Ever since i laid my eyes on the first pictures of the 1018P, i was eagerly looking to getting my hands on one of those, one of the first aluminum covered 10 inchers, with decent features and hardware, plus a fair price.
And i finally did, although I got the white 1018P, which comes with a plastic casing, not one made out of aluminum like on the black finish. Still, what a mini laptop this device is, not necessarily because of what it can do, but because of how it looks and feels. Just brilliant!
In terms of specs, here’s what the Asus EEE PC 1018P has to offer:
- Intel Atom N455 processor, single-core, clocked at 1.66 GHz, with HyperThreading, 512KB cache L2, 667 MHz FSB and support for DDR3 memory
- Intel GMA 3150 graphics
- 1 GB DDR3 memory (easily upgradeable to 2 GB)
- 250 GB storage drive + EEE storage space available online
- 10.1 inch glossy display, 1024 x 600 px
- great connectivity: Wi-Fi N , fast Ethernet, Bluetooth N, USB 3.0 and 3G modem
- chiclet keyboard and multi-touch trackpad
- Webcam, mic and audio out, card-reader, VGA output
- 4 Cell 6000 mAh 44 Wh battery
- Windows 7 Starter
So there’s actually nothing missing. I do have to add that the test version i have here does not bring USB 3.0 slots, but standard 2.0 ones. However, final versions that will be available in stores will have them, as well as a digital fingerprint reader as an extra option.
I’d advice seeing this clip first and then read the rest of the things below for further details on each part.
Design and build quality
Now this is indeed the part that makes this device stand in front of most other netbooks on the market. Unlike the majority of Asus netbooks before it, this one comes with a completely matte finishing, so it will do well against fingerprints, scratches, dust and smudges. There are in fact going to be two finishing options for the exterior of the 1018P:
- one made out of brushed aluminum, for the black version, that will cover the lid. However, as we know from other devices, black brushed aluminum will catch smudges and you’ll have a hell of a time getting rid of them
- one made out of textured plastic, like on the white version i have here, which might not feel as stylish, but is in fact very solid and looks quite good
Both of these versions will use the same textured plastic for the bottom part of the netbook. This part got a redesign and allows easy access to the battery. Once you remove that one, you’ll be able to access the bay for upgrading memory, a lot easier than on all other netbooks I’ve seen. Now, there’s also a glitch to this redesign: there are almost no cooling vents on the back, only that one on the left, and this, correlated with how thin this device actually is, makes it run pretty hot and noisy consequently, as the CPU’s fan is active most of the time.
I should also mention that the Asus 1018P is in fact very light and thin, weighing only 2.4 pounds with the battery on and measuring only 0.7 inches in its thickest point. Length and width are within the margins of standard 10 inch mini laptops.
In the pictures below you can also see there has been a rethinking of the ports and Status LEDs on this device.
I have nothing bad to say about the ports, however, the fact that they moved those LEDs just under the screen, directly in your line of sight when using the computer, is a very big problem, as those LEDs will always catch your eyes and make you loose focus from what you we’re trying to do on the device.
I’ve also spoken about this problem in the video review, it might not seem like much and you might not be able to get the scale of it from what I’m saying here, but especially if you’re going to use the device in poor light conditions like I did, you’ll see the truth in my words. The blinking blue LED for system activity and Wi-Fi, plus the always lit (when PSU is connected) Orange LED for battery charging are just crazy. Extremely poor judgment from those in charge of designing this device.
Keyboard + Touchpad
The keyboard on this device is pretty much the same I’ve seen on the Asus EEE PC 1005PE and 1008P-KR: chiclet style with independent keys, 92% of Full-size. It’s ergonomic, pretty comfortable and with almost no flex. However, there are some problems. At least on this particular laptop, keys are slightly uneven and wobbly (you can easily notice that from the picture below), perhaps because this is a test version and might have seen some rough treatment from others before me.
Also, the layout available for us in Europe comes with some problems: we do get a big enter key on the Right part , but the Left Shift key is just minuscule, and I for one use that particular key a lot. Plus, you get the same tiny arrow keys on all layouts. But hey, this keyboard is definitely above most others seen on 10 inch netbooks, but not as good as the one of the Toshiba NB305, which is still the superlative in this field.
The 1018P got a new trackpad design, way better than what the previous 10 inch EEE PCs had to offer. As you can see, this trackpad is clearly separated from the palm rest around, plus it comes with an aluminum finish so feels both nice and is snappy and precise. I also like that there’s a marked scrolling area, like on bigger laptops, so you no longer have to wonder with your finger when trying to scroll. However, there’s one tiny, but important, aspect that keeps this touchpad from scoring a perfect mark: the click button. In fact, there’s no click button at all, but the entire lower part of the trackpad acts as one. However, it’s not as bad as it looks, as it is pretty snappy and easy to press, both for left and right click. A standard button with individualized left/right parts would have been better.
All in all, the combo keyboard+trackpad on the Asus 1018P is good, definitely above the average in its class and another thumbs up for this netbook (don’t know about you, but i for one use my mini laptop a lot for typing and browsing, thus I give special consideration to how good the keyboard/trackpad are on these machines).
The display on the Asus 1018P is in fact the standard 10 incher available on EEE PCs these days. I doubt anything has changed, as it is still glossy, comes with the standard 1024 x 600 px resolution and offers quite poor viewing angles, but within its class margins (as in, you won’t find better on most 10 inch netbooks).
