Hands on Use
After all the benchmarks are finished up, I got to play with the machine and use it for some normal work. I like the larger 12.1-inch screen compared to some of the other netbooks. That screen is glossy and has 720p HD resolution, which is a nice complement to the Ion graphics with the streaming prowess to make media fans very happy. The big glossy screen means that there is a lot of glare to contend with in anything but a dark room.
The 1215N and its Ion graphics are simply top notch when it comes to streaming video content online. Watching shows streaming from Hulu is fantastic. The video is smooth and stutter free and the colors are correct and realistic. Skin tones are also natural; the 1215N is one of the best machines for streaming your favorite online videos that I have used. It's nice to be able to say that about a machine that is a small and cheap as the 1215N. I also really appreciate the fact that that video prowess doesn't come at the cost of battery life, thanks to the NVIDIA Optimus tech.
One downside to the 1215N is that the sound system is a bit meek. It has decent volume, but lacks the bass that I like in my movies. A good set of external speakers or headphones will go a long way to fixing that lack of bass. The volume is good enough to hear clearly in most environments.
The keyboard on the netbook is larger than I typically see thanks to the 12.1-inch screen. The keyboard is sized well, has good key spacing and offers nice tactile feedback. You can type on it all day without any issues. The right Shift key is annoyingly smaller than the left shift key. This is more forgivable on the larger 12.1-inch netbook than it is on some of the smaller netbooks that have the same layout with the small right Shift key.
The netbook also has a very nicely sized track pad with good sensitivity. That track pad is separated well from the bulk of the wrist rest of the machine and the buttons are well sized and easy to click and use. The track pad is exactly what you expect it to be. Another nice touch for the security conscious user is the sliding cover over the webcam to make sure you can only be seen online when you want to be.
After all was said and done, I think that the ASUS Eee 1215N really performed well for its expected use. This machine came in dead last on a couple of my benchmarks, but obliterated all but one of the competition when it came to battery life.
That positions this netbook in the perfect spot for the person who is less worried about being able to do things like encoding media and more into a machine that can stream video between classes or meetings and has the power for average computer work when you need to be all business for a very long time on a single charge.
This might be the perfect netbook to complement a larger, more powerful, but less portable full notebook or desktop computer. If you are into a lot of media encoding and editing, the 1215N might not meet your needs alone, but if you want a platform for movie watching and entertainment and have a second machine to do the heavy workloads, the 1215N is a great option.