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Asus Eee PC 1215N 12in netbook

Dual-core and - oh yes - Nvidia Ion 2

Netbook-plus performance

Beyond Optimus, the 1215N feels like most other Asus Eee netbooks. There's the typically curvy case, decent keyboard and too-stiff-for-comfort trackpad buttons. The battery - a 5200mAh job - is removeable and well integrated into the chassis, though it makes this a fairly thick machine at the back.

Asus Eee PC 1215N

Netbook ports plus a sub-notebook's HDMI jack

Like other Eees, the 1215N comes with 500GB of online storage, though it's free for no more than 12 months - you'll have to pay a fiver a month to maintain it after that time.

Other features of note include a shutter that you can slide over the webcam's lens "to protect you privacy", as Asus has it. Presumably, it fears malware capable of spying through the camera while you're otherwise occupied. With your pr0n collection, perhaps.

The 1215N comes with Express Gate Cloud, a new version of Asus' fast-boot OS - it's ready in ten seconds, or a little bit longer if you wait for the Wi-Fi to connect up. Yes, it's quick, but its slow and clunky, and doesn't run at the display's native resolution. It's a nice idea, perhaps, a fast access system for surfing, but I can't see many folk using this one.

Lacking the simplicity of a netbook spec, the 1215N likewise lacks a netbook's low cost. It retails for £450, but you can find it for a little over £400. That puts it firmly in the sub-notebook band, but here it's up against comparatively priced but more powerful machines from the likes of Dell and HP.

Asus Eee PC 1215N

Those are USB 3.0 - aka SuperSpeed - ports there

From a netbook standpoint, you get something for the extra you pay. Running PCMark 05 and comparing the numbers with those of other Atom-based machines shows the 1215N to be well ahead of the pack when it comes to processor performance - 35 per cent faster than the average - and memory speed. It's hard drive is merely par for the course, mind.

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