Asus Eee PC 1015PEM Netbook: A Follow-Up Review After 2 Months On Ubuntu

Some of you may have read my original review of the 1015PEM Asus netbook. It was the first dual core netbook to come in the market and I was one of the first few that picked it up on Amazon. Back then, I had a small speed bump while trying to install Ubuntu and got another headache when I tried the Ubuntu Netbook Remix. After 2 months of putting this mini laptop through the course, I've noticed a few things that's worth mentioning. Like many relationships, sometimes you need to wait for the lust to fade before you can call it love. After installing Ubuntu and using it for a few days, I had more positive things to say than negatives. As I've gotten to know Miss Eee, I've discovered some of her bad habits. She's not perfect but she sure is pretty.


Whenever I go online to read a review, very rarely will the author post a follow-up. I decided, since I've helped so many people answer questions they've had about this netbook, why not do a follow-up? I won't keep you waiting. Let's begin.


My Workhorse

When I installed Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, everything was working perfectly. Like many other Ubuntu users, there were a few programs and tweaks I needed installed in order to feel right at home. After everything was familiar, I settled down and enjoyed my little netbook for 2 long months of heavy use. I took this netbook to every book store and coffee shop I knew. I've typed lots of articles on it and it became a member of my work force. Like all relationships, there was a few annoyances I've discovered. I like to get to the point so lets start with the issues I've experienced.


A Flash And A Flicker

Sometimes, especially when the netbook has recently boot up, I've noticed a graphic flaw. The screen would flicker as if a connection was loose. You would see distortions of vertical lines. I'm not exactly sure of the cause. It would happen randomly and the instances are few but it's definitely annoying. I feel that it is not a software problem. I've had issues with Xorg and Ubuntu's graphic(Compiz) in the past and this is nothing like them. I'm not brave enough to open up this netbook but I suspect it's a connection. After powering the unit on for a few hours, the problem doesn't appear. Maybe when she is powered on, the heat causes the metals to expand and connections are tighter. I still haven't completely ruled out software but this is a new problem I've never seen before.


The Right Touch(Pad)

Another little issue I have with Miss Eee is her touchpad. Every netbook is different. Some are more sensitive than others. This touchpad is very sensitive. Even after turning the sensitivity down all the way in Mouse Settings, it's still way too jumpy. Another thing I don't like about the touchpad is it's texture. It feels very rough. The sound it makes is awfully awful. I mean annoying! Some of you guy might be thinking, “The sound? Who cares?” I know it seems silly but I've clocked lots of hours on this netbook. It reminds me of a faint nail scratching chalkboard. It even feels that way on my fingers. On my Dell Inspiron, even though I use a mouse, the touchpad is far superior. I wish Asus gave this touchpad a glossy, smooth texture. I was even thinking about putting a clear layer of tape on it or a cut out a generic screen protector. Yes, it's picky but I'm a perfectionist.


Power Management

Everything else works fine. When I installed Ubuntu, I lost the Super Hybrid Energy(SHE) that came with Windows. SHE is a power management system that allowed me to toggle between power saving, normal, and performance modes. After doing a bit of searching, I found a Linux replacement. It's called Jupiter and you can go ahead and download the latest version here. Jupiter is a gnome applet that essentially gives you back those 3 efficiency, standard, and performance modes that were lost with the clean install. It made a significant difference. I noticed when setting it to Maximum Performance, YouTube videos played much more smoothly. Sometimes, I'd rather be in bed with my netbook and not at my desk. These are the times when I'm usually enjoying myself by watching YouTube videos and not working. I usually leave it on High Performance when I'm plugged in with the A/C adaptor. When I'm traveling, I usually set it to Power Saver mode. If you own this Eee PC and have installed Ubuntu, this applet is a must-have. Get it now.


Firefox vs Opera?

My Dell Inspiron 17 i5 is my main computer. On my Dell, I use it without thinking about performance or battery. It pretty much stays at home plugged in. On my netbook, I am more observant. I suppose even the slightest delay in performance is magnified. This brings me to the subject of web browsing. Web browsing and word processing are the main duties of Miss Eee and I've noticed she runs faster with Opera compared to Firefox. It's a slight difference but definitely noticeable. While playing YouTube videos at 720p and under Maximum Performance, I can detect a slight stutter in flash videos on Firefox whereas Opera's version runs smooth. I know this netbook's maximum screen resolution is only 600p so it's not as clear but my eyes could not detect a stutter on Opera when comparing it to the same video on Firefox. This leads me to believe that Firefox has grown a bit heavy these last few updates. While I am using Opera as my main browser for now, I do miss Firefox's extension. Mainly Adblock Plus. Currently, Opera does not have an extension that is on par with Adblock Plus so I find myself juggling between the 2.


