Since people seem to still be getting some use from my review, I have added a few updates:
64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium?
YES, mine did come with the 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium version of Windows.
NOTE: If you get a netbook that has Windows 7 Starter on it, you will not have the desktop themes functionality available to you. I learned this the hard way when I got my 1005HA netbook. Not too big of a deal, but I did miss having all those nice themes. ASUS has a make-shift solution for this, but it requires manual intervention. Now that I have Windows 7 Home Premium, I can enjoy desktop themes once again!
YES, mine did come with one USB 3.0 port on the right side (the blue colored USB port). There is also another USB 2.0 port on the right, and one on the left (three ports in all). One of the two USB 2.0 ports allows you to charge a device even when the netbook is powered off and the AC adapter is connected. You can even configure it to charge another device with just the battery alone and the netbook turned off. A nice feature to have if you travel and find yourself in a bind with a low cell phone battery!
Accepts 8GB of RAM?
YES, mine did accept an 8GB memory upgrade kit! I installed the Corsair 8 GB DDR3 Laptop Memory Kit CMSO8GX3M2A1333C9, which is about $83. The memory that initially came with the 1215B was: hynix 2GB 1Rx8 PC3 - 10600S - 9 - 10 - B1
Be sure to get PC3-10600 compliant memory, NOT the Crucial CT25664BC1067 2GB 204-PIN PC3-8500 SODIMM DDR3 Memory Module that is SUPPOSEDLY bought together with the 1215B. PC3-10600 memory runs at a faster clock rate than PC3-8500. Do a Wikipedia search for "DDR3" RAM to see a comparison table. Also, according to cpu-world dot com, the E-350 CPU supports memory up to DDR3-1333 and DDR3L-1066. DDR3L is suppose to run at less voltage, thus saves more on battery power. I would like to know if anyone has tested DDR3L memory in their 1215B netbook, and how they do on power savings!
BTW, my 1215B shipped with BIOS version 0306.
I just updated to BIOS to version 0315 and so far everything is still running smoothly. I included how I updated my BIOS in the Comments section below, in case you wondered how to do it.
Touch Pad Issues?
NO, mine DOES NOT have the touch pad issues that others are complaining about. But you can read their review(s) on what the fix is, which seems simple enough.
A few months ago I was using my 1215B at the couch without the external mouse, and it DID mess up on me as others have indicated. I uninstalled the Synaptics drivers, and when I rebooted the computer, the mouse still worked. As a matter of fact, it seemed to work better than with the Synaptics drivers. The only problem was that while typing, my fingers would touch the touchpad and the cursor would jump to a different location and mess me up. I went to the Synaptics web site and downloaded their latest drivers, which they now have a new feature called Scrybe, which allows you to do certain gestures as shortcuts, such as swiping a 'W' to pull up the web browser for example. BTW, I had to re-install the Synaptics drivers in order to disable the touchpad so that I could type and not have the cursor jump around on me. It does make me upset that I also have problems with the touchpad. Since I don't like touchpads and prefer an external mouse, this makes it OK for me, but if you do rely on touchpads exclusively, then you will likely run into problems.
As far as the layout is concerned, I do like it better than the 1005HA, since the 1215B has separate keys for Home, End, PgUp, and PgDown. Of course, the 1215B is a little bigger and so it does have more surface area for more full keys. The cursor arrow keys double as Media Player Play/Pause, Stop, Skip Forward and Backward when used with the Fn key, which I thought I would utilize more, but so far I haven't. The Backspace and Enter keys are decent sized and easy to find. Others have mentioned keyboard "flex", which yes, I have noticed that when pressing keys more towards the middle of the keyboard, that the keyboard seems to flex downward, giving those who are real sticklers about such things a reason to complain about it. It hasn't really bothered me that much, but I thought I would mention it just to be fair. [Update: 06/13/2011] I opened my 1215B today and noticed that the 'X' key was missing, but managed to find it. What had happened was that the metal piece that holds the key in place became bent. I bent it back so that it would hold the key in place, and all is well again. I was a little annoyed that this had happened, since it has never happened to me before on any keyboard, but so far it is staying in place, so I still give the 1215B a passing score.
9/7/2011 UPDATE: I have not had any more problems with the keys on the keyboard, thank goodness!
12" Screen Size?
I do like the 12" screen size on the 1215B much better than the 10" on the 1005HA. The 10" is really too small when it comes to running VM's, as well as viewing some web sites. Outlook 2010 does seem to make some adjustments (on its own) on hiding some things in order to make viewing much better, which is nice.
Fragil Power Connector Pin?
