the end of the contract period.

          Contracts also means you can’t sign up for a new contract until the old one expires first, though they may sometimes allow a early renewal but only by a few months.

          So unless you can take advantage of the subsidized deal then you’ll have to pay the full price and the top of the line smart phones can easily cost more than $600 for the full price.

          While tablets are often not sold with subsidized deals!

          Besides, you’ll still be getting less from most mobile devices than you would be getting from even a netbook, which may be low powered but is still a full computer and use of a physical keyboard is still better than any virtual keyboard for content creation.

          Mobile devices are only really good for mobile usages, which is inherently limited.  While they also often require accessories to make better use of them and that often means spending more and having to carry more.

          Btw, netbooks may be behind the curve on getting HD screens but they are getting them.  There just isn’t that much of a reason for them to get them right now when the next gen technology is still over a year away.

          Remember, this X101CH is a low cost model and not a premium class model that is more likely to get higher end parts.

          Smart Phones too have mid and low end models. So let’s not confuse high end with the low end products and denounce the whole range just because you don’t like the low end offering.

          While most mobile devices getting HD screens are getting them to make the screen look better and not so much to get more screen real-estate, which for small screens isn’t much of an advantage, especially those relying on touch UI and need icons to be large for easy use.

          1. Cell phones are a near necessity anyway. You can always pick up a used phone or an older model for cheap. All I am saying is that if your needs can be satisfied by a cell phone, there is no need to buy a laptop.

            Tablets are dropping in price, so the point of whether or not they are subsidized is moot.

            Regarding the screen res, netbooks are supposed to be cheap. Higher res will undoubtedly cost more, perhaps even marketed as a premium model with $100 mark up or more, near the tablet price range.

            On another note, screen res is more important on windows machines since window require more pixels than Android or iOS. Netbook res is barely above the minimal res for windows, which leaves little room for programs that require a lot of pixels. Your windows experience on a netbook is markedly different from your windows experience on non-netbooks, without even touching on performance differences.

            Yes, smartphones have low end models. But at least they also have high end models, whereas netbooks are mostly atom based (by my definition), with a few AMD-based, and are thus relegated to the lowest end of whole category of notebooks. If the topic was over the whole notebook category, I will agree with you, but current netbooks span a very narrow spectrum of performance, with the majority of them running on some version of atom with 1GB ram, 1024×600 screen, and GMA graphics.

          2. Not all Netbooks are ATOM based, you’re forgetting the offerings from AMD.  The AMD Fusion line is especially marketed to compete directly with ATOM products but leveraging much better graphics versus ATOM’s better run times.

            Also, like I hinted at, ATOM’s are getting a big update over a year from now during 2013.  Silvermont will go SoC and introduce the first major architectural update to the ATOM. All backed by Intel’s intended push to really start competing in the mobile arena by then.

            While there are already premium netbooks that are more expensive and consequently given more premium parts like HD screens. 

            They may not be much better in terms of performance but there is a range of netbooks for build quality and features like USB 3.0, HD screens, and discrete graphic options like Nvidia ION or even AMD GPU solutions like the update to the Asus Lamborghini line is getting.

            As for screen resolution, present Windows isn’t optimized for small screens.  So HD resolutions is in most cases limited to 11.6″ and larger screens because smaller screens make everything too tiny for most people and most people don’t want to customize much.

            Besides, like pointed out, most mobile devices don’t really take advantage of the higher resolution other to make everything look better.  Icons and stuff need to remain large on small devices otherwise they become too small for most people to interact with easily.

            Even HTML5 still works better for netbooks than most mobile devices.

            While tablets price drop isn’t expected to go very far because despite lower parts cost they still need higher profit margins than netbooks and most companies besides Amazon and Google can’t resort to alternative revenue sources to get profits from.

            Meanwhile, MS won’t release Windows 8 for ARM till well into 2013 and by then Intel will be in a much better place to compete with ARM offerings.  So don’t count netbooks out yet.  Though the form factor may change to something more like the Asus Transformer by then for best of all worlds solution.

          3. 1. I did not forget AMD offerings, if you will please reread my post.

            2. A year from now is a long time in the tech world. Who knows what will happen with ARM in a year.

            3. Premium netbooks defeats the original argument that netbooks are cheap.

            4. Again, with additional bells and whistles like ION it raises the price.

            5. Having less ability to optimize screen res isn’t exactly a plus. I agree that for some people an HD res on netbook isn’t practical, but it doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t get it.

