Acer Aspire One

Written by Joe Martin

August 4, 2008 | 01:12

Tags: #acer-aspire-one #aspire #eee #laptop #mininote #notebook #portable #subnotebook #sub-notebook #umpc

Companies: #acer

One Hit Wonder

Testing a device like the Acer Aspire One is always hard. It isn’t built for performance, it’s built for portability and it’s on that front that it succeeds – the entire unit weighs only about two pounds.

There’s no way that you can run benchmarks or speed tests on a device like the Aspire One. Even if you found a game that you could install easily without a CD drive then you’d still have to make sure that it ran well in Linux – and given that each distro is different, those results would be mostly useless.

One thing we can test though – objectively that is, as even our keyboard tests are at least a little bit subjective – is the battery life. This is something we can bend to our will and rend asunder with our world of measurements and graphs. We can strap the notebook to the table and flay the voltage from its bone with the decisive, terrible energies of our expectations. We can leave it empty, discarded and drained of anima.

Or we can just leave it on and see how long it takes for the battery to run down in an idle test with no WiFi and a balanced power setting. Y’know, whatever.

Acer Aspire One Acer Aspire One - Performance

With the WiFi off and the screen dimmed to medium, with those tiny, tinny speakers that sound like screaming mice being lowered into a volcano mercifully deactivated the Acer Aspire One lasted for…two hours and forty minutes. Which isn’t great.

Ok then, that’s not really very good at all. It’s the same as the MSI Wind (though the One is fractionally smaller) and enough to get you through the basics, but with the WiFi on and some music playing then you can expect that time to plummet. The battery life is part of a trade-off though and the three cell battery is at least very lightweight.

Expectations of battery life wax and wane – is two and half hours a good time? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on what you’re doing and whether you really have to be away from a power outlet, or just don’t want to plug it in. Sitting in your lounge? Battery life isn’t an issue. That time I started sending messages across the hall to Richard while I was on the loo? Battery life was more important then, as was water resistance. Also, Rich didn’t find it as funny as I did. (The blow by blow updates of Joe’s bowel movements are not something I ever needed to know about, let alone in realtime– Ed).

One place where the Acer Aspire does suffer a bit though is in the extras department. We don’t ask for much – and while a flexible titanium envelope to hold the Acer Aspire One would be nice in terms of protection, it isn’t realistic. But something would be nice, especially when the Eee and MSI Wind come with some sort of container.

Acer Aspire One Acer Aspire One - Performance

Conclusions

Acer does have a secret strength though – an Acer in the whole as it were, zing! Cost is one of the main strengths of the Acer Aspire One. At the moment you can expect the Eee 901 from Asus to be retailing for around £300 - £320. The MSI Wind? Around £330 to £370. There’s some lee-way there, but that’s the norm from what our searching tells us.

The Acer Aspire One though? Which has the same resolution, connectivity, battery life and a keyboard to be proud of (and which is just downright better than the Eee)? £235 - £300 depending on your configuration, which is quite a saving. That cash would buy you a very nice laptop bag and a USB stick with plenty of capacity – though be warned that Linpus is a bit fiddly when it comes to copying files. You’ll need to always make sure you disconnect your devices safely, which nobody ever does (or is it just me?), or the files don’t actually copy.

The Linpus OS is still a strong point for Acer though and does a good job of making all your applications and games immediately accessible. It isn’t that the Xandros distro, which is the OS of the Aspire’s natural competitor the Eee PC, is bad – but Linpus Linux Lite is just presented better. It works and is a little better looking. You can’t really argue with that.

There are some issues. Shoddy speakers and a trackpad that is more hand-cramping and difficult than doing the secret ant-man handshake with every ant in a colony are the main problems, but the Aspire One does a good job of overcoming them and still offering great performance and usability. It isn’t quite perfect, but it comes damn close and is definitely the most attractive subnotebook we’ve seen since the Eee PC 701 first landed.

  • Build Quality
  • x
  • x
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  • x
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  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10
  • Features
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10
  • Ease of Use
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • 9/10
  • Value
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • 10/10
  • Overall
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • 9/10
What do these scores mean?

Acer Aspire One Acer Aspire One - Performance

Acer Aspire One


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