Asus Eee PC 1201HA: Design & Usability
The Asus Eee PC 1201HA has a glossy piano black exterior, and almost resembles a larger version of the Eee PC 1008HA. Unlike the seashell Eee PC 1101HA, which has an all-white exterior, the Eee PC 1201HA is a big fingerprint magnet owing to its darker colour.
The build quality of the Asus Eee PC 1201HA is average - not too bad, not too great either, but acceptable. The 12.1in LED-backlit glossy screen supports a widescreen resolution of 1366x768 pixels, and it has good horizontal viewing angles. The Eee PC 1201HA's screen isn't very bright (at full brightness), unfortunately, and this leads to easy distractions through reflected objects. The netbook weighs a comfortable 1.4kg.
The Asus Eee PC 1201HA's keyboard and touchpad are a bit of a mixed bag, though. The Eee PC 1201HA's keyboard is unlike any other we've seen in the past from Asus: the keyboard sports isolated, chiclet-styled keys very similar to the ones we saw on the 10in MSI Wind U135 netbook.
The keyboard definitely isn't as great as previous Eee PCs (1101HA, 1008HA, or 1000HE), in terms of typing and feedback, and is a step back overall. But the keys are well laid out on the Asus Eee PC 1201HA and its slightly larger form factor aids typing.
Personally, we prefer the keyboard on earlier Eee PCs than the one deployed on the Asus Eee PC 1201HA - but it's just me. The touchpad, despite its smaller size, is well textured and quite good for day-to-day usage. Like the Acer Aspire One 751h and 532h netbooks, the touchpad on the Asus Eee PC 1201HA is gesture enabled: you can zoom in or out of images, rotate them, scroll through pages - and it all works well. The 1.3MP webcam (grooved into the top screen bezel) is good for capturing images or video chatting.
Asus Eee PC 1201HA: Features and Specs
The Asus Eee PC 1201HA, like our other Intel Atom-based 12in netbook recommendations, is based on an Intel Atom Z520 1.3GHz processor. But it comes with 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive - unlike the 1GB RAM and 160GB storage combo offered by the Eee PC 1101HA. The Eee PC 1201HA also bundles in free 500GB of extra online storage through Asus WebStorage for a year - after which you have to pay a premium for the service, if required. If you have a high-speed broadband connection the online web storage makes sense, but otherwise forget it.
There are three USB ports, two audio jacks, a multicard reader, VGA-out port, and an ethernet port are situated along the Eee PC 1201HA's chassis' edge. It comes with Wi-Fi Draft-N connectivity and Bluetooth, but no Gigabit ethernet. The Asus Eee PC 1201HA doesn't include an HDMI port either, unlike the MSI Wind12 U210 netbook, and for good reason. Unlike the Eee PC 1101HA, which ran on Windows XP SP3 Home edition, the Eee PC 1201HA comes with Windows 7 Starter edition. Overall, the Eee PC 1201HA comes with standard netbook features, nothing out of the ordinary.
Asus Eee PC 1201HA: Performance
The extra gigabyte of RAM actually helped slightly boost the Asus Eee PC 1201HA's performance - but not by much. Its WorldBench 6 score was higher than the Eee PC 1101HA's but PC Mark 05 and 3D Mark 06 scores were comparatively lower.
The Asus Eee PC 1201HA also couldn't quite handle HD 720p video playback, but standard videos played just fine. Having said that, like any other netbook, the Eee PC 1201HA had no problem multitasking with browsing the Web, listening to music, and working on spreadsheets at the same time. Audio from the speakers (placed under the Eee PC 1201HA's front lip) is just about good - we recommend headphones.
The Asus Eee PC 1201HA comes with various performance presets - super, high, and power saving mode. Switching between various modes doesn't have any impact on the Eee PC 1201HA's performance, except battery life. In our synthetic benchmarks, its six-cell battery lasted 4 hours 37 minutes - expect over 7 hours on a conservative battery plan, which is still lesser than the Eee PC 1101HA's outrageous battery life.
The Asus Eee PC 1201HA sells for £349 inc VAT. And the choice you have to make couldn't be more simpler: if you desire good looks, modest performance, and amazing battery life, you should buy the Eee PC 1101HA. But if you desire greater RAM and storage space and the latest Windows 7 operating system on your netbook, go for the Asus Eee PC 1201HA.