Darren Kitchen Posted August 27, 2008 Share Posted August 27, 2008 Here's my review: http://www.darrenkitchen.net/acer-aspire-o...c-701-as-haktop It occurred to me the other day while reviewing past footage that essentially I’ve had the same notebook computer for the last 3 years. I guess that’s not too bad but when I got my Dell Inspiron 700m it was already a year old. Then earlier this year I picked up the Asus eee PC thinking it was an adequate replacement. I was wrong. While the eee PC 701 is a great fun machine to play with it lacks in some key areas. Namely after much time with it the shortcomings of the keyboard, screen and processor really got to me. Thankfully Asus has addressed these concerns with its plethora of models since the original 701 series came out, all of which look like decent rigs. The only problem is the price of these newer models has raised considerably. Enter Acer’s Aspire One. I first heard of this bad boy when visiting Pronobozo in Toronto for the Pure Pwnage Episodes 16-17 screening. He was between desktops and had picked up this inexpensive netbook to get by. My first impression was amazing. The 9″ glossy screen, atom processor and spacious keyboard had me at first sight. Then when he told me the cost I was immediately sold. The following day I walked down to Canada Computer at 366 Bloor St. in Toronto to pick one up. Awesomely I was recognized by one of the sales guys. “You’re that guy from Hak5, right?” I love Toronto. Unfortunately they were also remodeling that day and didn’t have any in stock. The other sad fact was that the Canadian version, which had come out a few weeks before the US version, had a multilingual English/French keyboard. It’s kinda a big deal to me, I’m pretty picky about the location of the \ and / keys, size of enter, shift, and backspace, and placement of ~. (This coming from the guy who started on an IBM PC-XT with an 83 key keyboard. F11, what’s that?) So when I got back to the states I checked it out again and when I found the 120 GB version on sale at a shop near my office I immediately picked it up (along with a case of bawls). Now, after a week of abuse and testing, I present my report on the Acer Aspire One AOA150. Cons # it dropped in price by $50 2 days after I bought mine (then again I had a feeling it would after reading the gadget blogs but wanted it now so that’s on me) # battery life only 2.5 hours on the 3 cell # won’t boot off SD card (at least with the stock bios. hopefully this gets fixed) # no integrated bluetooth. (not difficult to mod in if you can work a soldering iron, else grab one of those itsy bitsy usb bluetooth dongles that don’t protrude much) # fan and hdd louder than eee pc 701. quieter than my old dell but not silent # parts are expensive. 6 cell battery alone is $100 or so I’ve read. Should have waited for the 160gb/6-cell version to come out for the same price I got my 120/3. # touchpad is obviously multi-touch capable but the drivers don’t support it. # touchpad left and right mouse click buttons are in weird placement. takes some getting used to. # acer’s own support site is lacking in the driver area. thankfully aspireoneusers.com had ‘em Pros # The glossy 8.9″ 1024×600 LED backlit screen is bright and beautiful. The least expensive screen of its size in the netbook arena. # The keyboard is spacious. Nearly as big as my Dell Inspiron 700m in size and everything is laid out perfectly. No funky key placement on the US version like the EEE PCs, HP MiniNotes, MSI Winds, Cloudbooks, etc. Full size shift, enter, backspace keys. Effortless typing. Good response. Ok travel. No learning curve. # The HDD is roomy and not too loud. I’ve got the 120gb version. A 160gb version with a 6-celll battery came out with the recent price drops. If you get the inexpensive 8gb SSD version with Linux instead of XP you’re in for a treat. The Aspire One has two media card reasers. A muli-format on the right which accepts major formats including SD and Memory Stick and an SD card reader on the left which, when occupied, gets added to the available space on the SSD. How cool is that? # The hardware is solid and commonly supported. The Acer Aspire One AOA150 shares the same graphics and network chipsets as the Asus eee PC 901. This is great news if, like me, you plan to use BackTrack on the machine as a module for this hardware have already been created. ;) # This thing packs performance. I benchmarked it against the eee pc 701 and it was no competition. I benchmarked it against my old Dell Inspiron 700m and again, smoked it. In Windows it’ll run Photoshop, Sony Vegas, Open/MS Office and any other app I use on a day to day basis (VMWare Server not included). # On the Linux side I’m very pleased with its performance as well. It boots BT3 in seconds and most importantly has the horsepower behind the wireless chipset to really do some packet sniffing/injection. I benchmarked it against my ALFA (AWUS036H / Realtek 8187) running on a BT3 VM on a dual core host and it totally spanked it cracking WEP (my test AP, not my neighbors cough). I started a dump minutes after the ALFA box and a few minutes later when I stopped ‘em both the ALFA had 67,000 IVs where the Aspire One had grabbed over 177,000. (The eeePC 701 had 49,000 but I started it later. Not a perfect test) # Nice color selection. I picked up the blue one. The mac-envy white looks pretty good too. I’m sure @snubs wouldn’t mind one in pink. And for you Zune fans there’s one in brown. Yeah. # The 120gb version came with a legit XP license. Kinda nice to have. Then again when I’m done with this thing it’ll hopefully be tripple booting XP, BackTrack and OSX. ;) # Stylish. The glossy cover, accent colors and intelligent button, led, webcam and fan placements are appreciated. Too bad it soaks up finger prints like a CSI agent. Maybe some stickers will remedy that. # Plenty moddable ;) Final Thoughts The hardware is solid. Construction is pretty good, a slight step up from the eee pc 701. This won’t be my last netbook in the foreseeable future but it does have some staying power. I’d like a version with a 10″ and slightly larger screen, a 6-cell battery, and a bios that’ll boot off SDHC but until then I’m content on this new box. It really feels like it’s more than just a toy. I’m giving my Dell a rest. We’ll see if I pick it up again. Starting at $320 and bridging the gap between small and actually useful this thing gets four scoops of technolust from me. Yummy. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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