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 Work Horse
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)
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.
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.
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!