Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Asus Eee PC 1001P

Ever since I had the HP Mini 110-3000sa, I was thinking about the goodness about netbooks. I do understand that although they are cheap, there are many restrictions on a laptop particularly in the raw power - most of the current netbooks are fitted with Atom N450 or N455 cpus and rarely you have any netbooks fitted with the newest Atom N550 or Atom D525.

Recently, I have acquired an Asus Eee PC 1001P and I want to see how good is the Asus branded netbook since they pride themselves with their so called Super Hybrid Engine with up to 12 hours of juice with one singel charge.

Now, before I start reviewing the machine, it is just right to talk about the specification of the netbook. Here I have an Asus Eee PC 1001P (there's a sticker at the back which states that it is a 1001P). However, when I use CPU-Z, it gave me a different model - 1005P! Well, I don't think there is any significant difference between those two models though.

From the very first moment of using the Eee PC, I do feel that the casing itself is very sturdy. I could not find any cracking noise on the netbook at all. It is a pity that the 1001P did not come with a dual core Atom and a dedicated graphics card. It will be perfect by then. However, if that were to happen, it might have shorten the life of the 1001P's battery on a single charge.

Coming back to the Eee PC 1001P, it is powered by an Atom N450 with 1GB of DDR2 memory. I have since upgrade to 2GB and I could feel that there is a bump up on the machine's responses. It is also armed with a 160GB SATA hard drive and the usual 3xusb 2 ports, VGA out, microphone jack, headphone jack, SD/MMC card reader, 10.1" screen and a set of not-so-nice-feeling keyboard. Asus could have installed a chicklet type of keyboard on the 1001P but I guess it will cost them more to do so.

For the price of £200, you do get a 0.3MP front facing camera with internal microphone beside the digital camera and a pair of stereo speakers in front. There is also a Kensington lock for your disposal. At the back sits a 6 cell battery which last me for 12 hours. I did not watch any videos via usb stick but mostly using Microsoft Office applications and surfing the internet including watching some youtube presentation.

If you are thinking of a road warrior, the Asus 1001P might be just the one you need. A single charge will last you for more than 10 hours (in my case, 12 hours) which I ran Windows XP on it throughout the whole process. You do not need to take the charger with you although the charger is just tiny (less than 200g).

As per usual, the Atom N450 proven to be a better chipset than its predecessor (e.g. N270/N280). I could see the difference as I had the opportunity to compare the 1001P with a Samsung NC10 which uses the N270 cpu. Nevertheless, the better GMA 3150 GPU performed much better than the GMA 950 on the Samsung NC10 though. Watching youtube videos on 360p or 480p does not post any problems but do not watch anything above that pixels as you will experience freezing on your 1001P. I think that is why Asus came up with their latest incarnation - the Asus 1215N running on the Nvidia Ion 2 GPU. I have yet to review that netbook but I hope to do so soon.

As I have most of the Asus software removed or disabled, I have left Asus' Super Hybrid Engine (SHE) enabled. It is supposed to help me to conserve the battery depending on the mode of which I am using. I have always left it on the Power Saving mode all the time unless the machine is connected to an external monitor where it will authomatically turn to High Performance Mode instead of Power Saving Mode. You could also choose Super Performance Mode and Auto Performance Mode. The latest software version for the SHE is 1.22. There are higher firmware for the SHE but it is for machines running on Windows 7. According to some research which I have read on the internet, Power Saving Mode will reduce the clockspeed of the 1001P to around 800mhz while under High Performance Mode, it will sustain the 1001P's clockspeed to 1.6Ghz while on Super Performance Mode, it will tend to overclock the machine to 1.7Ghz.

Obviously if you choose to select the Super Performance Mode, you will see that your battery will not be able to last as long as when you select the ' Power Saving Mode'. There is an alternative though. You could select 'Auto Mode' for the best of both worlds. Well, ever since I am on the 'Power Saving Mode' all the time, I would not be bothered with other modes. If I were to change the mode of the SHE, I will select 'High Performance Mode' and bypass 'Auto Mode'.

I am just quite happy with the performance of the battery. In fact, I do think that Asus should release more netbooks with longer running batteries! I think so far the 1000 series is doing fine. The 1200 series could only manage around 8 hours but I think that is sufficient though.

There would be no problem for you to connect your 1001P to an external monitor which I have done before although by doing so the SHE will change the power mode to 'High Performance Mode'. That is odd but nonetheless I found not problems.

Overall, I have no issues with the 1001P netbook. It is quite quiet apart from the fan which is audible when it kicks in to cool the CPU. The only issue I had with the 1001P is the upgrade of the netbook's hard disk. Since you need to dissemble the whole of the back portion of the 1001P, it is not upgrade friendly at all as compared to the HP Mini 110-3000sa which I had before. The only thing which is user friendly is the RAM component where you can upgrade the existing 1GB of DDR2 memory to 2GB DDR2 memory with the removal of a screw at the back. It comes with a 'quick switched on' button above the keyboard on the left hand side but I have not tried it at all. I think using the normal power on button is sufficient for me.

The last question of whether the 1001P is a recommended netbook? I think it is, actually. I like it very much saved for the screen size. It is just ideal for travelling without hanging on to the wall socket all the time.

24/2/2011 - I have been using it for some time now and I do feel that it should have a bluetooth adaptor. It does not come with a bluetooth adaptor although there is a bluetooth connector. I will be interested to know whether the bluetooth will work if I can acquire a compatible bluetooth adaptor for it. Feeling this, I am tempted to get a Samsung NF210 which has everything  - Dual core N550 cpu, bluetooth 3.0, wifi-N (up to 72Mbps by users), 250GB of hard drive and Intel X3150 gpu for £300. Sounds good?

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