Advantages Great value for money; nice keyboard for the size.
Disadvantages Short battery life, no built-in 3G, unconventional mousepad layout.
This is Acer's entry into the netbook arena and mostly it's a pretty good machine. You get the same Atom CPU as is in most of the other leading contenders, a 1024x600 9-inch screen, 1GB RAM, 160GB Hard drive, 3USB ports and a webcam. This is all for a price a bit less than the competition, although there are a few issues of ergonomics with the machine that you'd want to look at first.Netbooks generally aren't going to have the same power as laptop and desktop machines, even those that are a few years old. Don't be fooled by the clock speed of the Atom; it's a much simpler processor and doesn't really pack more punch than a Pentium III. The reason netbooks use it is for its low power consumption. Consequently no netbook is going to be good for things like HD video editing, 3D games and computer aided design. However it will handle web browsing, chat, office applications and casual games with relative ease.
A big selling point is one of the nicest keyboards for its size. Where things like the Eee PC 901 take a fair amount of practice to get used to, most touch typists could use the Aspire One straight away with good speed and accuracy. Since the keyboard is the distinguishing feature between these machine and smaller, yet still very powerful, smartphones and ultra compact PCs, I'd think that an important configuration.Unfortunately, this doesn't quite extend to the mousepad which has a strange layout with the keys on the side rather than at the bottom. This is understandable in light of getting as much room for a good keyboard as possible but does take some getting used to.
It's particularly cheap if you go for the Linux version, which is very nicely presented and including the sort of office, web browsing, media applications and games that'll make it a useful machine without any additions. However, unless you've got reasonably good hacker skills you won't easily be able to add much to those and run the risk of having to reinstall from scratch if you attempt anything too ambitious and mess the machine up in the process. The Windows version will set you back another £50 and is probably the one to go for if you do need to set up custom additional software. However that runs it into the same price bracket as some rather better netbooks such as the Samsung NC10 and Advent 4211. If Linux won't do, you should probably look at one of those.The one final consideration is battery life and the Aspire One isn't particularly good here. You'll get two and a half hours from one at best which is OK for occasional use away from the power socket, moderate train commutes and short haul flights. However, it's not going to be much use for long haul travellers and those looking for truly mobile computing either. A lack of built in 3G means you've also got to get an additional modem or find a wireless LAN somewhere for internet use.
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Acer redefines mobile connectivity with Aspire one, the revolutionary netbook packed with fun and powerful computing features in a diminutive 8.9...
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