Acer Aspire One Review

September 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)




Posted in Desktops & Laptops, Reviews

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13 Responses to “Acer Aspire One Review”

  1. Judi says:

    Excellent review! Really enjoyed this and REALLY appreciated the tips on what to uninstall so it will run even faster. So you didn’t have any trouble with the keyboard at all I take it? I just switched to the mini-laptop; and I think my hands (even though I am a female) may really be struggling with the smaller keyboard (which I understand is much worse on other brands). But WOW! I am really having a hard time with the keyboard seeming to have a mind of its own (so-to-speak) and was wondering if you’ve heard anything from any of your review readers about this?

    For example – I can be typing along and the next thing I know it highlights the text I typed and completely deletes it. Not sure if it is a certain key sequence I am using or what, but I certainly don’t have this problem on reg. laptops or desktops; but on this Aspire One it happens alot. I’ve also been in the middle of typing a document, etc and have had the cursor wind up somewhere else on the screen and it starts typing there instead. LOL. Ah the joys of new stuff huh? Thanks for any advice you have :0). Have a great day.

  2. WordPlop says:

    @ Judi:

    I have no trouble at all with the keyboard, like I said it’s full sized so it’s like any other laptop keyboard. What you are talking about with the highlighting and cursor movement, that is all because of the trackpad. When typing, your palm touches the trackpad and causes unwanted mouse movement and clicks. I’ve had this problem on every laptop I’ve used, although it happens infrequently.

    What you can do (on this Acer) is go to “Start” and open “Control Panel”. Then open “Mouse”, click the “Device Settings” tab on the top, and click “Settings…”. This will open the Synaptics Touchpad properties screen. Then click on the “+” next to “Sensitivity” on the left, and select “PalmCheck”. Then just read the directions on how to adjust it, and it should help a lot, if not fix it completely.

    I was really impressed with the mouse drivers for the touchpad on this computer, they have a huge amount of options. Play with it until you get it setup perfect; you can customize every aspect of the touchpad.

    Hope this helped 🙂

  3. WPS says:

    I know you said not for watching movies but are avi or divx really unwatchable?

    THanks,
    WPS

  4. WordPlop says:

    @ WPS:

    They’re totally watchable if it’s not above DVD quality. Watching high quality videos through flash is unwatchable however.

  5. Scott says:

    Great and thorough review. Thank you.

    Can you advise or give your opinion as to which programs/files might be removed (from the base o/s or otherwise standard configuration) for optimal performance?

    Specifically, programs that won’t degrade the netbook’s functionality?

    Just your list of them then?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. WordPlop says:

    @ Scott:

    Since I uninstalled all the bad programs already, I cannot make a list, sorry. There is only one program which would degrade functionality, and that is what enables the WiFi LED to work and it shows when you press Fn keys on the screen (like volume on a TV). But everything else is junk.

  7. […] did I get with my Acer Aspire One for $314? A 1366×768 screen that’s 11.6 inches, a full sized keyboard, a 1.33GHz Intel […]

  8. jennifer says:

    i just bought the aspire one netbook used on craigslist. my battery will not hold a charge and i was wondering when you charge it is the battery light suppose to stay on while charging or blink? my light will stay red for about 5 minutes then it will start blinking. this is while i have it plugged in. when i unplug the adapter the whole laptop shuts off. so i was wondering if this is my battery or adapter?

  9. WordPlop says:

    @ jennifer:

    The light on my model stays on and is orange, no blinking, when charging. Red means the battery is totally drained. I’m pretty sure it’s your battery, because the charger would either work or it wouldn’t work, I don’t think it can cause any of these blinking messages.

  10. Tonya says:

    Great reviews everybody!

    I have just bought an Aspire One AO533-13509; and I am having a bit of trouble in using the keyboard. Since it’s a bilingual machine, there are symbols in green for the French version. But when I was trying to use the @ symbol; it won’t show the @, instead it print something else!!! In order to get the symbol @, I have to use the “Alt” key.

    Would someone please tell me how to make use of these keys on the bilingual machine? In fact I did try to change it to US-English (or Canadian-English), but it did not stick! LOL.

    Thanks.

  11. […] Acer Aspire One came with 1GB of memory, and after installing Windows 7 on it, that 1GB has become inadequate. I […]

  12. […] operating system, Windows 7 is a lot better. I would never even think about installing Vista on my Acer Aspire One netbook, with its tiny 1.3GHz Atom processor and 1GB of memory. But I did think about installing Windows 7. […]


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