You probably have seen this particular netbook in stores everywhere. As the successor of the Meego powered X101 and with a Windows 7 Starter package available, this model looks to be more promising than the former.
I had won this notebook during the Flare launch and it was given to me during the Zenbook Prime launch and had been playing with it for about 4 full days now. That should be enough for a comprehensive review I think.
The specifications of this netbook is fairly straight to the point: Powered by an Intel Atom N2600, it belongs to the Cedar trail class which is smaller and consumes less power than their Pine trail counterparts. It is a 1.6 Ghz Dual Core Hyperthreading processor with integrated graphics that allow for better HD video rendering. It also has 1GB ram which cannot be upgraded as it is integrated into the board as well.
There are 2 USB2.0 ports, a combo earphone/headset jack, SD card reader, VGA, LAN, Kensington lock port and the thing which separates itself from the pack: an HDMI port. Wireless is also present but Bluetooth is not, it would’ve been wonderful if this was available because the lack of USB ports somehow limits the use of wireless devices. There is also a 0.3 megapixel camera in front and the screen is matte which is unlike most of what is available in the market.
A huge percentage of the netbook is finished in a textured matte plastic which lends a very nice and premium feel to the design. It also has a very thin profile even with the 3 cell battery plugged in.
The adapter is also very small and is quite ideal for traveling scenarios.
Here’s a photo of it side by side with my Transformer, it may not look like much but there is a difference in their dimensions with the X101CH coming out as the smaller of the two. This small inconsistency is felt as even though I have had the TF keyboard and has been using it for about a year, its taking a little bit of getting used to the keyboard of the X101CH with which this entire review has been created on.
A view from the top reveals the tighter density of the pattern that was used for the matte surface treatment on the X101CH compared to that of the Transformer; both are a joy to hold and a better feel of grip is provided by the design.
Below is the WEI system rating for the X101CH
As you can see there are high numbers up there specifically that for desktop performance for Aero which pertains to the graphics capability. I’ve verified this by playing HD video under a variety of scenarios: on the LCD, on an HD Monitor, on an HDTV, on battery and on AC power and as far as I can tell, with the proper player, it performs flawlessly. You can see here that none of the cores are being stressed by the high definition video:
So what does that translate to? I would have to say this machine would be a perfect media player companion for no frills pairing to an HDTV; I say this because I used to use my Transformer for this sort of stuff and there is a little bit of time taken off choosing the proper player for perfect audio sync and lagless playback but with a Windows well that’s another story and an infinitely better solution.
If there was any drawback to the design of the X101CH it is the battery life which at heavy use would only reach up to about 3 to 4 hours; that is nowhere near the current off the wall computing standard set about by tablets; However, it is very easy to understand that we are running a full operating system here with all your favorite programs and while it does require power, the X101CH does a very good job delivering that much time with this slim profile.
Choosing this over the Flare would mean a thinner and lighter unit for you and a simpler more elegant design aesthetic. Of course the Flare has the upper hand with the USB 3.0 and the better battery plus the wide array of colors to choose from, you cant go wrong with either.
You can get the X101CH from stores for close to 13,000 or 15,000 if with the Windows 7 Starter OS.