4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The tiny utilitybook!
16 March, 2014
This is my first ever portable 'netbook' after my outdated Acer Aspire 5910G that hardly moved away from my desk because of its bulkiness, heating issues and battery backup.
The 1015E is a highly portable laptop that's packed with adequate features enough to get you through most of the tasks of today and tomorrow. I'm a developer, and this laptop has never failed me in that department. Although this machine happens to be in the 10.1" segment, it is rarely called a netbook because of the power that is packed in it.
For people accustomed to mid/high end devices, it may be a slight disappointment, since its not really the snappiest thing out there, but don't forget that this little beast is a really portable piece of thing that can fetch you around 6 hours of battery backup for what it does! Really good value for money.
Build quality is just about fine. The LCD panel hinge covering came off quite easily when I tried to pull away the transparent lamination around it. Thankfully, I was able to fit it back in without much hassle.
I expected a little more from the keyboard. It isn't very pleasant to type on it, not to mention that it would feel really absurd when you are switching from a bigger laptop to this and vice versa. Also, the keys are a bit too stiff. A few people may like this (I'm a fan of chiclet keys). The keyboard isn't backlit which felt like a major setback for me. From months of (heavy) usage, I happened to break the "O" key. (The tiny plastic projections underneath the key got chipped off and now the key won't get seated in its hinge properly). Sadly, warranty will not cover plastic part damage and/or negligence. I'd advise against prying off the keys even if done for the purpose of cleaning. It's quite fragile there I guess.
There are 83 keys in total. Alts, shifts,ctrl and fn (function) keys come in 2. Special keys: (Controlled by Fn key):-
Volume controls,mute,touchpad toggle,presentation mode,brightness,screen disable,wifi+bluetooth(radio) toggle keys, Sleep mode, num lk, ,scr lk,pageup,pagedown,home,end. There's a context menu key, Windows 8 icon key, pause/break and prnt sc/sys rq all of which are dedicated keys.
What I disliked about the laptop was that it lacked the blinking feature of WiFi (when traffic passes through the wifi) that my old laptop had. Instead, it has a buggy LED that lights up when wifi/bluetooth radio is turned on (can't tell if they both turn on or off and this led doesn't even light up sometimes even when wifi would be on).
The next annoyance is the bad design of touchpad and even the quality. It felt very sub-standard. Being really small in size, it felt uber sensitive sometimes and leads your cursor to dance on the screen and shiver almost all the time. Using the touchpad seemed insanely difficult. The Synaptic driver has some settings that can improve the experience, but just doesn't fix it fully. More annoying is the fact that right click and left click depression areas are a 'part of the touchpad' itself and makes clicking them jerk the cursor off the place you'd want to click/right click, Thus selecting the wrong area on screen. Every now and then, the touchpad will cease to work entirely if there's something on it. I've also had some material on the touchpad worn off, making the area a bit rough.
Display is just about fine. It isn't crisp or really bright, but it feels different than other screens on laptops. The screen doesn't have any lamination or gloss. Hence it gives you good viewing angle and performs well at outdoors or in bright environments. But the matte nature of the screen also means it visibly picks up more dirt and dust that are hard to clean. The screen bezel also seems to attract lots of smudges and visible dust. I think this is because of the fact that the laptop lid does not close tightly enough (There isn't a click or anything).
The maximum resolution supported is 1366x768. That combined with the small 10.1" screen will result in some very tiny text on screen that you might need to get used to.
The screen showed a weird halfway separation of color contrast at different brightness level/gamma. This doesn't seem to be a software issue, since it happens on both linux and windows. Nothing very annoying to me, but it can be to people who do a lot of design work and to people who are obsessed about perfection in general.
Coming to the ergonomics, the laptop rear is comparatively bigger than the tip of the front edges, making the backside of the laptop very uneven. The bulky battery pack is to blame. Air vents are at the back, but the main one is at the left side which also houses the fan. The Intel Celeron 847 processor is a small dual core processor that's powerful enough to run most tasks including hardware accelerated HD video playback and most of the graphics run well thanks to the integrated intel sandy bridge HD 2000 graphics module. Obviously, You won't get very good FPS on demanding graphical applications, but most of the features will at least be supported. (like WebGL etc). This marvelous CPU also supports the VT-x feature that can be beneficial for Virtualization. It only comes with one draw back, it generates quite a lot of heat when it is running above 70% of CPU usage. But the fan does a great job of radiating out the heat and under full stress, it never goes above 90 degrees celsius of reported temperature. (ACPI sensors). I recommend the laptop be kept running around the 60 degrees mark for optimal battery and cpu life altogether.
The device comes in a plain eco friendly packaging with a small charger (2 pin without the earth) and some manuals and ironically, a CD for the drivers (Windows 8 64 bit only).
Overall, I'd recommend this laptop. It's really value for money despite of the quirks. Asus is also known for its durability. I've been using this laptop for above 5 months right now and It's the only device I feel comfortable taking it around. If you are a gamer (even casual) or someone who does lots of design work, stay away from this.
If you are a farsighted person or have any eye defects that make it hard to discern small details, this won't work for you.
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