Performance and software
Now, there’s not much i can say about the Asus EEE PC 1018P in terms of performances and i’m not going to get into many details. As you’ve seen, the device does come with pretty standard hardware for a 10 inch netbook: 1.66 GHz N455 processor, GMA 3150 graphics and 1 GB of memory. The difference between the N450 and N455 is that this last ones pairs with DDR3 memory, which translates in minor 1-2% increased performance, but you’ll never notice that in real life applications.
Windows Rating scored by the system is 2.4 , while older devices with N450 Atom scored 2.3 , in both cases processor being accountant for the lowest number.
So, like most standard netbooks in this class, the 1018P will be able to handle decently your basic daily tasks and programs. You can use it for text editing, browsing, listening to music, chatting with your friends (on YM or Skype). You can watch movies, but you should know that the hardware is not powerful enough to handle HD content, nor self-stored or Flash. However, if you install the Core AVC codecs (that only cost $9.99), you will be able to run 720p self stored content on it without any frame losses or skews.
Now, if you’re familiar with the N450 Atom platform, you’ll know that multitasking is not its strongest point. So while the device will be able to run similar applications simultaneously, loading too many will results in sluggish performance. So, as long as you don’t ask too much from the little guy or just don’t expect your Windows to be lightning fast, the 1018P will be just fine for you. Otherwise, you will probably have to go for something else, with more powerful hardware.
As for software, there’s the standard Asus EEE package on this device, including their Asus dock with all kind of games and applications (like the one for the webcam or the ones meant to improve image quality: Asus Splendid technology and Asus fast font-resizing tool). Plus the known amount of trials, including Microsoft Office and some antivirus software. As always, my advice is to get rid of all this software that bugs the system and makes Windows 7 Starter run poorer. You don’t need them anyway, and particularly on Atom hardware, you’d want to keep your OS as light as possible.
The Asus 1018P I have on my desk comes with a 4 Cell 6000mAh 44Wh battery. Asus claims up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge, however, in reality things are not like the producer claims on paper. So, here are the autonomy numbers I’ve managed to get on this device:
- almost 4 hours 30 minutes – using it for running a standard xVid movie with screen dimmed to 75%, Wi-Fi OFF, Power saver mode and using headphones (so no speakers)
- around 5 hours 30 minutes – every day usage, including browsing, text editing and listening to music on speakers, with screen to 75% and Balanced Mode selected
I for one am satisfied with the autonomy provided. It’s true there are 10 inch netbooks capable of even twice this autonomy, but none are as slender and light as this one. And while longer battery life would have been great, I’m OK with the 5 hours you can get from the 1018P.
In terms of connectivity options the Asus 1018P truly excels, as the final version will indeed be top notch in this field. Like standard netbooks, it will offer Wi-Fi N wireless and fast Ethernet, but unlike most of its competitors, it will also brings 3xUSB 3.0 slots, Bluetooth 3.0 and an integrated 3G modem as an option (there’s a 3G slot card right under the battery). So there’s just nothing more you can demand right now.
It’s also nice that you can very easily upgrade memory on this machine, which is something i totally advice for: getting a 2GB module to replace the standard 1 GB one is something every netbook owner should do, it’s really a must have upgrade with noticeable influence on performance.
I should also mention the speakers on this Asus, but there’s nothing out of ordinary about them: good, as on all Asus netbooks, but just standard. The VGA webcam placed on the bottom lies is pretty standard as well, and comes with the new cover Asus introduced on all its laptops this year.
And there’s one more aspect: like I’ve said above, this device does tend to get pretty hot on its bottom part, in the upper-left corner, where the CPU is situated. Can’t say that it will get disturbingly hot, but it’s definitely hotter than other 10 inch netbooks I’ve got my hands on. That’s probably because of the thin chassis and the new design on the back, with virtually no cooling vents. Of course, with heat also comes noise, as the CPU’s cooling fan is most of the time active. So if you’re looking for the quietest netbook in the 1018P, you’d be quite wrong.
Prices and where to buy
Standard 10 inch netbooks sell right now for around $370 in the states (the good ones, with premium features). The 1018P is one of those, with good features, decent hardware and some extra goodies sprinkled on top. Plus the new body and looks. That’s why, for its price, it’s definitely an option you should have into consideration when looking such devices.
Like I’ve also said in the beginning of this post,
I’ve yet to find this exact white version in any US webstores. Scrap that, the white version is available in the US.
However, there’s one nearly identical, but comes in Black (with an aluminum lid cover) and with fingerprint reader. List price for that particular version is around 500 bucks. So slightly more expensive than a mainstream device, but this ain’t not a regular netbook, but a premium one.
If you’ve got through the rows of this review, you’ve seen that this Asus 1018P does come with its strong and poor points, like most devices. All in all, it is as powerful as most standard netbooks in its class, but looks better, comes with a more solid construction and better finishing, while being thinner and lighter. However, like on most stylish mini laptops, this translates in compromises: battery life is OK, but not great and the computer gets quite hot and noisy.
Still, for its price, it’s definitely a great pick. If you can live with its inconveniences (and none are indeed horrible), the Asus EEE PC 1018P is a totally recommended mini laptop, especially since it’s going to be a versatile pick, with various color schemes and finishing options.
Once again, in the end its up to you to study the devices and see if the 1018P is what you truly want. I cannot say that this is the best 10 inch mini laptop for all of you guys out there, but I can definitely say it is a device worth looking at and one that is a part of the list of best 10 inch netbooks right now.