Thanks to a dual-core Atom D252 processor and Nvidia's ION graphics, the Eee PC 1215N manages to out perform many of its rival netbooks. It's expensive, though, and anyone tempted to splash out should bear in mind that the performance boost isn't exactly monumental.
Dual-core processor; Nvidia ION graphics; 12in display with 1,366 x 768 resolution
Relatively high price for a netbook; keyboard could be sturdier
Intel Atom D525 (1.8GHz), Nvidia ION graphics, 2GB RAM, 12in display (1,366 x 768), 250GB hard drive, 802.11n, Bluetooth, 3x USB, Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit), 1.4kg
Small, light and relatively cheap, the appeal of netbooks for frequently travelling business users is obvious. They're perfect for tasks such as jotting down notes during meetings, editing documents, browsing the web and checking emails.
The Asus Eee PC 1215N is the latest to arrive on the market, and attempts to differentiate itself in a number of ways.
For starters, it has a 12in display with a resolution of 1,366 x 768. Larger than most netbooks, this display makes tasks such as editing spreadsheets much easier. What will no doubt irk business users, however, is that is has a glossy coating; use it in a brightly lit office and the screen will be blighted by reflections.
Perhaps of more interest is the choice of processor: an Intel Atom D525 CPU. Although the clock speed of 1.8GHz isn't that much faster than previous Atom chips, the big difference is that it has two cores. This means that the netbook runs faster and is much more adept at multi-tasking.
Asus has also given 3D performance a boost with the inclusion of Nvidia's ION chipset. This doesn't mean that the Eee PC 1215N will suddenly be able to handle 3D games, but the latest Adobe Flash 10.1 player is able to take advantage of ION graphics, which means it's more than capable of playing high-quality full-screen video without stuttering.
While most netbooks have to make do with the slimmed down and feature-limited Starter edition of Windows 7, the Eee PC 1215N has all the bells and whistles of the Home Premium version.
In truth, most of the features Home Premium has over Starter are geared towards entertainment, but it does mean you get all the snazzy Windows 7 Aero special effects. It also comes with 2GB of RAM, which is double that of most netbooks.
There's no doubt that the combination of a dual-core processor and Nvidia ION graphics allows the Eee PC 1215N to punch above its weight, but it's not a massive improvement and it will still struggle with processor-intensive tasks.
However, we found general Windows ussage to be much more responsive compared to single-core Atom netbooks we've tested, and there were none of those frustrating delays when performing simple tasks such as switching between applications.