The US 1201t model doesn’t ship with a Windows OS, only Express Gate and is only available in black.
12.1” 1366 x 768 display (glossy)
AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 processor (1.6GHz single core)
AMD M780G chipset
ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics
250GB HDD (5400 RPM, 2.5” SATA)
VGA, 3x USB 2.0, headphone and microphone jacks, Kensington lock, RJ45, card reader
6-cell battery (5.2 hours)
Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
1.45 kg / 3.2 pounds
295mm x 205mm x 22 – 29mm / 11.6” x 8.1” x 0.87” – 1.14” dimensions
There are three available colors: silver, black and red.
In the box you get a manual, recovery DVD, the 1201T itself and power cable / brick. There is no sleeve included. Packaging is the same as other Eee PCs.
Ports / Layout
Front: Stereo speakers running across the bottom, status lights on the right.
Left: VGA, power, air vent, USB 2.0
Right: card reader (flush), USB 2.0, headphone, mic jacks, USB 2.0, RJ45, Kensington lock
Back: just the battery, almost flush with the chassis but you won’t notice the bulging bits. No SIM card slot behind the battery.
Top: Brushed metal pattern covered with a plastic glossy coating which is pretty good at concealing fingerprints.
Bottom: Unlike the UL20A, you can only access a single RAM slot here on the Eee PC 1201T.
Display is glossy, bright (182 nits) and crystal clear. No subtle anti-glare grit that I found on the 10-inch Eee PCs (1005PE and 1008P-KR). Colors are good, viewing angles average. For indoor use, I found brightness adequate notches 1 – 6 (up to 40% brightness)
Display folded back enough that it didn’t impede getting an optical viewing experience in all the sitting situations I’ve encountered.
Note that I have a Japanese model 1201T so the keyboard layout varies slightly. Punctuation keys are squished in a little, smaller spacebar and a double sized enter key not found on a US keyboard.
Very easy to type on chiclet keyboard that takes up the full width of the chassis. Identical to the one I used on the ASUS UL20A. You’ll find yourself at home right away touch typing with ease with the English keyboards, though this Japanese one I have here takes a little getting used to with the funky sized punctuation keys (large bracket keys, smaller slash keys).
While it is easy to type on it does remind me of some cheaper keyboards on other netbooks due to some flex around the function keys and particularly noticeable on one side. A couple of the function keys sounded off when hit. You can fix most of this by lifting up the keyboard and applying tape so the keyboard does not lift up. There are three notches on the keyboard. Just apply pressure to them to lift up the keyboard.
The Eee PC 1201T sports the same trackpad that you see on all Seashell series netbooks. It’s flush with the trackpad with a subtle dimpled surface to signal the active area. As always it’s nice to use and two fingered scrolling in Windows is quite responsive (or sidebar scrolling in Linux). Trackpad button is a single rocker bar. It’s too stiff though here but at least it’s pretty quiet.
General performance is very good. I don’t notice any of the usual hiccups I usually have on netbooks. I was very worried how performance would be in battery mode but to my surprise it didn’t differ much from performance mode. The reason I was worried is because my first experience with the AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 processor was with the Lenovo ThinkPad X100e and performance on that laptop was really awful on battery mode, even slower than some netbooks.
Processor performance fits in somewhere between netbooks and dual core Intel CULV processors. Here’s a graph of CPU performance with devices of having different processors:
The Eee PC 1201T’s ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics performance tops the Nvidia ION in my single core Acer Aspire Revo R1600 and any Intel GMA offering on CULV notebooks and netbooks. The Nvidia ION is superior to the ATI Radeon HD 3200 but here it’s being bottlenecked with the slower Atom 230 processor. Therefore the Eee PC 1201T should give the best 2D and 3D performance for games compared to most netbooks and low end CULV notebooks. I have not tested the Eee PC 1201N which comes with a core dual Atom 330 + ION graphics. That may provide better 3D performance in games.
Battery life is the major downside to the Eee PC 1201T. While you may get 4 – 6 hours on Intel CULV or some of the Atom / ION powered notebooks you’re looking at around 3 – 4 hours on the 1201T with its 4400mAh, 47Wh 6-cell battery and that’s when you’re being quite frugal with power consumption. I watched close to no videos in these tests below but if I were to hit YouTube I’d expect closer to 3 hours of battery life.
Battery Life Test Settings
3:56 Light web browsing (no YouTube) Auto Power Saving, Wi-Fi / BT ON, 1-5 brightness notches, audio ON
3:36 Light web browsing (no YouTube) Power Saving, Wi-Fi / BT ON, 1-2 brightness notches, audio ON
2:57 480p (DivX) video playback Power Saving, Wi-Fi / BT OFF, 8 brightness notch (53%), audio ON
* Windows hibernates by default at 7% remaining battery life. Results don’t include that remaining figure.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X100e, along with the Eee PC 1201T, both powered by an AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 processor, have the poorest battery life out of the lot (previous notebooks I have reviewed).
The ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics on board the Eee PC 1201T is easily capable of playing back smooth 720p and 1080p HD video in a few formats. CPU usage for both 720p and 1080p seemed to average at 50% CPU usage with dips as low as 30% and spikes as high as 70%.
Now, how about Flash? I tried Flash 10.1 RC1 and tested out some YouTube videos and it seems to have zero effect. Supposedly the ATI Radeon HD 3200 is supported but I’m not seeing a lick of difference. 720p videos are slideshows and not watchable. Even some 480p videos stutter in full screen mode (but smooth windowed). CPU usage is high at around 65% – 100% CPU usage for windowed 480p video.
There is not enough power to smoothly play back 720p and 1080p on a larger display. I tested 720p fullscreen video, on super performance mode, at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200 resolutions and 720p was a little stuttered and not comfortable to watch.
Audio, Webcam and Microphone
Audio quality from the stereo speakers located at the front seems to be exactly the same as on the Asus UL20A which shares an almost identical chassis. The UL20A had Altec Lansing speakers but nothing is mentioned on the Eee PC 1201T yet to my untrained ears they both sound pretty much the same. Satisfying and loud enough. The pre-installed, enabled by default SRS Premium Sound does a nice job of increasing sound quality and I wouldn’t ever turn it off.
Microphone quality is good which I tested in Audacity. A “Acoustic Echo Cancellation” feature is turned on by default and enables your voice to be free of background noises. Works well enough.
The 0.3MP webcam quality is superb with sharp images and a good image even with low lighting. Frame rates were not that fast at 640 x 480.
Size and Weight
I haven’t reviewed other 12-inch notebooks apart from the UL20A and that is pretty much identical to the Eee PC 1201T with a very similar chassis except the power brick is a little bigger here on the Eee PC 1201T.
The Eee PC 1201T weighs 1.45 kg / 3.2 pounds. That’s a little lighter than the UL20A which weighs 1.51 kg / 3.3 pounds. I don’t know what accounts for the difference. Both notebooks share the same 4,400mAh 47Wh 6-cell battery.
Thickness is 22mm / 0.87 inches at the front and reaches 29mm / 1.14 inches at the back, due to the battery slightly protruding downwards. The
The footprint of the Eee PC 1201T is 295mm / 11.6 inches x 205mm / 8.1 inches.
The Eee PC 1201T generally stays pretty cool and there wasn’t any occasion where it ever felt really warm or hot. Here are temperatures I measured running a YouTube video on super performance mode for just over 45 minutes on a hard wooden surface:
The warmest areas are directly above the air vent on the left, so the left palm rest / left keyboard area and directly underneath, which feels warm. Air coming out of air vent also feels warm and reaches 44 C / 111 F. Compared to the Lenovo ThinkPad X100e which is powered by the same platform, this Eee PC 1201T is cooler due to more fan action and doesn’t get as hot – the air coming out of the X100e can actually burn you if you leave your hand on the air vent long enough.
The Eee PC 1201T isn’t quite and I can’t recall a situation where I couldn’t hear the fan apart from when my TV was drowing out the fan noise, though just barely. Under normal usage, fan noise is low but noticeable, and bearable and fan speed only reaches full blast when you start watching flash video or playing games. At the highest fan level it’s bearable too, at least for a couple of hours though If I had to listen to this for half a day I might go crazy, though luckily that’s only when the system is stressed.
Unlike the UL20A, the Eee PC 1201T is limited to only a single RAM slot on the back. To access anything else you’ll have to pry open your 1201T and as with every other Eee PC to date, you’ll most likely have to void your warranty in the process. (I didn’t open it to find out).
According to the technical specs of the Lenovo ThinkPad X100e which runs on the same platform, you’ll be able to support up to 4GB RAM though you’ll need a 64-bit OS for it to be able to recognize more than 3GB RAM.
I tested out Beta 2 of Ubuntu Linux 10.04. Installed no problems straight from Windows with the Wubi installer. Most hardware worked straight out of the box. Wi-Fi was working, though strangely, my router was not detected. Brightness and sound worked as well as their respective shortcut keys. Resume from standby and sleep worked.
Asus Eee PC 1201T Review Summary
Bright, clear display
Good keyboard and trackpad
1080p HD video capable
Performance is greater than a netbook
Better graphics performance over Intel CULVs, netbooks
Cheaper alternative to ASUS UL20A
Silver model is good at hiding fingerprints
Poor battery life (3 – 4 hours)
Can only easily access RAM, not HDD or Wi-Fi
A little noisy when stressed
Power brick larger than other Eee PC bricks