Friday, January 29, 2010

Acer Aspire One (updated)

I recently bought this Acer Aspire One mini laptop computer to help me in writing my reviews. I wanted to get something so I can write reviews from anywhere and update my site from wireless internet access from locations away from my home. This will allow me to get reviews done a little quicker and with more ease.

I'm not going to get into a full review as there's just way too many features on this computer. But I'll try to list a few of the main features and functions. I will say that I've been very impressed so far with this laptop. If you plan on putting tons of games and large applications on your laptop I'm not sure I'd go with a factory mini laptop without upgrading it. This laptop has plenty of RAM and memory, but I wouldn't want to load it down with those kinds of things. There is room to expand it's memory as well. It's keyboard isn't that much smaller than your standard keyboard either, so typing isn't too hard to get used to. I really like this laptop and I expect good things from it.

One upgrade my wife got for hers that is helpful is a wireless optical mouse. This is much easier than the typical touch pad mouse included on the computer itself. I like this accessory but I haven't gotten one because it's an extra item I have to carry around. It's nice, though for in home use or for when you can spare the extra room to carry it with you. SD cards are also a good accessory to have for storage of things like pictures, music, etc.

Here are some of the functions and features of this mini laptop:
Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition

Platform: Intel Atom Processor N270
Invilink 802.11b/g Wi-Fi certified network connection
Mobile Intel 82801 GBM chipset

System Memory: Single channel with onboard SDRAM and one soDIMM slot
DDR2 533 MHz SDRAM memory interface design
512 MB onboard SDRAM
Upgradeable to 1GB/1.5GB using one 512MB/1GB soDIMM module

Display: 8.9" WSVGA high brightness CrystalBrite TFT LCD, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution.
LED backlight
LVDS interface

Storage: NAND Flash module: 8GB
Hard Disk Drive: 2.5" 9.5 mm 120GB
Storage expansion: SD card reader supporting SD card, MMC, RS-MMC, Memory Stick (MS), MS PRO, xD.
Supports storage cards with adapter: miniSD, microSD, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo.

Audio: High-def audio support
2 built in speakers
MS-Sound compatible
Built-in digital microphone

Communication: Integrated Acer Crystal Eye webcam w/0.3 megapixel resolution
WLAN Acer InviLink Wi-Fi certified network connection
LAN: 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet

Power: 30 W adapter w/power cord
24 W 2200 mAh 3-cell Li-ion battery pack (the web site claims 3 hours on this battery, but I've never seen the battery indicator go over 2 1/2 and most times when fully charged it only indicates about 2:05. This indicator isn't real accurate though as sometimes it'll say 2 hours and about an hour later it only says 38 minutes or something like that), I wish this battery life was better, but it works ok for my applications.

I/O ports: Multi-in-1 card reader
SD Card reader for storage expansion
3 USB 2.0 ports
External display (VGA) port
Headphone/speaker/line-out jack
microphone-in jack
Ethernet (RJ-45) port
DC-in jack for AC adapter

One thing I'd like different about the design is the mouse pad. It has an integrated "wheel" area, which is good, but I wish this area was separated somehow, either by indenting this area or some other way of distinguishing this area as the wheel area. Otherwise you sometimes accidentally use the wheel when you're just trying to move the mouse.

Dimensions: 9.8in x 6.7in x 1.14in
Weight: 2.19 lbs w/3 cell battery

Colors: Pink, Brown, White, Blue, Black

Price: Approx. $350

Where to buy

Update: Well...the one you see here in the picture has been returned. The fan started to get so loud that it sounded like a model prop. plane was sitting on my kitchen table. I returned it to Wal Mart with no issues.

The second one I got ran fine for a couple days then started refusing to shut down properly. You either had to unplug it or remove the battery...take away it's power source. Then I opened the internet browser one day and it froze the computer up and remained a blank internet page. This continued so I restarted to the factory settings. The shutdown and internet problem seemed to go away, but when I inserted an SD card into the reader, the reader wouldn't work no matter what I did. I'm not sure if I had used the reader previously in this second one. Well...pack it up and back to Wal Mart we go.

The third model seems to be working fine so far. Although, I suspect this one is a rebuild. My suspicions stem from a small "ding", if you will, on the back side of the monitor. The right mouse key seems loose too. Not as if it's going to fall off, but just doesn't seem right compared to the mouse keys on the first two or the left mouse key on this one....somethings not right with it.

I've heard that part of the problems stem from the Atom processor on this computer instead of a Pentium...I'm not a computer guy (as far as problems and such) so if anyone has any additional comments on these problems please comment.

This isn't a bad computer, but it's definitely not without it's issues. It seems to be a great little computer if you can get one that doesn't have one of the known issues that this particular model has. My wife's seems to be running fine and hasn't had to be replaced yet....hopefully I don't jinx that now. I definitely wouldn't recommend this computer to someone because of the issues I've had recently. I was telling everyone about it and how cool it was, but I've since put a stop to that.

Update (01/29/10) - Well, my wife has had her Acer Aspire One for a little over a year now, and finally, hers bit the dust too. It just stopped working...obviously a hardware issue. When you turn it on, the fan turns on and revs up and down, but the computer itself doesn't work. We have decided to try out look for that review in the future!


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James G said...

Allot of people don’t know but Acer Laptops are great budget Hard-Use laptops, they are almost on par with ruggedized specialty laptops. I carried one around with me in Iraq for 4 years without a single problem