June 2, 2011
- Ultraportable design
- Strong multimedia performance
- USB 3.0 & Bluetooth connectivity
- Mediocre gaming performance
- Limited viewing angles
The Asus Eee PC 1215B is an ultraportable 12-inch notebook that has the latest AMD Fusion E-350 CPU, which means it can handle HD graphics with ease. It also benefits from having a stellar design and the latest USB 3.0 connectivity.
This Asus Eee PC 1215B ultraportable is very similar in design to the previous model (1215N) and has the same matte-black exterior and glossy keyboard deck. This model also comes in red for an additional $10. It measures 11.6 x 7.9 x 1.4-inches (wdh) and weighs about 3.3-pounds, which makes it extremely portable and easy to carry around throughout a long day. Overall the appearance of the 1215B is very classy, yet not too flashy.
The chiclet-style keyboard is very well-spaced and felt quite comfortable. However, the right Shift key is quite undersized and caused us a few problems. The touchpad supports multitouch gestures and gave us enough room to do them and to navigate the screen without much backtracking.
The 12.1-inch display has a resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels and only average viewing angles. The image quality, however, with the screen is pretty good and definitely good enough for mobile multimedia viewing, even in HD quality. The 0.3-megapixel Webcam is mounted above the screen and offers only average images, but what makes it unique is the privacy door that slides over the lens to really make sure no one is watching when you don't want them to.
In terms of ports and connectivity, you'll be pleased to find a USB 3.0 port along with two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, HDMI-out, VGA-out, audio jacks and a 2-in-1 memory card reader. Built-in wireless antennas include both 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0.
The specifications of the Asus Eee PC 1215B include the all-new dual-core AMD Fusion E-350 APU (1.6GHz), 2GB of RAM, a 320GB 5400RPM hard drive and ATI Radeon HD 6310 graphics. Performance with this AMD Fusion processor is definitely much better than Atom-powered netbooks, but it isn't quicker than the conventional Intel Core CPUs. The AMD Fusion combines a dual-core CPU and discrete GPU into one very efficient chip. You'll find pleasant results when multitasking, Web browsing and watching streaming HD content, which is what the average consumer would do on this notebook.
Graphics performance with the AMD Radeon HD 6310 is better than other comparable systems. It was more than enough to show HD content without any problems, but playing 3D games require you to dial down the graphics settings before you get a playable result.
A feature worth mentioning is Express Gate, which is a new technology that Asus is implementing on some of its laptops, including the Asus U36JC that we reviewed last week. Express Gate is a quick-boot feature, which lets you power on the computer into a bare bones Linux operating system that lets you surf the Web to do something quick, like check your e-mail. This is a novel feature that works good as it lets you boot to an Internet browser in about 15 seconds. The iCloud version that Asus includes on this notebook lets you browse through eight "tiles" that include Calendar, Chrome, Games, Music, Online Video, Photos and Social Networks.
Battery life with the Asus Eee PC 1215B's 6-cell battery is about average with other similar notebooks at around 6 hours of life.
Asus includes Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium as the operating system as well as several Asus utilities. They also include Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition and a trial of Trend Micro Titanium security suite.