Final Thoughts

Over these last few months of testing, I've found some things I didn't liked about this netbook. The touchpad and the flickering being the main annoyances. However, despite these flaws, this netbook has been very reliable. People say netbooks are very limited and in a way, they're right. I can't imagine doing video editing and I have done photo editing on occasions. It was not fun. But how often will I need to do that? Most people only need a computer to go on the Internet, check email, and type. For 90% of people, a netbook is perfect. Unfortunately, that's not how people buy computers. People want good computers that will keep up with technology for years. This is why we over-purchase. Still, if you already own a main computer, a netbook is a perfect compliment to your desktop/desktop replacement. This netbook is still a great buy and I am very pleased with it. After 2 months of hard use, I would still give it my recommendation. That's my update review. Thanks for reading!


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Comments 28 comments

simon 5 years ago

thanks for the excellent follow up article. i am thinking of getting the eee pc 1015pn to install ubuntu 10.10 on for my travels. my main use would be for simple editing of my pictures and blogging on the go. i read many problems people had with it so am considering the 1015pem that you have.

you mentioned editing photos was not fun. can you elaborate a little? i am thinking of using rawtherapee and maybe gimp. the kind of editing i do are simple. removing bad photos, cropping, exposure, colour and maybe some simple cloning.

thanks!


Adroit Alien profile image

Adroit Alien 5 years ago Author

I am using Gimp 2.6. The one that is in the Ubuntu repository. It does not have single window mode and screen clutter is a headache. I am also using the desktop version of Ubuntu. Sometimes, I cannot see a full window when I export. It seems Gimp is not optimized for screens(or rather resolutions) that are so small.

I do most of my editing on my big laptop. Although I can do work on the netbook, the sheer screen real estate will always be an issue. I also don't have a mouse. I use the touchpad. If I plan to do any more hours photo editing on my netbook, then a USB mouse is absolutely required in order for me to keep my sanity. Hope this helps!


Startled 5 years ago

Hi , I was wondering if you've had the same problem as I am having. The intro video for the laptop keeps randomly playing when the laptop enters sleep mode. It's annoying me. Please help.


Adroit Alien profile image

Adroit Alien 5 years ago Author

@ Startled,

No, I don't have that problem. I've uninstalled windows. This looks like a problem with windows starter that came preinstalled with the netbook.


ThePracticalMommy profile image

ThePracticalMommy 5 years ago from United States

Thanks for this review. I just read your first one, and I appreciate the follow up. I might have missed it, but can you run Word on the netbook?


Adroit Alien profile image

Adroit Alien 5 years ago Author

I run OpenOffice.org on the netbook just fine. If you mean the Microsoft version, then I don't see why not as long as you have it installed.


ThePracticalMommy profile image

ThePracticalMommy 5 years ago from United States

Thanks for the response. I'll look into it when mine arrives. :)


Jacob_Jube profile image

Jacob_Jube 5 years ago

You mentioned all negative points, we would love to see its plus points as well.

Do you recommend for that person who use laptop in bus and car.

Main purpose is simply surfing webs and adding comments on other blogs. (My HP laptop is bit heavy)


Adroit Alien profile image

Adroit Alien 5 years ago Author

definitely. The battery life is really good. 6-8 hours is nice. I never run out when I am out so I never carry the charger with me. The netbook is fine for use on a long bus or train trip. Browsing the web is fine and I have no problems with that.


Glen 5 years ago

does this 1015pem work with ubuntu 11.04 well?


Adroit Alien profile image

Adroit Alien 5 years ago Author

have not tried it with 11.04. As I have read, many people are having problems with Unity so I would advise not to install 11.04.


David Chey 5 years ago

Strange that you mentioned the screen would flicker and distortion with vertical lines! I have been having the same problem with both Ubuntu 10.10 and 11.04. Had also though it was due to loose screen connector and actually opened it up to have a look....I think its the display driver's problem and is considering reverting back to Win 7. Shame I really liked Ubuntu, but the screen flickering, going blank is certain annoying...


Glen 5 years ago

hello

great review

how is the boot time with ubuntu(to useable state)


Adroit Alien profile image

Adroit Alien 5 years ago Author

under a minute. I don't have it install at the moment but that was what I remembered. The main difference with windows and ubuntu boot is with ubuntu, you can run programs like chromium right away. With windows, I remember having to wait for things to "load". Hope this helps.


