It has been a little over a year now since I have stepped in the mobile computing universe I have always been a strong desktop user and didn’t have or in some cases see the need for having a laptop not to mention thier prices which were not all that attractive to begin with, so the closest thing I had to mobile computing was my smartphone.
After purchasing my first mobile computing device my Samsung NC10 which I also wrote about on Geezam.com in a post titled Netbook Misconception – My NC10 Review. My old Samsung NC10 Netbook will be used as the device of reference when pointing out the advances that Netbooks have undergone. I was surprisingly pleased with its overall performance and reliability and how it made my work days so much easier so after a year odd of basking in the Netbook realm I decided to upgrade but not to a Laptop no not at all but to a better Netbook and now I have in my possession the “Asus Eee PC 1015PEM” which is the subject of this review.
Size, camera and ports
At first glance one can see a difference in size (due to the NC10 having a slightly larger 10.2 display) it is not drastically smaller but smaller none-the-less and thus it is also a lighter product so it now takes up less space in my bag and is lighter on my shoulders. When one raises the lid it sports the now common (for Netbooks) 10.1 display with the also now almost standard 0.3 Mega Pixel Web Cam above its LCD. Whats new to me is the physical lens shutter that one can use to completely cover the web cam (for privacy issues I’m sure) I’m paranoid so I had just disabled the Web Cam all together and re-enabled it when the few occasions occur that I may need it. As for connectivity the 1015PEM sports the usual ports, 3 USB ports with the option of converting two of them to USB 3.0, VGA, Ethernet, headset and microphone jacks and a SD Card Reader it also has a lock slot on the right.
With the evolution of mobile technology with Laptops sporting dual, tri and even quad core processors, Netbooks couldn’t manage to be left behind & models like the 1015PEM and most later generation Netbooks, are now also sporting dual core processors and with these new line of processors they can also now support DDR3 Memory.
Operating System and Battery Life
When its booted up it loads Windows 7 Starter versus the traditional Windows XP Home or a distribution of Linux that one would usually find on a Netbook. It boots faster but I don’t think Windows itself necessarily operates any faster (at least to the naked eye) even though it is running on a superior processor and memory. I had less if any “low memory” prompt issues on my NC10 what is apparent though is the increase in battery life from the 4-5 hours that I have become accustomed to, to now around 7-8 hours even though Asus claims that the product can last up to 13 hours I have yet to experience that claim, but that may be due to the fact that I boot and use the machine normally. The 1015PEM has something like a stripped down OS mode which it is able to boot in that makes it look like one of the Linux Netbook OS distributions it seems almost like a Cloud Platform where almost everything is stripped down to just menus I have dabbled a bit in it but due to the programs I use I did not find it efficient so I never actually spent extended time in it.
The keyboard is okay for the most part utilizing spaced keys (due to the use of smaller keys) different from the uniform keys of the NC10 (which is 90 odd percent the size of standard keys) but my main qualm with it is it is a smaller keyboard due to the size of the touch pad which Asus so proudly marketed so now I have a device with larger touchpad and thus slightly smaller more crammed keyboard which may not have been an issue if this was my first Netbook but after getting use to the surprisingly fulfilling feel of the NC10’s keyboard (didn’t expect it from a Netbook due to the device size) it is some what awkward when using this, there is also a redesign or two in terms of keyboard keys layout (which seems unique to Asus) that one will also have to adapt to or possibly be eternally annoyed.
Ultra sensitive touch pad
Then there is a matter of the touch pad even though sporting several multi gesture features the touch pad is almost ridiculously sensitive and if you are one who is use to resting their palms on your device while typing well this touch pad may give you a difficult time. After adjusting the settings to what I deemed a reasonable state to which when my palm brushed against it, it didn’t go haywire, in turn one is now required to make an extra effort to move ones cursor so its can become a win, lose situation for some or a lose, lose for others as for all those who type properly with elevated palms you lot should be okay for the most part but if your palms slightly lower and touch the touchpad at anytime there is a strong chance that your typing may get disrupted.
So overall with the increase in battery life, superior processor & memory, superior connectivity features such as Bluetooth 3.0, USB 3.0, Wifi N and Gigabyte Ethernet port the ability to watch 720p video and flash etc… the path of Netbook evolution is looking promising and it will only get better as technology also evolves.
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