13 June 2009


Acer's Recession-Busting Netbook

By late last year, the Acer Aspire One had beaten out ASUS's combined offerings to become the topselling netbook—or so market research firm DisplaySearch concluded. The One reached this pinnacle because of its low price—despite a smaller-thanaverage (8.9-inch) screen and a pair of awkwardly placed mouse buttons. This Aspire One is the longoverdue update, and as its name implies, the screen size has finally grown to the more-popular 10 inches. Also, the mouse buttons have been relocated. It's not as well equipped as the ASUS EeePC 1000HE (see page 9), but the price is still right.

Design isn't one of the One's strengths. It's a hit thicker, bigger, and heavier than most of its rivals (in part owing to the six-cell battery sticking ow an extra inch), and its case is not as flashy as theirs. Although the mouse buttons are better placed than in the previous version. they are still tiny and difficult to press. The One's keyboard, at 89 percent of full size, hasn't yet caught up with those of its peers. Not much has changed in the feature set: You get three USB ports, VGA-out, an Ethernet port, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, 802.11g and a 4-in-1 card reader. The hard drive has been bumped up to 160GB, however.

In performance, the Aspire One was on a par with its competition, but battery life was mysteriously impressive. Although its six-cell battery capacity (59 Wh) is less than that of the ASUS 1000HE (63 Wh), the Aspire One somehow produced 8 hours 46 minutes of battery life, compared with 6:36 for the ASUS. If you don't mind the keyboard and navigation issues, and price is of the uppermost concern, the Aspire One is worth a look. Otherwise, spend the extra $50 for our EC, the ASUS EeePC 1000HE. Cisco Cheng

Specs: 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270; 1GB DDR2 SDRAM; 160GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive; 128MB Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950; 10.1-inch, 1,024-by-600 display; 2.9 pounds (3.5 pounds travel); three USB ports; 59-Wh, 5.8-Ah lithium ion battery; Windows XP Home Edition.

PC Magazine April 2009