NO! I've had an ASUS Eee PC 1005HA netbook since January of 2010, which the 1215B uses the same power supply, and I haven't had any problems with the connector pin, or for that matter, it never even crossed my mind that it could potentially be an issue in the first place. I suppose if you have little kids running around and just can't seem to keep nice things, this could be an issue. BTW, both power adapters are rated as follows:
OUTPUT: 19V(DC), 2.1A, female=(-) and male=(+)
I purchased a Westronics NetBook AC Power Adapter for Asus EeePC 1005 1005HA 1005HAB 1101HA 1101HAB 1104HA 1106HA UMPC NoteBook Laptop for my 1005HA as a backup and so I could always keep the other adapter in my laptop bag so I never run off and forget it. I have already used my secondary power adapter that was originally for my 1005HA to recharge the battery on my 1215B, which the connectors are exactly the same and fits perfectly. It looks like this particular AC power adapter that I got has gone down in the ratings since the time that I got mine.
Includes Neoprene Slip Cover?
NO, my 1215B doesn't come with a neoprene protective case like the 1005HA did. I did get the Case Logic LNEO-12 12.1-Inch Neoprene Netbook Sleeve (Black) as an added slip cover for my 1215B, which it fits it nicely. It is also a bit thicker than the neoprene slip cover that came with the 1005HA, has carry handles, plus an extra pocket with a zipper for the power supply and a mouse. I would recommend getting it.
BTW, I'm upgrading from an Asus EEE PC 1005HA, which I have outgrown. I've been waiting for a 64-bit netbook with a slightly bigger screen and that can handle more than 2GB of RAM. The newer 1215B is small and light enough that I can put in my book bag along with my thick school books, and not break my back carrying it to school, but still just a bit bigger and with more power than the 1005HA!
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST:
There is a button to toggle the wireless/bluetooth ON or OFF, in order to save power. This can also be done with the Fn+F2 keys.
SUGGESTED ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO GET FOR YOUR EEE PC 1215B:
* Definitely get more RAM if you can. I admit, 8GB might be a bit much if you just surf the internet and read emails, but I plan on running virtual machines on mine, which each VM can eat up a lot of RAM.
BTW, the AMD processor does have support for virtualization, which helps in running virtual machines. I have found that in order to get the best performance from VM's, you should keep your HD as defragmented as possible. I run Norton Utilities 15 and run Speed Disk on every bootup. I was surprised at how fragmented my HD was, and how long it takes to defragment it each time. It is taking less time every day, but it has taken a few months of daily defragments to bring down the length of defrags.
* Get an ASUS USB 2.0 8x DVD Writer External Optical Drive SDRW-08D1S-U (Black). You will need it to install software or RIP your CD's to MP3's to your netbook, but you can always leave it at home when you're done with those tasks. Mine cost about $40 when I got it.
* I recommend a Bluetooth wireless mouse, just so it doesn't eat up one of your USB ports (either with a cord or a wireless dongle). I got the Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 Mac/Windows, and I'm very happy with it. I got mine from an amazon vendor for about $20 new.
I have had problems with syncing this mouse, but mostly when the battery gets low. If you run into problems, it is likely that the battery is low. Even sometimes after putting in new batteries, it takes some trial and error to get it synced up again, but once it is synced, it works every time until the battery runs low again.
* It is nice to have a secondary power adapter, not just as a backup, but it is nice to leave one at home and leave the other in your laptop bag so you never forget it. I got mine for about $20 from an amazon vendor. I picked one with good reviews, just to be safe.
* I also suggest getting the Case Logic LNEO-12 12.1-Inch Neoprene Netbook Sleeve (Black). Even though I have a laptop bag, I still like having the added protection of the neoprene sleeve on my netbook.
* You might want to get an SDHC memory card, to configure ReadyBoost. Heck, you have an SD slot, which you might as well put to good use, and it does seem to speed up bootup time. Do an internet search on "ReadyBoost" to learn more about that. They say go with the same or double the RAM you have installed.
* I would also suggest getting a StarTech 6-Feet Coax High Resolution VGA Monitor Cable - HD15 M/M (MXT101MMHQ) so that you can connect your netbook to a larger monitor if you have one around. Note that ASUS netbooks (from the two that I've owned) will use the RAM from your memory sticks to allow you to view your screen on the larger monitor at it's native resolution, so allow a bit more RAM for that feature. When connected to my 22" Samsung LCD monitor, I get it's native 1680 x 1050 resolution! I just did a test, and going from the netbook's 1366x768 resolution to the 22" LCD monitor's 1680x1050 resolution only uses about 200KB of memory.
These are all things that I have found to be nice additions to my netbook(s).
Bottom line: I'm still happy with my Eee PC 1215B!