Today we are going to analyse a netbook from ASUS, the Eee PC 1201T, which has a 12.1" screen with 1366×768 native resolution, AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 CPU, 2 GB RAM, and 250 GB hard drive. Check it out!
The concept of a netbook was practically created by ASUS with the Eee PC family. The idea was simple: to sell a portable and inexpensive computer, so people who couldn’t afford a laptop could finally have one. Three significant design changes were made, all aiming to reduce the final price: the screen size was reduced, the optical drive was removed, and a cheaper CPU was used (commonly a low-consuption one, like the Intel Atom and AMD Neo). Then other manufacturers began to sell mobile computers under the same classification, sometimes calling them "ultrathin laptops", using larger screens and more expensive CPUs.
The Eee PC 1201T is based on the AMD RS780NM chipset and it comes with the AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 CPU (1.6 GHz, 65 nm technology, 512 KB L2 cache, and 15 W TDP). Obviously, this CPU main focus is power saving, not performance, as you can expect from an Eee PC mobile computer, which main attractive is its price, not computing power. The operating system that comes installed is the Windows 7 Starter; we will write about it later. The package (shown in Figure 1) has a briefcase-like design.
In Figure 2, you can see the accessories that come with the Eee PC 1201T. Besides the power supply, it comes only with manuals and a system recovery CD.
In Figure 3 you can see the Eee PC 1201T, with its lid closed.
In the next pages we will analyse the Eee PC 1201T in detail.
At the front side of the Eee PC 1201T we only have the status LEDs, indicating power, battery in charge, hard disk drive activity, wireless activity, and caps lock. The lid doesn’t have a latch.
At the right side, you can see the memory card reader (compatible only with SD and MMC cards) that comes with a dummy card inserted, two USB 2.0 ports, earphones and microphone connectors (no SPDIF output available), the Gigabit Ethernet port, and an anti-theft lock ("Kensington").
In Figure 6, you can check the Eee PC 1201T rear side. Most of this panel is occupied by the battery and, without it, we could see only its connector.
In Figure 7, you can see the right side of the computer, with a VGA output, power supply connector, cooling vents, and a USB 2.0 port. There is no HDMI port, which is one of the biggest flaws of this product.
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In Figure 8, you can see the ASUS Eee PC 1201T opened. The 12.1" LED-backlit screen has a 1366×768 native resolution, which is a big difference to most netbooks that have a 10.1" screen with 1024×600 resolution. At the top of the screen there is a 0.3 Mpixel (VGA, i.e. 640×480) webcam.
The Eee PC 1201T uses a full-sized keyboard, even though the computer is very small. The touchpad, located just below the keyboard, is small but with a simple usage, having a texturized surface. There are two buttons above the keyboard, the right one is the power button and the left one turns the touchpad on or off, which is good if you are using an external mouse.
In Figure 9, you can see the botton panel of the Eee PC 1201T, which has only a small hatch to access the memory socket.
In Figure 10, you can see the Eee PC 1201T battery, a 10.8 V, 4400 mAh model.
Now let’s see the inside of the ASUS Eee PC 1201T.
[nextpage title=”Inside the ASUS Eee PC 1201T”]
In Figure 11, you can see the bottom hatch opened, giving access to the only memory socket of the unit. So, there is no way to install a second memory module. ASUS didn’t inform how much memory the Eee PC 1201T supports. Another problem is that you can’t enable dual channel memory access, since there is only one memory socket.
In Figure 12, you can see the 2 GB DDR2-800 (PC2-6400) Hynix memory module that comes installed in the product.
In order to access the motherboard and even the hard disk drive, it is necessary to completely disassemble the netbook. The first step is to remove the keyboard. Then, removing the top cover, you can access the motherboard, as you can see in Figure 13. The chipset and the CPU are on the other side of the motherboard.
[nextpage title=”Inside the ASUS Eee PC 1201T (Cont’d)”]
In Figure 14, you can see the 250 GB hard disk drive that comes in the Eee PC 1201T, a Seagate Momentus 5400.6, with 5400 rpm, 8 MB cache and SATA-300 interface.
In Figure 15 you can see the wireless 802.11 b/g/n mini PCI Express card.
In Figure 16 you can see the Eee PC 1201T motherboard, with the cooler still in place.
