Acer Aspire One Netbook Review

Product Features

  • 1.6GHz Atom N270 Processor
  • 8GB solid state hard drive, 512MB DDR2 SDRAM (expandable)
  • 802.11b/g, Ethernet, three USB 2.0, VGA, and 3.5mm audio out
  • 1.3 megapixel camera, SDHC and multi-format media readers
  • Linpus Linux Lite operating system

This summer, while I was busy with military training, I decided to buy a netbook for my use during training. My ultimate purpose in buying it was to give it to my wife to use on the train on her way to and from work. She is a writer and spends two hours on the train every day so it is an ideal time for her to work on her book.

As soon as I purchased the computer and received it, people started asking questions about it. My wife gets questions about it almost every day on the train. It’s kind of funny because they are all the rage among techies but the general public, at least here in the U.S., has not yet fully caught on to the netbook craze (at least that’s the case here in the DFW metro, it may be different elsewhere).

Here are my laymen’s thoughts on the computer:

Price: When I purchased this computer in late July, I paid $369 for it from Buy.com. I felt it was the best netbook value at the time. Since then, the price for this model has dropped to $329 making it an absolute steal.

Build Quality: I have looked at the MSI Wind, HP Mininote 2133, and Asus Eee and the Acer has a build quality equal or superior to the MSI and Asus. The Mininote, with its aluminum case, is a step above in terms of build quality, but it is also more expensive and uses a slower processor.

Connectivity: The Acer Aspire One has good connectivity for such a small computer. The 3 USB ports produce enough juice to power a portable HD without using the extra USB plugs. I’ve never had any problems with the wireless or LAN and the memory card reader comes in handy for viewing images from a memory card.

Expandability: The RAM on this computer would be no fun to upgrade (just Google Aspire One RAM upgrade guide to find out what I mean). So, if the 512 included in this model won’t be enough for you, I recommend buying a model with more RAM preinstalled. This is one of the few major faults with this unit and Acer really should make the RAM more accessible.

The AAO also has a second SD card slot that you can use to expand your available HD space. When and SD card is installed, the computer combines the SSD and the SD card into one unit. In other words, the SD card will not show up as a second drive. I have a 16GB Transcend card that I bought from Amazon in mine. It gives me a lot of extra breathing room in terms of storage. The built in 8GB SSD might not sound like much, but the ease of expanding the storage with an SD card makes it not nearly as a big a deal.

Usability: The operating system is a Linux based OS called Linpus Lite. Here is what I have discovered after doing numerous OS reinstalls. If you don’t know Linux, don’t try and hack the OS. There are some great forums out there devoted entirely to the AAO and Linpus Linux. There are hundreds of hacks and tweeks that you can make to the OS to customize it and make it more usable. However, if you screw something up, you are pretty much doomed to an OS reinstall unless you are a Linux guru. Once I stopped trying to use some of the fancy hacks and just resigned myself to use the OS as is, the system has worked perfectly well. The only thing I did do was enable the advanced mode of the OS which gives the user access to more features on the OS than just what you can see on the front pages.

Thankfully, there are thousands of Linux users out there who are willing to share their wisdom with helpful guides on how to install programs. Installing a program on Linux is more difficult than windows, but so far I have been able to find all the help that I need from this forum.

Conclusion:

The netbook performs the tasks that it was purchased for exceedingly well. Surfing the internet is a breeze. Word processing and running Microsoft documents is a piece of cake using the included Open Office programs. Overall, as long as you are not looking for a desktop replacement and just need something for basic computing, this little netbook should be high on your list. It’s got great build quality, great usability, and the price makes it stick out above the ever growing pack of netbooks.

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2 thoughts on “Acer Aspire One Netbook Review

  1. Thanks for the tip Caleb. I just got one with the 1 Gb of ram and 120 G hard drive for my deployment. It should be perfect for what I’ll need it for and you can’t beat the combo of portability and price.

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