Joywriter 5 years ago

I have th Windows 7 Starter it came with ... but I've got to tell you I'm not happy with the horozontal white lines and screen fading and degradation after 10 minutes of use ... and a fully charged battery. I call for support (nightmare) and was walked through installing the most recent driver from the Aesus website. I thought it was cured, but now after about 20 minutes of use, the same darn thing happens. Trying to get to support is again a nightmare. I sincerely wish I hadn't bought it. The $300 can never compare to the frustration I'm dealing with.


Guillermo 5 years ago

If i dual booth it with Ubuntu, do you have any idea if I can revert back the OEM config (including the MBR) if I perform the recovery?


Hondo2106 5 years ago

i have the same annoing flicker under windows 7 x86


Adroit Alien profile image

Adroit Alien 5 years ago Author

Guillermo, not that I am aware. Sorry.

@ Hondo, yea, same here. This sucks that Asus slacked off with the quality control. I am not buying another Asus product because of this.


Paco 5 years ago

if the lines donot show up on a desktop screen capture its hardware. 1/3 of the left screen is vertical lines in my pem1015, don t show up on screen capture and must be hardware or connection issue.


Rasmus 5 years ago

Well, I read your first review a month ago and decided to try this netbook out. Got the computer today and are not very happy with the win 7 starter thing. I based my choice of netnook by several reviews and tests.

I was just about to install ubuntu 11.04, when I came over this follow up :)

Iam sad to read about the problems you had, especially with the flash and flicker. We dont want that...

I think I will try to install 10.10 first then and evoluate that distribution and how it works on this particular computer.

Do you have any more tip before installation? Did replace win 7 with linux or did you format alla partions?

Thanks!


Adroit Alien profile image

Adroit Alien 5 years ago Author

Rasmus,

I completely replaced windows 7 with linux. This resulting in my using the entire disk, reformatted the whole thing. If you don't want to loss windows, you can dual boot and sorry to say, I can't help you with that.

Do not use LXDE or XFCE. I've tried both on this netbook and they stink like horse crap. "Classic Gnome" is very good and this netbook is fully capable of running it.


Rasmus 5 years ago

Adroit: Thanks for your input.

I tried out win 7 a little more, but couldn´t bare it (used to apple OS) i decided to format the entire disk and install 11.04. The netbook handle it well and wifi and all is working. I first installed 10.10, but i had problems with the broadcomdrivers for the wifi, couldn´t get it working.

I will go with this setup for now on and see how it works for me. So far, Iam impressed with the battery capacity and the usage of 1 gb ram.

Btw: Have you upgraded to 2 gb ram? Did you have to update the BIOS to get it to work?

Thanks!


Adroit Alien profile image

Adroit Alien 5 years ago Author

i had the same broadcom issue but had it plugged in via ethernet cable. This allowed me to connect online. from there, I was able to activate the broadcom drivers via additional drivers. No, I have not update the ram. Be sure to pick up Jupiter on my post above. It's handy. You can switch to powersave mode when doing word processing and it will undervolt the cpu, slightly increasing battery life.

Another thing about the RAM. I have not upgrade the ram but I have read that this netbook takes a very specify type. Some RAM apparently won't work. Sorry, that's all I know.


paco 5 years ago

Asus replace my lcd screen as that my vertical lines was a hardware issue. Now the main issue I have with this netbook is that for no reason the internet falls out everyday (windows 7 starter). First it will be the gateway which is not accessible through the ethernet port, then also after a while the wifi shows the message no internet access. What the fudge? I ve reverted the system so many times and this still doesn t seem to solve it, sometimes it usually just goes off for som 4-5 hours and then it s online again?


paco 5 years ago

http://blog.kazmarek.com/2010/01/15/windows-7-the-...

this solved my issue (Gateway not Accessible)


Chi Eli profile image

Chi Eli 4 years ago

I cannot turn on my netbook.When i press the power button some of the LED will blink for a second and nothing happen. I'ved already tried to remove the battery, press power button for 30-45 seconds without ac/battery then turn on using ac but still nothing happen. Any suggestion?


Adroit Alien profile image

Adroit Alien 4 years ago Author

@chi, I no longer have this netbook. Sorry I can't troubleshoot for you. I will leave your comment up in case others have any tips.


rusty 3 years ago

got a eepc. the vertical lines are abode flash related, that's all. instal older version of flash and it goes away

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