Friday, June 17, 2011

ASUS Eee PC 1015b

The Eee PC 1015b uses one of AMD’s latest creations, the C-30 processor. Technically, this is an "Accelerated Processing Unit" (APU) which combines a traditional CPU and graphics processing unit (GPU) on a single chip. The C-30 features integrated AMD Radeon graphics and is rated for very low power consumption. The C-30 has just one processing core, which is not promising, and having just 1GB of RAM will also hurt performance. Windows 7 Starter is a limited functionality version of Windows 7; even at this price, ASUS should have used Home Premium or increased the price accordingly to include it.

Our ASUS Eee PC 1015b-MU17 review unit has the following specifications:

* 10.1-inch display with anti-glare coating (1024x600)
* Windows 7 Starter Edition (32-bit)
* AMD C-30 single-core processor (1.2GHz, 512kb cache, 9W TDP)
* AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics; HDMI out
* 250GB 5400RPM Western Digital hard drive (WD2500BPVT)
* Atheros AR9285 802.11n wireless LAN
* No internal Bluetooth
* No internal optical drive
* 6-cell li-ion battery (56Wh)
* 1-year limited warranty
* Weight: 2.8 lbs.
* Dimensions: 10.3 x 7 x 1.4 inches
* MSRP: $289.99

Build and Design
The 1015b is part of the ASUS Eee PC "Seashell" series; it does not look as blocky as older Eee PC designs. This netbook has a rather generic look and feel; it is 100% black plastic. The matte finish the palm rest and lid is appreciated; the glossy plastic in the keyboard surround and the screen bezel is not as it gets smudged and scratched easily. Matte plastic is significantly more durable and easier to clean. The 1015b's exterior has no notable design features; it is not bad looking but certainly does not win any style points.

The 1015b is constructed entirely out of plastic. The plastic feels thin; I was able to produce numerous rattles by tapping on the palm rest with my fingernail. The fit and finish could use some work; most of the edges where parts come together are rough. Generally the chassis feels sturdy and resists flexing. The lid of the netbook, on the other hand, is not well made; it flexes too easily and pushing in from the back yields ripples on the screen. Something annoying about the screen is that it does not tilt back far enough, only about 15-20 degrees past vertical.

In terms of upgrade capabilities, the 1015b has little going for it. The access panel on the bottom of the chassis only holds the single RAM slot; upgrading the hard drive requires taking the netbook apart. RAM upgrades are limited since the C-30 processor only has a single-channel memory controller. Overall the build quality needs improvement; thicker plastic with smoother edges would do it.
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