            6. Unlike windows, mobile OSes ARE optimized for smaller screens, with HD screens as additional benefits.

            7. Agreed on HTML5, though it’s mostly a software limitation that gets better with each update.

            8. Tablets don’t NEED higher profit margins than netbooks.

            9. If form factor changes to that of the transformer, that the form is no longer considered a netbook.

          4. 1) Yes, you did mention AMD but you didn’t make it sound like they were having much of an impact.

            2) ARM is improving too but it’s harder for them to produce more powerful products versus Intel making less powerful products.

            ARM for example is still strictly 32bit, 64bit has only been recently introduced but actual products are still years away.  Along with hardware fragmentation and until Windows 8 comes out ARM is still limited to mainly mobile OS. 

            The main advantage for ARM is lower cost and lower power usage but Intel is also moving towards reducing those advantages and have until Windows 8 comes out for ARM, which is well towards the middle of 2013.

            3) It does point out one of the flaws in your argument that you can directly compare netbooks with premium Smart Phones.  Along with the other points made about the differences.  While even premium netbooks tend to be cheaper than the premium Smart Phones.

            4) Not as much as Premium Smart Phones, which even with contracts can still be more expensive than most netbooks.  While the performance of premium netbooks offer much more than any Smart Phone can offer and eliminate issues like HD screens being a negative for netbooks.

            5) Unlike a Smart Phone, you could always mod your netbook with a HD screen if you really want one.  While there are netbooks with HD screens. So saying you can’t is wrong.

            6) Aside from looking nice it doesn’t help being productive.  While aside from premium phones most of them still use lower res screens.  Not to mention mobile OS still offer less than a desktop OS can provide, especially for being productive. 

            Even a netbook can be used for more things than a Smart Phone, especially with the lack of ports most phones are limited by.

            7) Won’t eliminate the limits of the hardware.  Most mobile OS don’t even fully support all the standards that a desktop OS can support.
            While it’s the next gen ARM processors coming out in 2012 that are even starting to rival Intel ATOM performance.  So all older devices are working with inferior performance.

            8. Actually they mostly do, as unlike Intel most other hardware companies in the mobile business don’t have many alternative products to offset the need for profits.

            Netbooks are a special category in which profit margins have been pushed well below the norm and most companies would not be able to operate with so little profit.

            9) Netbooks aren’t really locked to a specific form factor. 

            A Hybrid can still be considered a netbook if that’s how it functions most of the time and it doesn’t change that people are looking for more and more flexible products.

            Besides, technology evolves.  It wasn’t long ago when we would have called a hand held device with a touch screen a PDA.  Now we call it either a Smart Phone or a Small Tablet if at least 5″ in size.

            Netbooks have been around long enough to need a major change and there is nothing wrong with change as long as it makes the end product easier to use.

          5. 1. That’s because they have a tiny market share. Note that I am only talking about the C series, not the E series.

            2. Note that I am focusing on netbooks as a category of devices. Whether or not it’s ARM based or not, I don’t care. What I care is how good it performs at tasks. Right now, netbooks just don’t deliver.

            3. Off contract. Though cell phone is a near necessity whereas a netbook isn’t. There is no point in buying two devices when one suffices.

            4. It’s not what it can offer but whether or not it can perform well. I can run windows 7 on 5 year old chips, but it doesn’t mean that I will enjoy using it.

            5. Yeah, like the average consumer is going to mod their netbooks’ screens.

            6. I am not talking about being productive. My whole argument is how netbook isn’t good at productivity. I am not saying that smartphones are better at productivity than netbooks.

            7. Why do we need mobile OSes to perform as a desktop would? Why would even expect them to?

            Software is as much influential in performance as hardware. Even a 40GHZ CPU can be crippled by inefficient software.

            8. Many companies that make netbooks also make tablets. Your argument makes no sense.

            9. Do you consider the transformer as a netbook? What functions do you ascribe to netbooks?

            You can define netbook however you want, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a universally accepted definition. Netbooks can perform the same tasks as ultrabooks can, but ultrabooks do not equate with netbooks.

          6. 1) Only because they only started this year.  AMD didn’t have anything to really compete with the ATOM before.

            AMD is also coming out with up to quad cores in 2012 as they start rolling out their 28nm update.

