Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Acer Aspire One 8.9" Netbook Review

Someone asked me why I haven't posted my opinion/thoughts regarding the Acer Aspire One 8.9" Netbook since I've been using it for awhile so here are my thoughts/review...

I consider my Acer Aspire One to be my "main" netbook. There are a few models for the Aspire One 8.9" netbook but the model that I use is the A0A150 which comes with 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, an Intel Atom N270 1.60 GHz CPU, and Windows XP Home preinstalled. It has WiFi B/G, three USB 2.0 ports, card reader capable of reading SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/xD.

All in all, I like my Aspire One netbook. The 8.9" screen is bright and when used to view the digital pictures that I've taken with my digital camera, the pictures look very nice.

In my opinion, the only thing missing from it is a GSM SIM slot for using the cellullar carrier's data, a DVD drive, and bluetooth capabilities. If you really want to use the cellular carrier's data network, without internally modifying the netbook, there are 3G/EDGE/GPRS USB data modems that can be used. Getting around the lack of a DVD drive requires purchasing an external USB DVD drive. Without internally modifying the netbook, to allow the netbook to have bluetooth capabilities, all that is required is a USB bluetooth dongle. If so desired, there are various websites that show how to internally modify the Acer Aspire One netbook so that it has bluetooth and/or a USB SIM slot (as well as upgrade the memory).

When I purchased the netbook, I didn't really care about the lack of a DVD drive since I wanted something light and portable. Having a built-in DVD drive would not only add weight to the unit but also increase the size (or thickness). While the DVD drive is in use, it would also drain the battery.

I find the speed of the netbook to be acceptable. However, it is by no means a speed demon. For example, when trying to view YouTube's HD video content over a wired connection (and not wifi connection which is often times slower and less stable), there are quite a lot of pauses in the audio and video. The netbook, however, is capable of watching regular YouTube videos or YouTube videos in HQ without any pauses in audio/video (subject to internet quality).

According to Acer's website, the battery is rated for 3 hours but it of course it depends on usage. For me, based on my typical usage, I've been able to watch a streaming movie of approximately 100 minutes using the netbook's wifi connection before getting a low battery warning.

One of the things that I don't like about the Aspire One is that it is not easy to upgrade the memory. The maximum memory that it can have is 1.5GB. As mentioned above, the Aspire One that I use comes with 1GB of RAM. Out of the box, the memory slot already has a 512MB DDR RAM installed and the remaining 512MB of RAM is soldered onto the motherboard. Since you can only remove the 512MB of DDR RAM from the memory slot and swap it with a 1GB DDR memory, this gives it a maximum of 1.5GB of memory. It is not easy to upgrade the memory since it requires removing the keyboard from the netbook in order to get access to the memory slot. There are various websites/videos showing how this is done. It doesn't appear to be very difficult but it is definitely not as easy as it is on my Asus EeePC where all that is required to upgrade the memory is to remove a small panel on the bottom of the netbook.

I'm also not too fond of the buttons for the touchpad. They sometimes seem to require a somewhat hard push. Most of the time when I'm using this netbook, I'm using an external mouse (and an external keyboard). Speaking about the keyboard, I find the keyboard to be a bit tight/small but when I purchased the netbook, I wanted something small with a screen size of 8.9" so I wasn't expecting a full sized keyboard. I can say that the smaller keyboard reduces my typing speed by roughly 20% which is one of the reasons why I will generally use an external USB keyboard.

If you have any questions/comments regarding my review on the Acer Aspire One 8.9" Netbook, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section.

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