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.


  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom Processor
  • Mobile Intel graphics chipset
  • 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.


Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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