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The Acer Aspire One

Ultraportable netbooks are very popular in 2008, but do they measure up to the hype. When it comes to getting some actual work done, Mark Kaelin thinks one actually does. Check out his Product Spotlight on the Acer Aspire One netbook.

Ultraportable netbooks are very popular in 2008, but do they measure up to the hype. When it comes to getting some actual work done, the Acer Aspire One netbook actually works as advertised.

Specifications

  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom Processor
  • Mobile Intel graphics chipset
  • 1GB DDR2 SDRAM
  • 8.9 inch WSVGA LCD 1024 X 600 display
  • 1.3 Megapixel camera
  • SDHC and multi-format media readers
  • 802.11b/g WiFi and 100 bit Ethernet
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • 160GB hard drive
  • Size (LWH): 6.7 inches, 9.8 inches, 1.14 inches
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Retail cost about $470
  • Additional information

Who is it for?

The Acer Aspire One, and all of its fellow competitors in the ultraportable netbook computer market, are trying to appeal the weary information professional road-warrior who needs to get work done while on the move but is tired of lugging bulky notebooks and all of the bag, dongle, and gadget paraphernalia that goes with it.

What problem does it solve?

The Acer Aspire One netbook is the one notebook I have seen so far that actually meets my definition of a useable computer. The Aspire One has the telltale small footprint, but it is not too small like the Dell Mini. It is sturdy and feels solid, but not bulky like the 2Go Classmate PC. Acer has done a good job of blending small size with adequate power to create a netbook computer that one could actually take on the road and get real work done.

Standout features

  • Wider than the competition -- the Acer Aspire One is slightly wider than the 2Go PC and the Dell Mini, which allows it to have a larger keyboard. This small increase in width is important because it allows for near normal typing, which makes answering e-mails and other writing functions definitely more efficient.
  • Larger hard drive -- the Aspire One has a 160GB hard drive, which is considerably larger than the solid state drives common with competing netbooks.
  • Battery charge last longer -- the extended battery life of the Aspire One with the optional 6-cell battery is reported to be 5.5 hours and our testing confirms it.
  • Faster processor -- the Aspire One ships with the 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU

What's wrong

  • Non-standard display resolution -- the Acer Aspire One has a resolution of 1024 X 600. This odd resolution plays havoc with Web sites and applications that are designed around the more conventional display resolutions.
  • Non-standard mouse-click buttons -- The mouse-click buttons are mounted on the sides of the touchpad instead of below it has is typical for notebooks. Coupling this with the sluggishness of the touchpad, means there is definite room for improvement in this area.

Competitive products

Bottom line

The netbook form factor is the hot notebook niche right now and manufacturers are making concerted efforts to fill this market niche. While I have seen several decent netbook computers so far, the Acer Aspire One is the only one of the bunch that measures up as a viable PC to take on the road. The specifications are powerful enough for every day computing, but are housed in a very small package. Acer has engineered a find netbook PC, one that I can see myself using to actually get some work done.

User rating

Are you using an Acer Aspire One netbook? How well does it perform and how do you like it? Take the poll and compare your experience with your peers and then share your experience in the forums.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

31 comments
mikedawgy
mikedawgy

I own an Acer Aspire One. I absolutly love it. I have however made a few changes to it, I changed out my hard drive and installed a 500gb hard disk in it. The only problem that I do have is that it is only upgradeable to 2gb ram, which was easily corrected by using a 16gb flash drive for my ram. Good Job Acer

tracman
tracman

big bios password problem - acer support on it nil. great second laptop otherwise.

mike
mike

I bought the first version with Linux and the solid state drive. First, I hate Microsoft. I had never used Linux but LOVE it and I don't worry about viruses, nasty email tricks, etc. Second, the solid state drive, while small, lets me be free of worries about knocking it around. Since one use was to have a computer to access the net in my motorcycle saddlebag, that was very important. It's the computer to have when you don't want to lug a computer. Third, I get almost 8 hours out of the optional battery. Downside? For my use, absolutely none. You may need more computer. That's not what this was made for.

hdoshaw
hdoshaw

What can I do to speed it up? I just got it a few days ago and only have MS office installed. Trying to open a simple Word document takes at least 10 minutes. What am I doing wrong? Someone suggested formatting the hard drive but I don't know how to do that.

