With Intel focused on ultrabooks and planning Cloverview and Oak Trail platforms for Windows 8 tablets, it appears that the future of netbooks isn't too bright, but Netbook Live has procured one of the first Cedar Trail review units and benchmarked it against current Atom N570 and AMD C-50 netbooks. The Atom 2600-powered Asus EEE PC X101CH was slower than the N570 netbook in raw CPU tests but faster in graphics. This wasn't unexpected because the new architecture is largely unchanged, but has better HD 3600 integrated graphics. On the other hand, the X101CH had mixed CPU results and far slower graphics than AMD C-50 netbooks — but that means little in real life except when gaming or encoding video.

First impressions of the netbook confirmed that the fanless design causes little to no noise, and more importantly, it appears that the X101CH will handle everyday use without getting too hot. As expected, the improved graphics allow for smooth playback of stored 1080p content, but the lack of hardware Flash decoding hurts the netbook when playing YouTube content: 1080p was said to be choppy in Internet Explorer. Perhaps the most important thing to consider is battery life, and early estimates clock it at six-to-eight hours on a single charge using the six-cell battery. For netbook lovers excited about the forthcoming release of the X101CH, recent rumors peg an early January launch for Asus' (and Samsung's) lineup, so you may not have to wait for long.