The Asus Eee PC 1015PEM is the latest addition to Asus' burgeoning 10in Eee PC netbook range. Here's our review of this low-price laptop.

Not much has changed between the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM and its predecessors (Asus Eee PC 1018P and Asus Eee PC 1008P) but there's one important distinction. The Eee PC 1015PEM heralds Asus' first netbook to include Intel's dual-core Atom N550 1.5GHz processor. Will N550's two cores prevail over older single-core Atom N450s? Let's find out...

Asus Eee PC 1015PEM: Looks and design

Asus hasn't changed much in terms of the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM's look and feel compared to older Eee PC netbooks. Whether it's a 12in Eee PC 1215T or a 10in Eee PC 1018P, Asus prefers uniformity in its netbook's proportions, despite differing form factors. To that effect, the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM continues in Asus' Seashell series of netbooks - the netbook bears a seashell design if looked at from the side with its lid closed. The netbook's bottom panel has a textured pattern.

Our review sample of the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM had an all-black colour scheme, with a smooth matt screen lid. The screen's finish is extended over to the 1015PEM's palmrest and touchpad, while the netbook's gloss is limited to its screen bezel and keyboard deck. Despite having a largely matt exterior, the Eee PC 1015PEM still attracts fingerprint smudges - mainly due to its dark colour.

Overall, the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM netbook's build quality is similar to the Dell Inspiron Mini 10, Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3 and Acer Aspire One D255, no problems at all. With a bundled six-cell battery, the 10in Asus Eee PC 1015PEM weighs 1.3kg - pretty good for a netbook, in line with those featured in our Top 5 Netbooks list.

Asus Eee PC 1015PEM: Usability

The Asus Eee PC 1015PEM netbook has a 10.1in LED-backlit matt widescreen display with a 1024x600 pixel resolution - standard for a 10in netbook. The screen is very well lit and quite bright, contrast levels are nice as well. Viewing angles are average, but nothing to write home about. The netbook's screen is good for reading text thanks to its non-glossy screen, but watching movies isn't too bad indoors. A standard webcam is placed on the Eee PC 1015PEM's top screen bezel - coupled with Cyberlink's YouCam software, videochats are fun.

Asus Eee PC 1015PEM webcam

The webcam comes with a sliding cover to protect itself from dust. A nice addition

Asus hasn't changed the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM's keyboard compared to older Eee PCs. The keyboard deck has chiclet-sized keys that are well laid out for its 10in form factor - typing is largely comfortable, with just a hint of flex on the 1015PEM's keyboard. We reckon the IdeaPad S10-3 still has the best keyboard on a netbook, followed by the Dell Inspiron Mini 10.

Asus Eee PC 1015PEM keyboard

There's nothing much to say about the Eee PC 1015PEM's touchpad - its haptic feedback is nice, owing to the smooth matt surface. The touchpad is gesture-enabled for zooming in and out, rotating and so on, and it works fine. The single-strip mouse button isn't as bad as the one we encountered on the Eee PC 1215T - it works surprisingly well.

Next page: Performance testing and verdict >>

See also:

Group test: what's the best netbook?

Laptop Advisor