            While Intel ATOM will start supporting HD screens with Cedar Trail.  So 1024×600 screens will be starting to be phased out.

            2) Netbooks deliver quite a bit.  You may just be one of those who may either be interested in things that netbooks don’t address or you may not have fully maxed out what is possible with a netbook.

            Try visiting one of the community boards that discusses netbooks and I’m sure you’ll be surprised the range of things they are applying them to.

            3) Cell phones aren’t really a necessity, least of all a Smart Phone.   People can get by fine with a more basic phone.  While netbooks are cheap enough people can get one without a major investment like nearly every new Smart Phone becomes, especially with contracts.

            4) Doesn’t mean people enjoy using most mobile devices either.  Right now there isn’t much choice for mobile users.

            While you can’t ignore that many of us still need to work and in many cases that means more than a Smart Phone can provide.  So netbooks and even larger laptops aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

            5) A lot of people do, especially because they can be had so cheaply and you can find more uses for them than you think.

            6) Except netbooks are better for productivity.  While they are also getting better at consumption.

            Like it or not netbooks still serve a purpose for many people that mobile devices are still struggling to provide.

            While the lack of a immediate solution to replace them means they still have time to improve.

            7) Yes, but people want to do more than what mobile OS can provide.  So there is a definite push for getting a desktop OS on mobile devices.

            It’s why they got services like Citrix and others that provide the ability to run desktop programs on the go.

            Why the Atrix runs a Wedtop mode.

            Why they keep on trying to port Linux, etc.

            8) Then you’re not thinking.  Many companies don’t make their own components.  They just assemble their own products.

            While many companies don’t make enough profits to afford to give better prices.

            Only companies like Amazon and Google who make profits with services and ads can afford to take a hit on profits on hardware.  While most companies don’t make enough profits to afford to invest in early loses on a given product.

            Just look at HP with the TouchPad for example.

            If a big company like that can do so badly then the smaller companies have a lot to worry about.  Especially with more successful products to compete against.

            9) The Transformer is a hybrid, but the dock is an option and not a default.  So it’s primarily a tablet. 

            Besides, until it runs a desktop OS then at best it’s a combo tablet/Smart Book with the keyboard dock.

            A Netbook has at the most basic still to be a basic computer able to run a full desktop OS.

            A netbook hybrid would also come default with a keyboard and the tablet half need not be the whole computer. 

            For example the screen could be a detachable tablet but the keyboard could still be the actual laptop computer for a combo system instead of just a combo design.

          7. 1. I will wait and see. So far, 1024×600 seems to be the norm for cedra trail netbooks.

            2. I am sure netbooks can do many tasks, but I am more interested in how well they do those tasks. Like I said, netbooks can perform and same tasks that ultrabooks can, just not as well.

            3. If I can get by on the go with just a smartphone, there is no need for a netbook. Not to mention that smartphones are approaching 40% of the cell phone market, so quite a few chunk of the population can afford them. Netbooks supplement main PCs anyway. I’d rather get a smartphone and a notebook than getting a basic cellphone, a netbook, and a main PC. The less devices, the better.

            4. On the contrary, many do. There’s a reason why smartphones are so popular right now, while netbooks are on a decline. There is less hardware customization, but there are hundreds of models of smartphones with a variety of ARM CPUs, RAM, screen res, etc.

            5. A lot of people in general, or just a lot of geeks?

            6. There is time to improve, but in the end it will move away from netbooks and onto a new form factor and marketing term.

            7. It’s the experience that people want. Yes, smartphones definitely need improvement, but chasing after netbooks isn’t the best way to go.

            Desktops apps is but a peripheral function requirement of smartphones. People don’t buy smartphones thinking only of using desktop apps; they would have bought a PC instead.

            8. The less improvement in netbooks, the more likely that they fail to meet the growing data demands of tomorrow.

          8. Another point on 8)…

            Companies don’t need to invest as much in a netbook as they do with a tablet.

            Netbooks already have established market with off the self parts that are easy to acquire.

            Tablets are pretty much all custom inside and out and they have to also invest in newer technology practically every six or so months.

            ARM market has a high end of life cycle, which may be a strength for the phone market but not so much for the PC market.

        2. In reference to your last post…

          1) It’s pretty much a given that HD screens will become the norm.  Windows 8 metro interface even requires a minimal resolution to get full functionality.  So they don’t have much choice. 