Gedenyu65@gmail,com
Gedenyu65@gmail,com

I have the Acer One w/ WXP 1 gb, 120gbHD. The best part is the very light weight. It is not as fast as my desktop but has served its purpose well during my travel to Europe & Asia. Sad part is when I came back to the states after a long trip abroad, the price dropped $50 & then I now see 10" screen w/ almost the same price & weight.

TopCTO
TopCTO

Hi, I bought the Acer One D150.. It is very cool. It actually is a laptop as it can handle the normal day's activities (email, Internet, MS Office, with other extras quite well) This is my 1st Acer system, and I am quite impressed. No wonder I hear that Acer has highest sale in d Netbook section.

m9078
m9078

My husband and I are retired and when we travel we take a laptop. Ours was a bit heavy so I started looking at the netbooks for travel, email and directions. I chose the Acer over the others for all that it had on it and the size. I can take a larger purse/bag and throw it in and we are off. And the price was great. We love it.

toddawilsonk
toddawilsonk

I Purchased the Aspire one and am quite satisfied the keyboard is tight but very responsive, ultra clear display good battery life and processing speed. I can also run 2 virtual servers windows 2008 simultaneously off of it. Also I have remote desktop which was initially reported as not being available in Windows XP home. An all around solid machine.

dskolnik
dskolnik

Just got one, and except for the tiny buttons on the mouse pad, I love it! Does exactly what I want it to do - gives me Web access wherever I have wireless without making me lug around a heavy laptop. I paid a very reasonable price for mine, too.

Ian Thurston
Ian Thurston

The only niggle I have about this beauty which I bought about a month ago is the 3-cell battery supplied with it. According to most reports, the charge life of the 3-cell supplied with the Aspire is a bit more than 2 hours, and the overall battery lifetime is about 300 charging cycles - that'd be about a year of daily usage on my commutes. The simple solution to that is to lay out about $100 for the 6-cell battery, which more than doubles the charge life.

mdhealy
mdhealy

I got mine in December 2008 for two purposes, both of which it does quite well. Purpose number one is travel; over Christmas break I took my new Aspire One instead of a standard-size laptop. For email checks at places like airports and cafes, it was perfect -- a lot easier to carry around, battery life well over five hours, and the size of keyboard and display were not as limiting as I had feared they would be. Purpose number two is to replace a desktop box that was purchased circa 2002; when I'm not on the road it's plugged into the peripherals formerly used by that desktop box through a little USB hub, and it handles dual-display mode with an Envision 1280x1024 LCD panel quite nicely. Of course I did have to get an external DVD burner, and also I got a USB floppy drive. My wife and I have yet to use the floppy drive, but I thought it prudent to have one because the old desktop box was the last computer in the house with a floppy drive and I wanted the ability to read old floppies just in case...

cookspc
cookspc

I like this computer. I am a reseller/network var and I have sold a few of these (all the Windows version). I will buy one for my own use with Windows, but I will install some version of linux for my own use. Why buy Windows if I intend to use linux? Because I want to use linux my way not Acer (or any other manufacturers) crippled version of linux. Also I do occasionally use Windows in support of a customer or to access a website that demands it. It costs almost nothing on this system. For this reason many sales of these computers are going to appear to be Windows sales at the expense of linux and the opposite is true. I am only buying the machine with Windows because Windows is so cheap this way and I want a different version of linux anyway. Think about this when you see stats that claim Windows far outsells linux on netbooks. I have the AspireOne with the pre-installed Linpus-Lite and it works flawlessly. If you have someone who only wants to do e-mail, internet, write letters, do spreadsheets, and make presentations then the as delivered applications will work fine and they are presented in such a simple interface no one will have to be trained or tutored on how to access them. It is like an appliance.. there are people who should have this.. you know who you(they) are. Oh multimedia.. it plays flash, mp3, ogg out of the box. I haven't tried others. When I sell it I will offer it as a bundle with a mouse since I don't like the placement of the buttons on the touch pad either. I will also offer the installation of their choice of linux distribution if they desire. All potential customers must sit through a short demo of linux. We only sell face to face.. no mail order or internet sales. This isn't a commercial just an explanation of how I plan to market this type of product in case some of you may be in the same type of business.

