It seems everyone is enamored with the Nvidia Ion-powered HP Mini 311–and rightfully so. This graphics chip has changed the game for mini-notebooks, enabling full HD video playback, mainstream 3D games, and even video editing chops without adding too much cost. And while we’ve yet to review the Ion-enabled Samsung N510 or Lenovo IdeaPad S12, ASUS’ new entry could trump them all.
Today we got a first look at the Eee PC 1201N, which will sell for $499 with Windows 7 Premium. This 12.1-inch system looks a lot like a larger 1008HA, a design we like. It’s a sleek 1.3 inches thick, only 3.2 pounds, and sports the same dimpled trackpad as the 1008HA but the chiclet-style keyboard seen on the 1000HE.
The port spread is standard but includes HDMI for attaching the 1201N to a high-def monitor or TV. With this GPU and the addition of Flash 10.1, owners will be able to output full 1080p video from the 1201N and watch full screen HD Hulu and YouTube clips without a hitch, as we’ve proven.
In addition to the Ion GPU there’s an intriguing CPU: a dual core Intel Atom N330. This processor is usually found in nettops, and we’re psyched to see how this processor will affect performance and battery life. Add in 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive and you have a very well equipped machine for $499. In fact, the 1201N costs $80 less than a similarly configured HP Mini 311, and that netbook has a single-core processor.
This is shaping up to be one compelling Ion netbook.
ASUS Eee PC 1201N Specs:
The 1201N will also come with ArcSoft SimHD, which upscales standard definition video content to high definition, according to the ASUS press release. What remains to be seen is how energy-efficient the 1201N’s Atom 330 processor is; the Mini 311′s single core Atom N270 processor saw 4 hours and 45 minutes of runtime on Windows 7 Premium.
Check out the images and hands-on video below and tell us how you think the 1201N stacks up to the Mini 311. Update: the full review of the Eee PC 1201N is now live. The short verdict? Fastest netbook ever.