Acer Aspire One AOA150 Review

Acer redefines mobile connectivity with the Aspire one, a netbook packed with fun and powerful computing features in a diminutive 8.9-inch form factor weighing as little as 2.2 lb. Aimed at business professionals, students and world travelers, wireless connectivity, Internet access, built-in webcam and the storage space needed for digital photos. It is time to simplify your life with the Aspire one. Windows XP Home Edition; Intel Atom Processor N270 (512KB L2 cache, 1.60GHz, 533MHz FSB); 1GB (512MB onboard/512MB SODIMM slot) DDR2 533 SDRAM; 160GB hard drive, multi-in-one card reader, SD Card reader; 8.9-inch WSVGA (1024 x 600) TFT display, Acer CrystalBrite Technology; Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950; 802.11b/g WLAN, 10/100 LAN, webcam; sapphire blue chassis.

I've had mine for 3 days now, and it's been really hard to put down and walk away from. Obviously the portability of it is a big reason, but also because the 6 cell battery lasts so long that I feel like I can just leave it on for a while without feeling the need to keep powering it down or charging it all the time. Also, boot up and shutdown times are a lot faster than my regular laptop.

The build is very solid. There is no flex in the screen or keyboard. I'm not sure how it would hold up if dropped on a hard surface, though. I hope I never have to find out. Keyboard response is nice. The keys don't feel cheap or like they would snap off if more than a little pressure is placed on them. Keys are close to regular size so typing on it doesn't take much getting used to, if at all. The screen is highly reflective and the outer coating has a glossy finish, which I don't prefer because it leaves fingerprints too easily and makes it difficult to see the screen in the daylight. But I'm willing to live with this simply because the computer has so much else going for it.

This computer uses the 1.6 GHZ atom, which is the standard processor included with most ultraportables right now. I've noticed that I can run some moderately intensive software on it, but not smoothly for long periods of time. I tried loading some music software for which a 1.4 GHZ processor is recommended (Native Instruments Absynth 4), just to see how well it would run. I found that it was capable of operating, but it was easy to make the CPU spike if I played more than a few notes at once. Not that I was planning on using this a a music production tool, but I was interested in seeing what I could get away with in case I find myself stuck on an airplane or car trip with my Aspire One and a pair of headphones and want to play around with sounds a little bit. Native Instruments FM8 wasn't so processor intensive and operated much more smoothly. In short, I got about the best response I could have hoped for with the processor and soundcard included. Fairly functional for light doodling.

Windows Media Player 9 was included in the software bundle, so I decided to upgrade it to Windows Media Player 11. I don't know if this was such a smart move, as version 11 may be more resource hungry. I was playing some mp3's while simultaneously updating my music library and the program started hanging on me after about 20-30 minutes. I closed and reopened the program and resumed what I was doing and after 5 minutes, the program again started to hang. By this point, I decided I had been testing the limits of this system for quite a while and the processor was running pretty hot by this point, so I decided to turn it off and put it down for a while.

RAM-wise, it comes with 1 GB and is only expandable to 1.5. I've heard that it is difficult to reach the RAM slot and that it involves taking the computer apart, so I've decided that the marginal increase in memory is not worth the hassle, particularly since the limited processor would not allow you to run much, if any, software that would require more memory than you already have pre-installed in this little thing, so it seems like a moot point to add memory.

The 160 GB hard drive is probably the largest capacity hard drive currently shipping pre-installed in the world of ultraportable PCs, and so far i've only seen it in the latest Aspire Ones. It's the traditional 5400 rpm HDD notebook drive. I like the higher capacity because it means that this computer can double as an additional storage drive to back up files, music, photos, etc. I would not have this luxury if I bought one of the other models on the market with low capacity solid state drives.

I've read reviews of the older Aspire One model and it seems a lot of people had difficulty with the Wi Fi not finding an internet connection and also bios problems. I don't know if Acer addressed these issues in this newer model, but I have not experienced any problems with either so far. If I do, I'll update my review later. So far, this has been a great little toy. You just have to remember that it was not built for intensive computing or high performance, and manage your expectations accordingly.

Purchase Acer Aspire One AOA150-1447 8.9-Inch Netbook (1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, XP Home, 6 Cell Battery) Sapphire Blue

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