demiwebman
demiwebman

I bought this with one purpose in mind: travel. At just over 2 lbs, I barely noticed it in my backpack. The built-in SD card readers allowed me to easily transfer my digital pictures from my Nikon SLR. Also the built-in webcam was cool to say hello to the kids back home. We made PC-to-phone calls back to the states from Madrid, Spain via Skype and it worked like a good cell phone connection. The Acer One works perfectly for me and the price was definitely right. I would recommend one to anybody looking for a travel Netbook. Got mine for just $299 at Micro Center.

steveschiffer
steveschiffer

When I first looked at these I was turned off by the almost mandatory linux distribution. When I saw these advertised with XP as well as the large hard drive, I was pleasantly surprised. As a gift to the wife, I replaced my old laptop that was getting a bit, ah, eccentric (no longer reliable) with the pink Acer One from Walmart (spent

bbarnes
bbarnes

I have one of the Linux Aspire One computers and it is my first venture into Linux. I like the computer and Linux (unless you want to install software then Linux is too geeky). I think the Lenovo IdeaPad S10e is a better Windows computer than the Aspire One.

glynn
glynn

My recently purchased Acer One does exactly what it is intended for, reading and writing email and small jobs while on the road or on vacation. Reviewers who make comments like "the keyboard is to small", "it is underpowered" and so on seem in the middle of their review to lose sight of its purpose. If you need more power, bigger screen and so on use a regular laptop. This little guy fills the bill for what it is supposed to be and the price is right. Other competitors are price up to $700 HP with no more features.

chaslbolt
chaslbolt

Been in the computer industry for over 40 years and still have active company. In the past have recommended Acer many times, but in past year have seen some really lousy products evolve .. and found their support section to be less than helpful. Searched the internet and found many, many others who feel the same way. Acer needs to wake up before they also become a 'has-been'

bresnick
bresnick

I had narrowed my Netbook selection choices down to two. The Acer and the MSI Wind. Although the Acer seems to be a bit more "sturdy", especially in the screen hinges, I finally opted for the MSI wind for the following reasons: 1. Larger 10" wide screen allows for web pages to display full width with no horizontal scrolling required. 2. At the time of purchase it was at least $75 less (on the street) than the Acer. I got it for $299 after rebate with free shipping.

mckinnej
mckinnej

I got one of these for my adult daughter. She likes it a lot. She doesn't have any problems with the keyboard with her smaller hands. For myself I got the Samsung. It's a little bigger which allows it to have an even bigger keyboard. I was able to adjust to it pretty quickly. It has a larger screen too which is good, but it still has the 1024x600 resolution. Generally I agree with everything in this article except the problem with the resolution. I haven't come across any web sites that caused me any problems yet, but I don't surf around that much either. If netbooks capture a significant market share we might see designers rethinking page layouts. Many sites devote 25% or more of their pages to advertising content. Will the advertising get pushed down or will it get more in your face? Also, with less prime page real estate to work with, the value of page space goes up. It will be interesting to see how it evolves.

lccurtis1
lccurtis1

I make it a habit to format my drive as soon as I purchase a new system and reinstall the OS. However if you are not familiar with that you can uninstall most of the crap-ware from acer that is probably running in your start-up. If you have programs installed that you more than likely will not use take them off. and then run a disk defrag. This should help you.

