Thursday, January 20, 2011

# 6: ASUS Eee PC 1015PED-PU17-BK 10.1-inch Netbook (black)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 153 people found the following review helpful: 4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Netbook except the Touchpad, August 19, 2010 This review is from: ASUS Eee PC 1015PED-PU17-BK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black) (Personal Computers) I was looking to buy a netbook for my upcoming travels as I did not want to bring my 14" laptop as well as planning on doing some writing outdoors.

After doing quite some research and reading, I narrowed down to Acer Aspire One AO533 and Asus Eee PC 1015PED (there are so many models within Asus that could get quite confusing.) Finding a Youtube video of over 500K+ views on how to install the 2GB memory on an Acer definitely discouraged me as how easy one might break a wire, in addition to automatically void the warranty as soon as you open up the case.

I am aware of those who have issues with Asus customer service as well as buying a lemon. But the usability and the really long battery power really made me decide to take a chance / leap of faith.

The matte shell and screen make the machine a perfect companion on the road, especially when using it outdoors. There are a lot fewer fingerprints and a lot less glare which are more suiting for the eyes.

The machine boots up very quickly and has a very bright screen. I was initially a bit worried about the chiclet keys, whether there might be too much space among the keys but it turned out the space was minimal and works well for me. The location of the special keys is similar to my SONY VAIO so it did not take much time for me to get adjusted to the smaller keyboard.

After successfully installing the final part of pre-installed Windows 7 Starter and confirming the machine was working correctly (took about 10 to 15 minutes), I went ahead and downloaded all the drivers from Asus Download site, including the latest BIOS as I would be reformatting the drive and installing Windows 7 Professional. At the time the direct BIOS upgrade from the internet did not work but downloading and installing the file did. Also note that the drivers are not always sorted by the version and you have to look at each one carefully to download the latest version.

The machine runs quite well even with just 1GB memory except with the more frequent hard drive access.

I then upgraded the memory to 2GB with Crucial DDR3 1333. Crucial Memory Advisor tool will guide you to the right memory and I like how the company guarantees the compatibility. I had tried a few others (Super Talent and Hynix) and my machine either would not recognize and boot up, would not boot up after restarting the machine, or I had to wait for a few minutes after shutdown before being able to reboot. The Amazon's "Frequently Bought Together" incorrectly picked DDR2 memory as part of the package. It should have been DDR3 instead. There is a separate door just for the memory so the upgrade was a breeze and you just have to make sure you push the memory all the way into the slot (seating.) To confirm I also hit F2 when starting the machine to validate it is loaded with 2GB memory. The additional memory did not dramatically increase the performance though it definitely significantly decreases the usage of the hard drive.

While the machine works overall very well to my needs (internet and a few MS apps), I did find the touch pad to be overly sensitive. I downloaded and installed the latest ELAN and Synaptics TouchPad drivers and was then able to change the Palm Tracking Setting to less sensitive. The large smooth touch pad that causes the accidental and easily palm over makes the touchpad almost useless unless you have the netbook way sitting below your palm when typing.

Battery wise it's about 7 to around 10 hours of normal usage (surfing, documents, installing and running software, etc.) which is extremely good. Though I did find the machine was getting quite warm after about 5 hours of usage and when charging the battery. The battery charger also gets quite hot after a few hours of charging. The battery meter is somewhat accurate on the overall percentage but does fluctuate every few minutes or and can easily go up and down +/- 10 to 20 minutes.

The following were the steps I took to install Windows 7 Professional that should work in general:
1) Use a 4GB USB drive (any drive that has 3GB or more), format it through Windows Explorer with NTFS

2) Download and install MBRWizard. Open up command prompt and type: mbrwiz /list

3) Find the Disk number that belongs to the USB drive (usually 1 or higher as 0 is most likely your system / primary drive. Run the command: mbrwiz /disk=1 /active=1
In this case 1 is the USB drive. Type "Y" to confirm. Run this command again to confirm the drive is active: mbrwiz /list

4) Run the following command to set the USB drive to be bootable:
e:\boot\bootsect /nt60 D:
E: being the Windows 7 CD drive and D: being the USB drive

5) Copy all Windows 7 Professional files to the USB drive.

6) Copy all contents from the current netbook C: drive to the USB drive as a backup.

7) Download all drivers from Asus Download site to the USB drive. Also download anti-virus / firewall software such as AVG and ZoneAlarm to the USB drive.

8) With the USB drive plugged in, reboot machine and hit F2 to get into BIOS setting. In Boot -> Boot Settings. You will now see Boot Device Priority and Hard Disk Drives. Choosing Removable Device as the first boot priority would not work since the USB drive is actually categorized as a hard drive instead. Choose Hard Drive Disks and you will see the USB drive as well as the C: drive. Move the USB drive to the first priority and have the hard drive (C:) as second. Keep the first boot priority as Hard Disk.

9) Follow the Windows formatting and installing. Make sure you unplug the USB drive when Windows restarts after completing the installation and hit F2 to change the BIOS setting back to using C: as the first hard drive.

10) Install all the drivers especially the screen resolution, ELAN and Synaptics touch pad devices, latest BIOS, firewall and anti-virus programs.

11) Install the LAN driver and you should be good to go.

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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Little Netbook, September 9, 2010 Bought this netbook awhile ago for class (college) and I love every moment I've spent with it.

