Acer Aspire One ReviewSeptember 21st, 2009 by WordPlop
I just bought an Acer Aspire One. I got this netbook on eBay, brand new, for $314 after Microsoft Bing Cashback. This was the cheapest netbook I could find that had a full size keyboard, which was the main selling point for me. I tried typing on netbooks with smaller keyboards before, and it was really hard.
The Acer Aspire One has an 11.6 inch screen running a resolution of 1366 x 768. That is a lot of resolution for such a small screen. My 19″ monitor runs 1440 x 900, which is just a bit higher. I got the Aspire One model with the 6 cell battery, 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive.
Here is a review after a few days of using this netbook. First off, it looks amazing. Acer designed this Aspire One really well. The cover is glossy on both sides, and the keyboard is matte. The keyboard looks great, and it looks like the keys are oversized. Come to think of it, it looks quite a lot like Apple’s new keyboards. As for the screen, as far as I know there is no matte option, but I could be wrong. I couldn’t find one. Still, when the brightness is turned up, you do not notice the reflections mostly, and it ends up looking better because of the richer colors made possible by the glossy finish. However, if it’s sunny and you’re sitting near a window, the glare is horrible. The cover is a fingerprint and dust magnet. It looks good, but if you want to keep it looking nice, you will have to clean it with a cloth every couple of days.
Going into functionality now, let’s start with the trackpad. This trackpad is a multi-gesture trackpad, letting you go back and forward between web pages, and… zooming? I turned the zoom gesture off, because I never zoom, and it got in the way of page navigation using two fingers. I don’t see any other useful features of the trackpad, although you can spend half an hour in the software setting up different things related to the touchpad, so that’s a big plus. You can customize every little thing on this trackpad. A downside, however, is the physical button – it’s too loud when you click it. As for the keyboard, there is not much to say – it’s a full sized keyboard that looks better than any laptop keyboard I’ve ever seen. It also feels great to type on, and I’m actually writing this review using the laptop.
The hardware in the Aspire One is slow, and that’s that. However, you cannot have a dual core that runs 10 hours on a single battery. It just has to be slow to last long. It lags just a tiny bit when playing high quality YouTube videos. It lags when dragging an empty Notepad window around the screen. The Intel GMA 500 graphics chip is weak, and the Intel Atom Z520 is slow. Having said that, you must know what you’re buying, and netbooks aren’t for gaming. It runs applications like Firefox and Microsoft Word 2007 just fine, taking a few seconds to start each one. This is a good trade of performance for battery life in my opinion. The 6 cell battery is rated for 8 hours of life, but the Windows XP power meter shows 10 hours remaining with the screen brightness on 3/10, WiFi turned on, and browsing the web. If you are going to be using this netbook for school, you most likely won’t need to bring the charger with you. And to finish off the hardware section of this review, the WiFi is great – it catches my router’s signal at a place where no other laptop, cellphone, or desktop with wifi adapter can get a signal. The Aspire One is also very quiet, and I don’t think it even runs the fan when it’s not plugged in. Weighing around 3 pounds, I can actually keep it on my lap without having to worry about getting burns on my legs – it’s the coolest-running laptop I’ve ever used. And I almost forgot about the webcam – I will never use it, but the quality is decent (but still worse than my cell phone).
Now, normally when reviewing a computer I wouldn’t even mention software, as it is installed separately and has nothing to do with the hardware itself. However, since this netbook doesn’t have an optical drive and it would be too much work to make a bootable USB drive, I didn’t reinstall Windows on it. I decided to get rid of the crapware manually. It took five hours. The amount of crap software that was bundled with this computer was astonishing. There were about 30 game trials, a bunch of Acer software, a trial of Office, Microsoft Works, DVD software, messengers, and the list can go on. Now really, they installed PowerDVD when this laptop doesn’t even have a DVD drive. It was incredible slow when I first booted it up. After five hours I managed to remove everything, and I am certain it now runs twice as fast without 15 programs running in the background. I really hope Acer got paid large amounts of money to install this much CRAP on this computer. And it’s a shame because 99% of people will never experience the full speed of their computer because they don’t know about the software that’s running in the background, and that they don’t need any of it. This preinstalled crapware is by far the worst part about the Acer Aspire One.
Now here are a few of the things I did to optimize the computer, make it a lot faster, and then a summary. I changed the Windows style to Classic. I removed all the crapware that came with the computer and ran CCleaner and msconfig to optimize startup. I replaced McAfee with AVG Free, and Adobe Reader with Foxit Reader. The only Acer software I kept was Launch Manager, which makes all the media keys work properly.
In conclusion, the Acer Aspire One A0751h looks great, is slow, lasts 8+ hours as advertised, has great WiFi reception, and comes with a lot of crapware. Buy this netbook if you do not need it for gaming or watching movies. This is the perfect note-taking laptop for school. At the $380 MSRP it’s a good deal; at the $314 price I got it for, it’s a steal. I highly recommend this netbook if you need long battery life, light weight, low heat, etc. Do not expect speed or performance though, as that is the opposite of what this computer is designed for. If you have any questions about the Acer Aspire One 11.6″ feel free to ask in the comments below.
Looks – 10/10 (looks great, shiny, great keyboard, screen, etc)
Quality – 10/10 (everything is solid, the WiFi switch wobbles, but that’s minor)
Performance – 3/10 (however, this is what enables long battery life)
Battery Life – 10/10 (Windows XP says 10 hours, but I can get it to 11 if I need to)
Software – 2/10 (the crapware is horrible, like a disease of the operating system)
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