The Asus Eee PC 1018P and 1015P both use a chiclet-style keyboard, offering keys that are more discretely spaced than the Eee PC 1001 and 1008 models. It’s similar in style to the popular Asus Eee Pad Transformer’s keyboard accessory, with the aluminium coating lending it a similar level of build quality.
The action of the keys isn’t quite up to the best netbooks from Lenovo, for example, lacking a little definition, but at over 90 percent of full size, typing is not significantly slowed down compared to a desktop keyboard. Once the initial learning curve has been surmounted, that is. As is standard for a netbook, secondary functions are mapped to the F-keys, from switching Wi-Fi on and off to changing volume and disabling the trackpad.
Its trackpad is something heavily influenced by the Eee PC 1018P’s style pretentions. It features an attractive brushed-metal finish but the buttons aren’t separate – instead a mostly seamless part of the pad itself. The button area is textured with raised dots to tell your digits when they’re in the right place though. There’s no divide between the left and right buttons either. We found this compromise easy to live with and comfy to use, but if you’re terribly picky about your trackpads, this may prove a turn-off.
The speakers are built-into the Eee PC 1018P’s metal hinge, freeing the keyboard surface from having to be pitted with any speaker outlets. Sound is weak and reedy, not helped by the angle of the speaker in normal usage – it points upwards, not towards you. With volume maxed-out there’s no distortion, which is something, but for all but the occasional YouTube clip, you’ll want to plug in a pair of headphones or speakers.
The Asus Eee PC 1018p has a 10.1in screen, the bog-standard size for today’s tablets and netbooks. It’s an LED-backlit model using a 1024×600 pixel panel, which looks increasingly low-res now that tablets like the Motorola Xoom and convertible Asus Eee Pad Transformer have upped the tablet resolution bar to 1280×800. When the Eee PC 1018p’s RRP is around £349, this spec is starting to look decidedly old hat.
The display suffers from contrast shift when viewed from significant horizontal and vertical angles, but within normal limits performance is more than acceptable. There’s plenty of brightness on tap and little colour shift. It’s a solid, if unspectacular performance.