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Thinner Lighter Better

Asus X101CH EEE PC unboxing – first look at a 2012 netbook

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on June 4, 2014

If you for some reason thought netbooks are dead and buried, you were wrong. Yes, they’re not riding the wave like a couple of years ago, but tens of millions of these little babies left the shops in 2011. Asus will continue its presence on this market in 2012, and one of their new 10 inchers to hit the stores early next year is the Asus EEE PC X101CH.

You’re probably already familiar with the Asus X101H, their cheapest, slimmest and lightest Windows powered netbook right now. Well, the X101CH is its direct successor, boosting a new Intel Cedar Trail Atom platform and a couple of design and architectural changes. The unit I just got is a testing sample, but 99% identical to what we’re going to find in shops around the world by February 2012.

On the exterior, the new 10 incher is pretty much identical to the current X101 line, the only notable difference being the matte screen’s bezel, a long time awaited change. There’s the same textured matte case, the same bottom with no memory access bay , the same keyboard and the same trackpad. However, on the left side you now get a HDMI port, and that means this fellow can output HD video content towards a bigger display.

The goodies are actually inside, as this one boosts a new platform, with a dual-core Intel Atom N2600 CPU clocked at 1.6 GHz, new and more powerful Intel Graphics, 1 GB of memory and 320 GB HDD. You also get Wireless N, Bluetooth and the platform runs on Windows 7 Starter. The bundle is completed with a 3 Cell 23 Wh 2200 mAh battery. The Atom N2600 is one of Intel’s new entry level CPUs, meant to provide decent performances and efficiency for budget devices like this one.

New Asus X101CH EEE PC - a cheap netbook for 2012, with a new Intel platform inside

New Asus X101CH EEE PC – a cheap netbook for 2012, with a new Intel platform inside

Now, for an unboxing, I can’t tell you much on performances, so look for more articles in the next days, I’m going to run some benchmarks and put together some comparisons with current generation Intel Atom PineTrail processors, but also with AMD’s Ontario platforms for netbooks. Based on a first impression though, the X101CH ain’t very slow (especially when compared to the single core Atoms that equip current cheap netbooks) and it can handle pretty well 720p video content from Youtube, while 1080p clips were a bit sluggish. However, as you can see in the video bellow, I’ve ran those on Internet Explorer on a brand new out-of-the box PC, with all the preinstalled bloatware in place. Once I get rid of the unneeded software and install Chrome, performance should actually get considerably better.

Of course, the X101CH might not seem like a big upgrade over the X101 line, but this is probably going to be Intel’s cheapest EEE PC in 2012. The X101 is hardly available in the States now and prices started for around $220 when it was. My money are on a $199 price tag for the X101CH, but maybe not with this processor. This particular config is going to land in Europe for about 220-230 euros, and is probably going to replace the Asus 1011PX/PXD lines, just under the EEE PC 1025C/CEs, Asus’s premium 10 inchers in the near future.  And a decently fast 10 incher for under $250, maybe less, still sounds good, as I’m sure many of you still need inexpensive laptops even today.

Of course, the Asus EEE PC X101CH and netbooks in general are no longer meant for established markets, so while Americans or Europeans might rather get a faster 11.6 or 12 inch mini laptop, shoppers in developing countries from Asia, Africa or Eastern Europe are still going to look for budget netbooks next year, and probably in the years to come.

That’s about it for now, but look forward for the tests and the review available in the next days. Till then, check out my video unboxing and a couple of pictures below.

And some pictures:

Andrei Girbea, aka "Mike", Editor-in-Chief at TLBHD.com. I absolutely hate carrying around heavy stuff, that's why I'm fond of mini-laptops and portable computers. I'm primarily using such devices and have been testing them for many years now. Get in touch in the comments section below.

12 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    December 11, 2011 at 8:46 am

    On the Flash video performance, mind that Flash video for ATOMs still lack hardware acceleration.  Mostly because most Intel ATOM’s don’t have a GMA that supports it but Adobe only added support for GMA 500 back in February and have yet to add support for the newer GMA 3600/3650. 

    So though Cedar Trail should support hardware acceleration for Flash it may still be awhile before it gets it as they are still perfecting the drivers for the new GMA and Adobe has always been slow with updates. 

    Meaning Flash video performance will be limited to what the CPU cores can provide and the N2600 seems to be closer to the N550 rather than the N570 in most early test results.  Possibly because it’s intended for low power usage.  So don’t expect the performance to improve that much once you optimize the system.

    • Mike

      December 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

      Thanks James. I didn’t know there’s no Flash GPU acceleration for Cedar Trail either, so that makes my Youtube “tryout” a failure :(. Will test some self-stored clips for the review though, that’s for sure.

  2. chippy

    December 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Looking forward to seeing how efficient this baby is. Interesting that it’s a sealed battery unit. Is it still under 1kg in weight.

    • Mike

      December 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      It’s not sealed, you can remove it. Check out the clip at 3:40 .

      As for the tests, I’m running them right now and will post them tomorrow 😉

      • chippy

        December 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm

        If you get a chance, ping me as I want to follow up on Umpcportal. Good luck!

      • Mike

        December 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm

        sure, will do

    • Anonymous

      December 12, 2011 at 12:12 am

      The weight wasn’t indicated on the box, along with no documentation, and there has yet to be any official announcement made on full range of specs, but it’s likely about the same weight as the previous X101H hard drive version and that should put it right on, or barely above, the 1KG mark.

      Only the thinner SSD model dropped below 1KG.  While the initial price suggestion released back in November put it at either £ 213.74 or € 249, including VAT.

      One thing I noticed right away from watching the video is that Mike got a WEI score of 3.3!  If you recall the results shown for the 1025C and other models using the N2600 that the WEI score for them was only 2.9 for comparison.

      Though WEI scores are of course not very accurate, but a 0.4 score increase is quite a jump.  So it should be interesting how the rest of those test pan out and perhaps figure out what Asus did to improve the score by that much, assuming of course it wasn’t just a fluke.

      While this new model is only missing the RAM access panel, which likely means the RAM is soldered.  Something that Asus is known to still do for their low cost models, along with using combo audio/mic jack and 2 USB ports insteads of 3.

      • Mike

        December 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

        I don’t have an electronic scale, but i’ll try to get one to measure the weight. I’d say about 1 kilo, but there’s no way to know that for sure.

        I don’t know yet if I’m alowed to open the back to check out the architecture, but I’ll ask the guys at Asus and get back.

  3. Seregaborisov

    February 2, 2012 at 11:17 am

    N2600 was designed to be fanless.

    is this netbook  fanless?

    • Mike

      February 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      yes it is

      • Seregaborisov

        February 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm

        Thanks Mike.

        I thought about an SSD for my HP mini, but now,
        the new processor and a 3-cell battery + ssd (and the upcomming less energy consuming windows 8), in terms of runtime on batery will possibly  be very close to the older 455 processor with a 6-cell + HDD.
        It a diffent budget, but for me it seems to be a perfect companion.

        I thuoght about a 3-cell battery vs 6-cell.
        Additional weight disbalances the weight distribution. The cone shape of the macbook air and hp mini seems  to use this disbalance with a good effect. When you grab the divice, it’s shape forces you to place your fingers where the heavy part – the battery, is.

  4. zeebra

    December 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Hi,

    Is X101CH running very quietly? I read your reviews about 1025c/1025ce which are quiet overall but whose hard drive cranks sometimes. How often do they crank? Does x101ch have an audible turning hard drive? Which one is quieter over all?

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