Monday, June 29, 2009

ACER One Netbook Review

I have recently acquired an ACER Aspire One Netbook to review for possible use in school through the ACER K12 Seed program, which gives you a netbook to review with the option to purchase it at a discount after the review period. I would love to be able to have 1-to-1 computing in my room and I believe that a netbook could make that possible. They are cheaper than full size notebook pc's, fit better on desks, and do everything we need them to do. They have wi-fi, so the students can access Google Docs, the internet, and their email, along with the online programs and sites that we use in class. Their size also makes them easier to store securely.

The model I received is the Blue 10.1" monitor D250-1185. The blue cover is a beautiful, dark shade of blue that is a welcome break to plain old black or white.

It has Windows XP Home Edition, SP 3 pre-installed, along with a 60 day trial of Office 2007. The trial offer is not an issue since I use OpenOffice or Google Docs anyway. The CPU is an Intel Atom running at 1.60 GHz with 1GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard disk drive.

Startup took under 1 minute, which is faster than my Centrino laptop with 2GB of RAM.

The processor is powerful enough to do email, web surfing, document editing, and much more. I wouldn't recommend it for any processor intense applications, but it is more than adequate for 90% of what most people do with a computer.

The size is great. It has a 10.1" (diagonal) WSVGA TFT LCD screen, which is easy to read, even in bright light. It is 10.17" long x 7.24" wide x 1" thick. Yes, it is only 1" thick. It only weighs 2.95 lbs. with the six cell battery.

The six cell battery is a 48.8 W 44oo mAh Li-ion pack with a 6 hour rated life. I found it to be pretty accurate, with average battery life running over 6 hours.

The ACER is very comfortable to hold and carry also.

It has a built in web cam, built in stereo speakers, built in microphone, a multi-card reader which supports SD, MMC, MS, MS Pro and xD cards. Finally, a use for my old SD cards now that my smart phone uses micro-SD cards.

It includes Wifi (802.11 b/g) and a 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port. Built-in Bluetooth and WWAN are available as options.

The keyboard is 89% of the size of a full-size keyboard. I have very large hands and I was able to use the keyboard with minimal issues. After a few hours of use, I had adapted to the smaller keyboard without issues. My wife, whose hands are smaller than mine, had no problems using the keyboard. The Touchpad is a nice size, with two buttons below it and multi-touch commands.

The Aspire One has a variety of I/O ports, including the multi-card reader, three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port, headphone/speaker/line-out jack, microphone in-jack, the ethernet port, and the DC adaptor port.

The built in speakers are adequate for one person to listen to in a quiet environment. They do not have enough volume to use for much beyond one person without much background noise. They are angled downward at the front of the case, so the surface can deflect some of the sound. I found them fine for my own use. Headphones or external speakers are recommended for any other uses.

I found the Apsire One to be very responsive and easy to use. I was able to do everything that I do on my desktop, including photo editing, web surfing, video watching, and more. I would expect the Atom processor to have some issues with major multimedia editing and creation, but then again the netbook was not designed for that kind of work.

The only accessory I would recommend is a protective sleeve. I bought a neoprene one at Staples for under $20. It protects from scratches, bumps, and moisture.

Overall, I would rate the Acer Aspire One as a 9.1 out of 10. It was easy to set up and use and did everything I needed it to do. It is very portable and easy to carry. It is inexpensive. It is a great option for schools looking to initiate 1-to-1 computing. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a great netbook. I am definately buying this when the review period is up. It will come in handy for me and my wife to use, both at school and as a great mobile device.


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