          It’s just mainly a matter of market momentum because it’s cheaper for them to continue for now with the 1024×600 screens until HD screens become the norm and get cheaper to use.

          Right now even for mobile devices HD screens aren’t yet the norm aside from high end premium products.

          Also because HD screens tend to use more power, which puts quite a hit on run time, and the newer screens that help offset that are only starting to be made next year. 

          For now one of the things they are maximizing for Cedar Trail is improved run times.  So putting in higher power using components is not a priority for them yet.

          2) Ultrabooks is pretty much where Intel is starting to draw the line between their mobile offerings and their mainstream laptops.

          Netbooks fall more into the mobile segment.  So for most people it’s more a question of whether it can do more than a Smart Phone or tablet rather than can it perform as well as a more powerful laptop, which will also cost more than double what a netbook costs.

          The Cedar Trail may be only a minor update but it does make HD, along with ports like HDMI, standard.  So for consumption purposes it’s holding its own while it’s still better than even a tablet for content creation and those who want something small and not expensive it is often still a good choice.

          While till HD screens become standard, netbooks can still be used with HDTV’s for those wanting better video quality than the LCD screen provides.

          3)  Popularity is a separate issue from necessity.  People often get things they don’t need.

          While 40% of the phone market still pales compared to the number of people getting netbooks every year.

          Besides, people still wind up spending more than it would cost them to just get a netbook and so many people just get both instead. 

          Since it’s easier to justify the added cost of a netbook than tricking out their Smart Phone with a lap dock like the Atrix, which even with the web dock for running a desktop version of Firefox still provides less than a netbook can provide.

          Never mind those users who need to do things that only a desktop OS can allow them to do.  So there are people who would consider a netbook a minimum need.

          Not all of use just browse all day and even those of us who would prefer to often still need to do work every now and then.

          4) Netbooks aren’t really on the decline.  They’re still growing but the market has become saturated so growth has slowed to about the same rate as the rest of the laptop market.

          They may start to decline in the coming year, because of the lack of a good solution until 2013, but like the rest of the laptop market they aren’t going anywhere soon.

          Don’t confuse the present rapid growth of the mobile market with them necessarily taking over.  There are plenty of practical reasons why that will never happen.  Mobile devices are just popular right now and finally reaching a point in their development where their role in our lives is being redefined by being capable of offering much more than ever before but they’re still limited by design and purpose and that won’t change anytime soon either.

          5) Mostly geeks, but I also pointed out there are models that already come with HD screens and not all of them are premium class.  While you can also just hire someone to swap your screen and there are some companies that offer custom setup at purchase.

          6) New form factor doesn’t necessarily require a new marketing term. 

          Tablets for example is pretty generic and can apply to a wide range of devices, those who would argue strict definitions notwithstanding.

          Netbooks is a term coined by people that was picked up by the industry, which still continue to call them mini-notebooks in most cases.

          There was also UMPC’s that fell into the 5-7″ range, but it’s not the name that’s important to the end consumer.  People really just care that it works and does what they want.

          So while it’s questionable that the term netbooks will continue to be used but devices fitting a similar purpose and description are likely to continue no matter what.

          7) You’re missing the point, people are asking for more and more from their portable devices and many of them can’t get what they want from their smart phones.

          You speak of necessity like Smart Phones really meet it for most people but they don’t.  Even tablets wouldn’t be needed if that was the case.

          Never mind all the attempts at providing a more traditional experience with laptop docks, and services that provide access to desktop programs and features.

          Also just because most people don’t really have a choice doesn’t mean they don’t want more.  Smart Phones are limited by design and using them for more than a dedicated device is a compromise.

          It’s just easier to carry one device that can do many things but it doesn’t do any of those things as well as a dedicated device.

          You still get better pics from a dedicated digital camera.  You still get better browsing experience from a full computer.  Run times of a Smart Phone will never be as good as a dedicated cell phone.

          You make it sound like we no longer need the dedicated devices but we do and even a netbook has its niche.

          There’s no perfect solution and till we even get close to one people will be using multiple devices. 

          8)  As already pointed out multiple times, netbooks are going to be improved.  Starting with Silvermont the ATOM will be on a 2 year product cycle instead of 5 and will be getting many of the latest technology improvements as the higher end Intel chips will be getting.

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