Acer Aspire One Review

Status
Not open for further replies.

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Three weeks ago I bought an Acer Aspire One through Amazon. Acer Aspire One I had been watching this little netbook for some time, and when a six-celled version showed up on Amazon for $360, I bit.

I am very pleased with it. I’ve been looking for a little laptop for years. My first laptop was a Tandy dual floppy drive with an 8086 processor. It booted from an MS-DOS floppy and loaded WP 4.2 from another. It also was the last fun laptop I had. I could type out legal briefs while sitting on a rock near a river and carry it to the library to do research. Back in 1989 it was quite the deal.

Since then, laptops I’ve had have been useful, but not fun. They got heavier and less snappy because of software bloat. Sure, you had features and internet, but I dutifully rather than cheerfully lugged whatever version I had in my briefcase along with the obligatory power module because I was sure to run out of juice.

So along comes the little Acer. This one is fun, snappy, and actually easy to type on. The 6-cell version I have has a genuine 5.5 hour battery life (I recommend avoiding the cheaper 3 cell version because they only have about 2 hours battery life), weighs about 2.5 pounds, is a bit smaller (though thicker) than a spiral notebook, and, to my amazement, has a 160 GB hard drive, Windows XP, WIFI, and 1GB of memory. It comes with an Ethernet port, 3 USB ports, and storage slots. However, there is no CD drive.

Over the past three weeks I loaded it up with MS Office, Adobe Acrobat Pro, TABS time and billing, Dragon Speaking Professional, and a host of other utilities I use daily in my work. (The lack of an optical drive was hardly an issue, I used an 8 gig flash drive to copy installation CDs from my old Lenovo to the flash-- it worked perfectly). I’ve put it through some fairly heavy work like processing over a 1000 pages of document scans to convert to searchable text, and doing legal research and writing at the same time. Routinely I have 4 or 5 applications going and it hasn’t slipped up at all. I’m not a gamer so I can’t say anything about the memory for games, but XP runs fine on 1GB. (But note well, increasing memory is limited to another 512 MB and apparently is fairly difficult—so if you really need more memory, look at the ASUS eee).

A few cautions to temper undue enthusiasm. The screen is small. Some people may hate it for that. It doesn’t bother me at all. In Internet Explorer or Firefox you can hit the F11 key to hide the toolbars for extra space. You can also zoom webpages that have small text. But I’m sure not everyone would be happy with the display—even though it is surprisingly bright. Another thing, the display is glossy and can show reflections. Again, it doesn’t bother me, but I’ve read complaints about that.

The keyboard may not be for everyone. It is 89% of a normal size. I type just fine on it and I have fairly big hands. It reminds me of the transition from a piano to a harpsichord—I just adapt.

The documentation is poor. Basically it tells you how to turn it on and plug in the power block. I had to figure out that the little toggle at the front of the base was not a latch but instead turned on or off the WIFI. I was almost ready to send it back because the WIFI worked the first time I tried, then couldn’t find any hotspots the next. Oops, toggle the switch and everything worked.

Speaking of WIFI, I was a bit concerned initially because it seemed to work intermittently. After checking out some Aspire One forums, I found that the default setting for the WIFI device is “power saver.” This meant that it only came on some 40% of the time. No wonder I could load one website quickly yet the next would take half a minute. The fix was to go to device manager and change the setting. Now it cruises the web and gets mail faster than my Lenovo.

So, I give Acer a D- for documentation. But I give them an A+ for fit, finish, and performance. The little unit is surprisingly well built for such an inexpensive machine. It has become my primary work computer. But the biggest thing is that it is fun, snappy, quick to boot up, comes out of hibernation in less than 5 seconds, and connects to a recognized available WIFI hotspot immediately.

I checked Amazon this evening and the price has gone up a bit to $375. At that price point I’d recommend also keeping an eye on the ASUS eee netbook. It has comparable specs and the option to easily increase memory to 2 gigs, but it costs a bit more. Also, if you want a Linux machine, both manufacturers offer lower prices, and there are models with 8 GB solid state harddrives, but I have no use for such limits. For a full performance work machine that I can literally carry in a large coat pocket, I’m glad to have the Acer.

Acer next to Lenovo:

IMAGE0006small.JPG
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Vic,

Windows XP is still loaded on a new machine? Interesting.

Have fun with your little friend.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Thanks Vic, I appreciate the review. I just bought a MacBook Pro and I love it. My wife and daughters also love it and so it is a valued commodity in our house. I'm thinking of getting a netbook just to relieve some of the pressure on the MacBook.

I'm thinking if I get an Ubuntu machine then it's OS will be close enough to the Mac OS. I'll keep watching.
 

Quickened

Puritan Board Senior
Thanks for the review vic. I am looking at purhaps making a purchase down the road a ways. Its always nice to see a review on something I might not have otherwise looked into
 

Galatians220

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My son just gave me the Acer Aspire for my birthday. (He'd originally given me a Dell Inspiron for Christmas, but that was a total disaster. Even the tech help told me I'd be better off with something with a "standard operating system.")

I really like this little computer. It's fine for my purposes & I'm looking into making it my only computer. Wondering if there'd be any drawbacks...

Thanks, Vic, for posting your review.

Margaret

-----Added 1/28/2009 at 08:55:22 EST-----

Thanks Vic, I appreciate the review. I just bought a MacBook Pro and I love it. My wife and daughters also love it and so it is a valued commodity in our house. I'm thinking of getting a netbook just to relieve some of the pressure on the MacBook.

I'm thinking if I get an Ubuntu machine then it's OS will be close enough to the Mac OS. I'll keep watching.

I had Ubuntu on the Dell; tried to get comfy w/ it but kept freaking...:eek: :p :eek: Gave it a tremendous shot because of the dude who gave it to me: :) Didn't work, though.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I really like this little computer. It's fine for my purposes & I'm looking into making it my only computer. Wondering if there'd be any drawbacks...

Thanks, Vic, for posting your review.

Margaret

If it works for your purposes, I don't see any particular drawbacks. Just make sure you have some decent backup procedure. As with any laptop, hard drives can up and poof without notice.

If it becomes your only computer, and you have no access to any other, then you may want to get an external CD/DVD drive, if only to read the occasional CD someone shares with you or to install some new software. Otherwise, for file sharing, flash drives are getting cheaper by the day and some have more storage capacity than even DVDs.
 

Galatians220

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hold it Margaret. Who or what was freaking? You kept freaking or the software kept freaking?

I was freaking! :lol: :eek: I couldn't get used to the extremely elementary way that one *could* get access to what's called administrative tools, the control panel, etc. on other systems. System files with all default pics of African tribesmen and -women... Finally, about the 17th Dell service tech I talked to (and I was always very nice) volunteered that for a price, I could get American tech help - and also that I was never going to get very good tech help "because not even we understand Ubuntu that well." Thank you, Mr. Patel, or whatever your real name is: you're an honest man! :smug: Deal-breaker! He put me on hold and then, without my mentioning it, and rather sotto voce, informed me that he would be willing to send me boxes for return of the equipment, and that he'd put through a credit on my son's credit card...

Truth be told, I could never get the Ubuntu system to recognize the external drive, of which I now have a great one for my Acer. (Thanks, Vic.) Jim was not happy initially that the equipment was returned or that his card was being credited; that's how I wound up with the Acer mini & the upgraded external drive.

Hope this helps...

Margaret
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top