In Figure 17, you can check the motherboard with the cooler removed, where you can see the processor, the chipset and the memory socket.
[nextpage title=”Using the Eee PC 1201T”]
The ASUS Eee PC 1201T proved to be very practical to use. The keyboard is equivalent in size to the ones found in laptops with 14" screens, and typing is smooth and comfortable.
The 12.1" LED-backlit screen with 1366×768 resolution is excellent, being clear, bright and with nice-looking colors. Unlike most portables with 10" screens, the higher resolution available on the Eee PC 1201T lets you to surf the web without the need to roll the screen to the right and to the left all the time, and makes some tasks like photo viewing and editing easier. However, the relatively small screen with a high resolution can be a problem if you have sight problems, mostly if you use it far from your eyes.
The AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 CPU, although not being focus on performance, proved to be agile in simple tasks, like text editing and web surfing. At no moment at all we felt the computer "sluggish".
The integrated video, generated by the chipset, is based on the Radeon HD 3200 engine (DirectX 10.1-compatible), with good performance, keeping in mind this is not a computer to play games.
The operating system that comes with the Eee PC 1201T is the Windows 7 Starter. This version is very practical for general use. Unlike the Windows XP Starter and the Vista Starter, it has no limit on the number of open applications, which makes it usable in the real world. The main limitations of this version are the lack of the Aero graphical interface, the inability of changing the wallpaper (which has no point, being actually a disrespect to the consumer), the lack of multi monitor support, and the inability of changing users without logging off. These limitations are no big deal in an operating system that is targeted to basic usage on a simple netbook.
The computer comes with some programs preinstalled. There are demo versions of the Office 2007 and Trend Micro Security. The Eee PC 1201T also comes with the TotalMedia Theatre 3 DVD player (which has questionable utility in a computer with no optical drive, but it is included because Windows 7 Starter has no support for playing DVDs), Windows Live, Microsoft Works, Skype, and some games and utilities from ASUS. Some of those programs are useful and most them don’t cause problems. So, you can say the Eee PC 1201T comes ready for basic usage, as long as you get an office suite and an antivirus program, or buy the licenses for the ones that come installed.
The major issue of this netbook is the lack of an HDMI port, which could allow you to connect it to a high-definition TV using the highest video and audio quality possible. We also missed an eSATA port.
Battery time was reasonable, lasting for about four hours of web surfing.
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The main specifications for the ASUS Eee PC 1201T netbook include:
- Processor: AMD Athlon Neo MV-40
- Chipset: AMD RS780MN
- Memory: One 2 GB DDR2-800/PC2-6400 module from Hynix
- Hard disk: 250 GB Seagate Momentus 5400.6, 5400 rpm, 8 MB cache, and SATA-300 interface
- Optical drive: No
- Video card: Radeon HD 3200, produced by the chipset
- Sound card: Controlled by the chipset with the aid of a Realtek codec (model not informed), no SPDIF output
- LAN: Gigabit Ethernet, controlled by an Atheros AR8132 chip, connected to the system using one PCI Express x1 lane
- Wireless: 802.11b/g/n, controlled by a Realtek RTL8191SE chip, connected to the system using one PCI Express x1 lane
- Fax/dial-up modem: No
- Operating system: Windows 7 Starter
- Extra features: Webcam (0,3 Megapixel, VGA, 640 x 480), memory card reader (SD, MMC)
- Included accessories: Power supply
- Weight: 3.22 lbs (1,46 kg)
- Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.2 x 1.3 inches (296 x 208 x 33.3 mm)
- More information: http://www.asus.com
- Average price in the US: We couldn’t find this product being sold in the US on the day we published this article
The ASUS Eee PC 1201T is part of a new category of laptops. Having the great mobility of the netbooks with 10" screens and the same screen resolution of heavier laptops with 14" displays, it comes to fill a gap in the value portable computer segment. The low-comsuption CPU was adequated, bringing enough power for general computing while giving a good battery time.
The biggest flaws of this model are the lack of an HDMI port and the poor upgradeability, thanks to the absence of a second memory socket and the difficult access to the hard disk drive.
Its strong points are the reasonable performance for web surfing and text editing tasks, plus the good screen resolution.
In short, the ASUS Eee PC 1201T is a good option if you are looking for a netbook and you have no need for an HDMI port and do not intend to upgrade it.