Asus Eee PC 1018P

The Asus Eee PC 1018P is a premium 10-inch netbook first glimpsed at CeBIT 2010. It runs on the new Intel Atom N470 1.83-GHz processor and integrates unique features like a fingerprint reader and USB 3.0 support.

Design

Part of Asus’ seashell netbook series, the Asus Eee PC 1018P is the slimmest Eee PC till date — it measures a mere 0.7-inch in thickness. Not quite “size zero” like the Sony VAIO X, but still one of the slimmest netbooks around. The Eee PC 1018P has a brushed aluminum finish on its screen lid, bezel, and palmrest and a textured plastic bottom panel. For a slim netbook the Eee PC 1018P is very well built and weighs 1.1-kg (with a 4-cell battery). Unfortunately, because of its black color the Asus Eee PC 1018P invariably attracts fingerprints and smudges — predominantly on its screen lid. Despite that, the seashell Eee PC 1008P will appeal to buyers looking for a slim, premium-looking netbook.

Usability

The Asus Eee PC 1018P comes with a 10.1-inch glossy LED-backlit widescreen display (1024×600 resolution). Compared to a matte screen (like the ones found on the Sony VAIO M and HP Mini 110-1106vu), the Eee PC 1018P’s glossy screen is better for watching movies and videos.

The seashell Eee PC 1018P netbook has a similar keyboard layout as the Asus Eee PC 1008P sporting chiclet-styled isolated keys. The Eee PC 1018P’s keyboard definitely doesn’t match up to the one found on the Lenovo Ideapad S10-3 and Dell Inspiron Mini 10; the Eee PC 1018P’s keyboard deck flexes while typing furiously and it definitely takes a while getting used to. On the other hand, the netbook’s touchpad has a fine metallic finish and works just fine; no complaints from the touchpad’s accompanying mouse button strip either.

Features

Like the Sony VAIO M, the Asus Eee PC 1018P comes with a higher-clocked Intel Atom N470 processor, running at 1.83-GHz, compared to the Intel Atom N450. Additionally the netbook has 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and onboard Intel GMA 3150 graphics processor.

The seashell Asus Eee PC 1018P bundles some unique features — two of its three USB ports support the faster USB 3.0 standard (USB 3.0 supports 4.8Gbps compared to USB 2.0’s 480Mbps) with sleep-charging of USB-powered devices. The netbook also features a fingerprint reader and Bluetooth 3.0 support. We haven’t seen such features on any netbook till date, not even the ones in our Top 5 Netbooks list. The Asus Eee PC 1018P also bundles in Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. The netbook doesn’t miss out on the usual offering of a card reader, VGA, ethernet port, headphone and mic jacks. Like the Lenovo Ideapad S10-3, the Asus Eee PC 1018P comes with a built-in 3G modem and a SIM card slot. A standard webcam is recessed on the Asus Eee PC 1018P’s screen bezel, and there’s a sliding dust cover to protect it when not in use — very thoughtful.

The seashell Eee PC 1018P also has some useful proprietary software. Asus WebStorage — offers you an additional 500GB of online data storage facility; not so enticing if you’re stuck with a slow Internet connection. The Eee PC 1018P’s desktop application dock lets you quickly launch programs like Syncables (sync two or more PCs running on Syncables) and YouCAM for adding fun to your video chats, among others. The Eee PC 1018P’s fingerprint reader makes use of AuthenTec’s TrueSuite identity management software — it lets you make biometric profiles and simplifies logging into an office network or frequently-visited Web sites.

The Asus Eee PC 1018P netbook comes with 32-bit Windows 7 Starter Edition operating system, four-cell battery, and one year global warranty.

Performance

The Asus Eee PC 1018P netbook’s higher-clocked Atom N470 1.83-GHz processor doesn’t really help boost its performance compared to other 1.66-GHz Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) Atom N450 based netbooks. The Eee PC 1018P’s WorldBench 6 score of 35 is standard, nothing great. As usual, you can multitask with at most three programs before risking the netbook from slowing down.

The Asus Eee PC 1018P features the same NEC USB 3.0 controller found on the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB hard drive and the Asus P7P55D-E Premium motherboard, offering better data transfer speeds — if you connect it to a USB 3.0 enabled external drive.

Watching movies and reading text is good on the Eee PC 1018P and onboard sound is average. But its slim design and inclusion of a four-cell battery proved detrimental to its battery life. The Eee PC 1008P’s battery lasted just over 2 hours in our synthetic tests. On a conservative power plan, you can expect between 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours of usage on a single charge — which isn’t bad but unimpressive compared to other netbooks in our Top 5 Netbooks list.

Bottom Line

The Asus Eee PC 1008P will hit stores in the last week of July, possibly available in four colours. It’s a well-designed, slim netbook charging a premium for its brushed aluminum body and some unique features like a fingerprint reader and USB 3.0 support.

But like the Sony’s VAIO M, it doesn’t offer any performance benefits compared to netbooks like the Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) Inspiron Mini 10 or Lenovo Ideapad S10-3. The Eee PC 1018P has better hardware compared to the Asus Eee PC 1008P but lower battery life, and it’s arguable which one is a better looking netbook between the two, in terms of style and design. If you want a slim netbook for a style statement with improved hardware, some unique features but average performance, look forward to the Eee PC 1018P.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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