lccurtis1
lccurtis1

Well unfortunately we cant always have the latest and greatest technology because it changes very rapidly. You have a great little work horse, so enjoy it and wait a couple of years and then you can upgrade to the 10 inch.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I don't mind the Aspire One's keyboard as much as some of the others, but commenting about the size is a vital part of the review. The "intended for" tasks you mention all involve the keyboard - it is an important consideration.

nathanpatrick1
nathanpatrick1

Completely and totally agree that thier tech support is terrible (Here in the US). From what I have gathered however, due to Acer's amazing popularity in Europe that's where Acer has put there money. Even speaking of accessories for the Aspire One on the US website there are hardly any options, but go to the UK website and there are many options. As far as them going the way of the buffalo I really doubt it. The Acer Aspire One 10.1 is an exceptional product. I travel extensively for the US Navy right now and this netbook has literally taken a load off my shoulders. When a commercial airplane begins to feel more like home than actually being home the Acer netbook is a requirement!!! Can't beat the almost 7 hr battery life I am getting. Once Acer realizes there market in the US is substantial I believe we will see an increase in domestic support here.

lccurtis1
lccurtis1

I have to agree with you. I love my Acer One, but there tech support really is BAD. I sent my AA1 in for system fan issue after only 2 months of use. I was told it would take 7-10 business days before I recieved my system back. I call every other day just to check the status and I was told 3 different time 7-10; 7-14; and then 14-20, that was all I could take after speaking with the support supervisor he explain that turn around is 7-10 days and my system was recieved on Jan 30, 2009 so I have about 7 days to see. The level of technical ability of there tier 1 and 2 support personnel is questionable at least.

blaise
blaise

Took home this Acer. After an hour of so-so XP performance, wiped the drive and Installed Windows 7 Professional. I could not believe how fast it installed. All drivers installed automatically. It runs like the wind. This little baby boots up to logon in 15 seconds and runs all my apps well including Office 2007. I leave it in the glovebox of my car, and can actually support my customers from anywhere! Put Windows 7 on this computer and you will be amazed how fast it is. Solidly built and the battery life is unbelievable. I haven't turned on my other notebooks in 2 weeks.

stuart221889
stuart221889

If you are looking for a notebook th ebest one to choose is the samsung nc10 rrp 329 i picked mine up for 260 inc delivery. with SPECIFICATIONS: 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB hard disk, Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics, 10.2in 1,024 x 600 TFT, 1.3mp webcam, VGA, 3 x USB, SD/SDHC/MMC card reader, Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR, 802.11bg, 10/100 Ethernet, Windows XP Home, 1yr International warranty, 261 x 186 x 37mm (WDH), 1.31kg and a decent size keyboard If you check the reviews in any magazines it has been voted the best

lccurtis1
lccurtis1

It has the exact same specs as the 10 inch Acer aspire One, so explain to me what makes it the best choice? purchasing a netbook or any computer is a matter of preference for most. Therfore what may be good to you may not be as wonderful for others. almost every netbook on the market these days have identicle specs and so far Acer has managed to come out on top because they provide a low priced product that is identicle in specs to some of the much higher priced solutions.

lccurtis1
lccurtis1

Well I would have to disagree with you on this. First I own a Acer and I have the 6 cell battery and I usually max out at about 6-6.5 hours and as far as build quality thats just a matter of opinion. To sum it up I search the blogs all day and I have yet to find a Samsung NC10 for no less than $400.00. So if you don't mind disclosing where you purchased your device so that I can run out and by a few to sale myself for some of my clients because that price would catch anyones eye.

stuart221889
stuart221889

If you are referring to the acer ONE D150-1587 even though the specs are similar not the same as the nc10, the nc10 is still a better notebook. The build quality on the samsung is far better than acers attemps with their all of their laptops. Plus with the 6 cell battery the samsung has the battery can last up to 8hrs where the acer only lasts up to 3hrs. You can also buy a 9cell battery for the samsung which will make the notebook last even longer The acer also has no av output either where the samsung does. I bought my nc10 for $260 where the acer is $330 So for what reason do you still think the acer is better than the samsung ????