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Asus Eee PC Seashell 1015PEM review

Ardjuna Seghers

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Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

As the initiator of the netbook craze that's taken the tech sector by storm with its original Eee PC 701, we're constantly hoping Asus will inject some desirability back into the rather staid netbook market. And while visually not much has changed from the 1005PE, the company's new Eee PC Seashell 1015PEM has quite a few neat tricks up its slender sleeve, including such highlights as a dual-core Atom CPU and USB 3.0 connectivity. Is it enough to lift this netbook above its peers?

Like other higher-end netbooks (now there's an oxymoron if ever there was one), the 1015PEM uses Intel's N550 Atom processor, offering dual cores that run at 1.5GHz. It still won't give you even close to the same performance as a mid-range laptop CPU, but does facilitate smoother multi-tasking and (non-HD) Flash video, as well as undemanding 720p material.

Unfortunately, the rest of its internal specifications are par for the netbook course. This means weak, integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics with no digital video output, 1GB of RAM, and a 250GB hard drive. There's also a generous 500GB of online storage - though this is a one-year trial, after which you have to pay for the service.

However, on the connectivity front it's a different story. Wi-Fi is up to the fastest N speed and Ethernet is of the Gigabit variety, while Bluetooth is version 3.0 (which supports a data rate of up to 24MB per second compared to its predecessor's 3MB). Best of all, two of the 1015PEM's three USB ports are USB 3.0. For the impressive benefits this brings, you should have a read of our comprehensive look at USB 3.0. Suffice to say that for external storage enthusiasts, it's essential.

Other connections are what you would find on any netbook, including an analogue VGA output and USB 2.0 port on the left. The right side houses microphone and headphone jacks, and a memory card reader supporting SD/HC and MMC.

However, there are a few other clever touches that set this netbook apart from the crowd. One of these is a physical shutter for the 0.3 megapixel webcam, operated by a small switch set above it in the screen's bezel. Some might consider this a pointless addition, but especially for less technically proficient consumers it's a great way of absolutely ensuring you're only being filmed when you want to be (cough, American Pie, cough).

Another nice touch is a small rocker switch above the keyboard. One side is a dedicated wireless button, which alternately turns Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (or both) on or off, confirmed by a dynamic on-screen icon. The other side toggles Asus' Super Hybrid Engine, which Asus has nicknamed SHE. This will switch between Power Saving, High Performance and Super Performance, adjusting parameters to favour either battery life or speed. Again it's confirmed by an on-screen icon so you're never in any doubt as to which mode you're in.

morsch

November 29, 2010, 6:36 pm

Ugh. Not enough is happening on the netbook market. Seems like manufacturers are content with just about any offer in the lowest product tier, and are happy to give customers a reason to get a better machine if they can afford it. I guess that makes sense.





Still, Atom, dual core or not, was slow years ago, and these days it's just anemic. They should transition to the same performance level as offered by the new 11.6 MBA. That's still slow, but not painfully slow. Dedicated, performance graphics, OTOH, seem like overkill. As it is, there is just so very little to make these new netbooks more desirable than the old 2nd gen netbooks (ie. the ones where 10" was standard).





500 GB of online storage isn't particularly generous: there's rapidly diminuishing returns after a few gigs (which can be had for free); conversely, since very few customers will use the full 500 GB, you can easily offer it. And the more the customers use in their first, free year, the better: a customer using 10 or even 20 GB of your online storage service is far more entrenched than one with just 1 GB, and is likely to remain your customer -- now paying -- for a long time. I think it's a fairly dubious offer.

TechVegan

November 29, 2010, 7:35 pm

morsch:


Definitely agree that in general not enough is happening, and agree that the gap between many new netbooks and first-gen ones isn't big enough (though Flash and 720p HD video are now on the menu). I suppose for many, what the average netbook offers is adequate...


Still, there are exceptions, and we should be getting one in soonish :)

Brian Carter

November 29, 2010, 9:17 pm

I still think the screen resolution lets netbooks down. Too many apps are designed for 1024x768.





NB: It may be the case that screens with 1024x768 aren't technically netbooks...but if so that's plain daft as screens get cheaper.

Moggy58

November 30, 2010, 11:52 am

This needs the Atom D525 / Ion 2 combo from the 1215N and a 1366 x 768 resolution + an SSD ala Macbook air or the Seagate hybrid drive.


The Dell Duo looks the most promising Netbook providing the price is reasonable.

ShaunB

November 30, 2010, 1:43 pm

As a long time EEE PC 901 user, I still fail to see any significant improvement over the state of affairs nearly 3 years ago.





Until we get a combination of higher than 1024x600 resolution (with HDMI out please!), usable 720P/flash video and 'day long' battery life in a package that doesn't cost the earth I think I'll stick with what I've got.

scamevoli

November 30, 2010, 10:15 pm

@ShaunB





Agree about the 901. If only I hadn't accidentally thrown mine at the kitchen wall, I'd still be using it today. It really was an accident, by the way. Needed a bigger SSD mind, if only a single 16GB rather than the silly 4+8 arrangement.

Raymark Dormido Albunian

July 14, 2013, 7:18 am

after i reformatted my pc i have a problem with my wifi..

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