Hot on the heels of the well-regarded HP Mini 311, Asus has moved the Netbook bar forward by taking a 12-inch Netbook chassis and including both Nvidia's Ion graphics and a dual-core version of Intel's Atom processor (called the Atom 330). We've previously seen dual-core Atoms only in a handful of Nettop desktops, because of heat issues, and it's unlikely we'd see one in anything smaller than a 12-inch laptop body.
While still small, the 1201N fits in a full-size keyboard and a 250GB hard drive (plus access to 500GB of online storage space). The system comes with Windows 7 Starter and 2GB of RAM. Asus claims the 6-cell battery should last up to five hours, similar to what we've seen in other Eee PC models.
In a brief hands-on demo, we noted that the Asus Eee PC 1201N looks very similar to the current Eee PC line, including the popular 1005HA, with a black glossy finish and textured touch pad.
Combined with a 1,366x768 HD display, the Nvidia Ion GPU makes for a great video watching experience, once you download the new Flash 10.1 beta, which allows the Ion to accelerate streaming Flash video.
When it's available later this year, the Eee PC 1201N should retail for $499, which is a $100 premium over the HP Mini 311 (with Windows XP and 1GB of RAM).