-Battery Life,I get about 10 hours which is other netbook has been closer to Asus' EEE battery life thanks to the Super Hybrid Engine.(I mainly use it for surfing web while typing text documents @ 87% right now, its reading 9 hours and 45 minutes.)
-Charging Speed, it takes only 2 hours or a little more to fully charge this netbook. That's quick in return for 10 hours of battery life!
-Keyboard, though smaller than standard desktops and laptops, is still pretty large in general. If you're a very skilled typist this keyboard will have no problems for you. (I'm typing this review at full speed on this netbook.) While the SHIFT key to the right is smaller, it's not a very significant problem for me because I always use the left SHIFT key regardless of the keyboard.
-Performance, though its specifications aren't anything to get excited about, for ordinary usage, it's surprisingly fast. Even on 1GB Ram. You should understand that netbooks are not laptop replacements. And it also means you should use lighter, less resource hogging softwares.
-Matte Screen, prevents glare indoors and outdoors. Most computers still have glossy screens that are practically mirrors, but this netbook doesn't. It saves you from annoying glare and reflections.
-Matte Shell still attracts grease but fingerprints are hardly seen. A significant improvement to previous EEE netbooks.
-Touchpad, is a significant improvement from the old dotted grid that Asus used in previous models. Its sensitivity can be customized to your liking so for me, it's just as good as any other laptop's touchpad. The right/left click buttons aren't too stiff so it's just right.
-Speakers are surprisingly loud and audio quality is decent.
-Webcam shutter is not really necessary but it's a nice thing to have. If you're webcamming someone and want to do something really quickly but privately (like fixing a wedgie or changing) you can just slip the shutter over to "off" and then shift it back over to "on" when you're done. No need to physically log off or turn off your webcam.

-Windows 7 Starter has its limitations, but that can be changed with the provided "Windows Anytime Upgrade" which upgrades your Windows quickly.
-Webcam is only 0.3 megapixels. That's not very clear, but you shouldn't be constantly webcamming on a netbook anyway.
-Comes with unnecessary stickers boasting about it's battery life and other specs, but you can take them off if you'd like to.
-There's a bunch of secondary shortcuts (fn+F1,2,3...etc.). They're handy to have, but they're not really explained...even in the manual. But you can figure them out rather quickly after the first or second use.

So overall if you need to surf the web on the go and type up documents or even for social networking (email, IM, Skype/Oovoo, etc.) this netbook does the work quickly and perfectly.It's battery life is alone, a reason to choose this netbook over all the others on the market. Asus has perfected the art of netbooks and incorporated it into the EEE 1015ped-p.

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100 of 127 people found the following review helpful: 3.0 out of 5 stars May be a decent computer, but service is poor., August 26, 2010 This review is from: ASUS Eee PC 1015PED-PU17-BK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black) (Personal Computers) A couple of months ago, I received the precursor to this netbook, and was fairly impressed with it. What happened to me is important for potential buyers of the current item, as well. Bear with me, as any potential purchaser should be aware of what may happen should there be any defect in the ASUS item they receive.

At the beginning of my review, let me recommend the review by "Turtle James," which is currently the top review for ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1005PE-PU27-BK 10.1-Inch Black Netbook (Up to 14 Hours of Battery Life). He includes much helpful information about the setup of this netbook, and I find his information to be quite flawless, though I'm not sure it is necessary to combine the partitions of the hard drive. The computer itself seemed to run well, and was not nearly as slow as some people make it out to be, but it is with regret that I must tell the tale of the defective charger, which turned the computer into an expensive paperweight.

I followed the instructions in the manual (which matches Turtle James's review well) regarding the charging of the netbook, and I think I would have discovered a quite long battery life as a result, if I would have kept it long enough to evaluate that part. However, I encountered a problem with a small defect that made the netbook unusable.

The charger, the AC adapter that plugs into the power outlet was unusual from the beginning. After the first charge, I noticed that the blue light that lights up on the charger would stay lit for a while after unplugging from any power source. Not having any experience with this particular adapter before, I was not sure if that was normal, and in fact am still not sure.

After going through two cycles of charging and depleting the battery, as instructed, I attempted to charge the netbook for the third time, and behold, the charger did not work at all. When this happens, one cannot charge the netbook, and therefore cannot use it until one obtains a new charger. Buying a new charger after only two charges is in my opinion ridiculous, and to be avoided on principle.

So, I set about to rectify the situation, first calling the manufacturer, ASUS (pronounced ay-soos' by the service personnel). After messing about for some time trying different things with the technician, it became apparent that the charger must be defective. They said I could begin the process for an RMA, if I like, and I did like that idea, until I got further into the details.

It came as a surprise to me that ASUS would require me to send the defective part back to them first, upon receipt of which, they would begin the process to send me a new part that functioned correctly. I was informed that the RMA process at that point would take 10 - 14 business days. I asked what shipping method would be used to send the new part to me, and was informed it would be Fed-Ex...Ground.

The entire process, therefore, would take about a month to get what was rightfully mine in the first place for having purchased the device, after which I would not be able to return the device.

So, I chose to return the device to Amazon instead, because I learned the valuable lesson of what it is like to deal with the ASUS service department. I cannot thank ASUS enough for clarifying to me what type of company I was dealing with when purchasing their magnificent piece of . . . gadgetry.

I also made the mistake of ordering RAM and a case for the netbook at the same time, accessories I had no further need of, so I returned those as well. Amazon, being a company with integrity, refunded the entire amount. This has also been a valuable lesson on the folly of purchasing accessories before being certain the main product is stable.

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