ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1201N-PU17-BK 12.1-Inch Black Netbook
Works like a mini desktop! Great for students, developers, and business professionals.
As an MIS (Management Information Systems) student, I needed a laptop or netbook I could take with me to the labs that was capable of decently matching the power of a desktop system and that didn’t weigh 10+ pounds and break my student-sized budget. The ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1201N met and far exceeded my needs and expectations.



The straight out of the box Windows Performance Rating and Information:
Base Score: 3.3
Processor: 3.3
Memory: 4.6 (2 GB)
Graphics: 4.2
Gaming Graphics: 5.2
Primary Hard Disk: 5.9
System type: 32-bit operating system
64-bit capable: Yes
Processor cores: 2

Graphics:
NVIDIA ION
Dedicated graphics memory: 256 MB
Dedicated system memory: 64 MB
Shared system memory: 575 MB
Total available graphics memory: 895 MB
Primary monitor resolution: 1366 x 768
Direct X version: DirectX 10

The hard drive is partitioned into two drives (100 GB and 123 GB). I actually prefer to install all of my software on one drive/partition and save all my work on another. So, I like the fact that this arrangement is already setup and running when the machine arrives. You also get a year of access to a 500 GB virtual drive. The virtual drive seems to work well, but, if I need more space, I’ll purchase an external drive so that access to my work doesn’t rely on an internet connection.

Without making any changes, I hooked up an external optical drive and installed Adobe Design Premium Creative Suite 4 and gave the system a workout by doing a homework assignment on it. I had Flash, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Word 2007, Firefox, and Internet Explorer all running at the same time. It met my demands and far exceeded my expectations. Among other things, I have since added the standard Apache server (for PHP and mySQL development), Flex 3, and Microsoft Office Professional and SQL Server. This powerful little netbook does everything I ask it to do and seems ready for more. It’s a great system for designers, developers and business professionals.

As is standard with Atom processors, the processor is the bottleneck for the system performance. Except for about a 5-15% lag when doing intensive processing, I haven’t noticed a real performance dip when comparing this netbook to my desktop systems (Dell Inspiron and Dell XPS). Adding an extra 2 GB of RAM would improve the system performance and is something I plan to do very soon.

The touchpad is very responsive and, unlike many systems, it doesn’t pick up my wrist movement very often (I touch type). It also has a function switch to quickly turn off the touchpad when needed. The keyboard keys are well spaced and it took me very little effort to adjust to the layout. The lack of a number pad bothers me a bit, but it is understandably necessary on this size of a system.

I prefer matte screens and was a bit worried about the glossy screen giving me literal and physical headaches. The screen glare is minimal even when I have a lamp behind me or beside me. Glare might be a problem if I sat with my back to an open window with streaming sunlight pouring in. But, it handles standard room lighting well.

I haven’t tried any 3D games on it, so I can’t say how powerful it would be as a gaming machine. It works for standard casual games and should run most 3D games on lower settings. I feel more limited by the 12.1″ screen size than the processor and graphics card when it comes to gaming: I prefer games on a 20+ inch screen.

Cons: The transformer box on the power cable gets hot enough that it’s painful to touch. The power cord attachment is also a bit loose and has disconnected a few times when I moved the machine. The vent on the left also gets hot enough that it might be uncomfortable for a left-handed person to use an external mouse positioned near it. The sound from the speakers is a bit tinny, but fantastic through headphones. It needs a more powerful battery as I only get about 2 to 3.5 hours of battery life before it needs a charge.

Available in black or silver.

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