The Asus Seashell design was continued with the introduction of the Eee PC 1201T, a 12-inch AMD Athlon-powered netbook. We took the unit for a spin and shared my verdict in the review below.
The Intel version, which is the 1201N with Atom N330 dual core and nVidia Ion, will not be released by Asus in the Philippines. But that shouldn’t prevent you from seeing some units sold in the grey market.
If you’re familiar with the Seashell 1008HA and 1005HA, the 1201T is the 12.1″ version with respect to design and construction — slim and tapered at the edges.
The unit is glossy all over — from the lid, to the keyboard panel and the palm rest — so expect a lot of smudges and fingerprints when using this. Some people like it, others hate this type of piano-black finish.
The chiclet-type keyboard is well-spaced although the individual keys are a bit small and prone to slipping when touch-typing. I kinda liked that style though.
The display screen is 12.1″ in diagonal and has a resolution of 1366×768 pixels. The glossy screen is bright and crisp — a big disadvantages when used outdoor because of the glare.
When I ran Windows Experience Index, the processor got a rating of 3.2. This is 0.1 higher than the same Athlon MV-40 on the ThinkPad X100e (WEI: 3.1) because I installed 64-bit version of Windows 7. More benchmark information here using PassMark. Here’s a comparison against the ThinkPad X100e with the same CPU and GPU.
Now at least we know that 64-bit OS does some improvements on performance. There’s also a difference in the GPU performance but that’s for another entry. I guess the most revealing about this CPU is that it can’t play YouTube HD (720p) smoothly — playback is choppy at best. It can play Full HD 1080p video files but that’s because of the help of the GPU.
One unique design feature of the Asus 1201T is that the trackpad area is continuous with the palm rest and that it’s pimpled (dotted like that of a Braille). This gives you some tactile feedback and I think works very well. The other drawback though is that the left and right click buttons are not separated.
The system is pre-installed with the Asus Express Gate, a quick-boot OS that allows for basic functions like instant messaging, browsing, games, video and photos. It’s a nice feature that’s built into the system and saves a lot of time when you’re in a hurry to get connected and just wanted to do a quick check.
As for battery life, the 6-cell battery only provides up to 2.5 hours but that’s because of the low rating of 4400mAh. I reckon if it had been 5600mAh, it could do about 3.25 hours. The Athlon CPU and Radeon HD3200 graphics are really juice-guzzlers.
The unit sells for Php21,900 without an OS — pretty affordable price if you asked me. However, the poor battery life and slightly above average performance of the CPU isn’t something to be too excited about.
In some respects, it’s actually better than a regular Atom-powered netbook with a 3-cell battery selling at the same price point. At the same time, if you compare this to the Lenovo ThinkPad X100e which has the same specs, the Eee PC 1201T looks attractive with the Php21,900 but don’t forget you still need to shell out some more money for the operating system.