Intel's new dual-core Atom CPU stars in Asus' latest Seashell netbook
Asus kickstarted the whole netbook craze back in 2007, but it hasn't rested on its laurels since. Its netbooks have continued to impress, and the latest addition to the firm's Seashell range of netbooks is no exception.
The 1015PEM makes a very good first impression. Its curvy chassis has a clean, bright, white finish all over (aside from the black screen surround), and the whole thing looks elegant and expensive. It isn't the daintiest netbook, measuring a fairly chunky 36.5mm at its thickest point, and weighing 1.27kg, but build quality is solid; for us, it strikes a good balance between portability and hardiness.
The clean white finish extends to the Scrabble-tile keyboard, and while you'll have to work hard at keeping it clean, it's generally a pleasure to use. The keys feel comfortable under the hand and the touchpad is extremely responsive too. Even the addition of a rocker-style button doesn't detract from the usability, which is impressive given they're usually one of our pet peeves.
Internally, the line-up of components is as you'd expect, with one of the latest Intel's 1.5GHz dual-core Atom N550 processors, and 1GB of DDR3 RAM on board. Applications run smoothly in Windows 7, and the addition of the dual-core technology means that it's noticeably more responsive when running multiple applications than a single-core Atom. The overall benchmark score of 0.42 indicates, however, there still isn't much raw power on tap.
There's plenty of storage, with a generous 250GB hard disk, and the 10.1in 1024 x 600 matte-finish screen is bright and clear too, but it's the 1015PEM's range of connections that really stands out. There are two USB 3 ports (a first for netbooks) one USB 2 port, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11bgn Wi-Fi. Asus doesn't scrimp on the battery either, with a six-cell 5200mAh battery in place, going for an impressive 9hrs 5mins in our light-use test.
It's hard to fault this stylish little netbook: it delivers on all fronts and it comes in a good price too. At $475, the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM is an excellent choice for anyone looking for style and performance without breaking the bank.