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Acer Aspire One Mini Notebook

Above is a shot of the Acer Aspire one (Right) and the Fujitsu U810 (Left). Acer Aspire One 8.9-inch Mini Laptop (1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, XP Home, 6 Cell Battery) Sapphire Blue. $349 I was in the market for a mini-notebook computer (since I’m a geek), despite having a few small UMPC style machines, this new form factor looked interesting. I wanted something for under $400. I also wanted something that would serve as more than a “geek piece” and see if I could actually use it. Asus basically created the market with their Eee PC, however that particular first gen model was underpowered, did not offer enough storage, and offered screens and keyboards that were just a tad too small to get any real work done. Today we have more choices, MSI Wind, Acer, Dell Inspiron Mini 9, Asus has a few models, HP Mini note, and more. I went with the Acer One Note because of the following key points: Intel Atom processor, this is a must requirement for the mini notebook choices at this time, think Pentium M like performance with great power specs and of course cheap. 120 Gig hard drive (traditional magnetic), yes (Solid State) SSD storage is nice, but 16 gigs – 30 gigs is simply not enough storage for me personally to get any real work done. It’s also available with a 160 gig drive from some retailers for $50 more. Note: you can use any SATA 2.5″ HD as long as it’s no more than 9.5mm high. The 160gig version also comes with a 6 cell battery. I plan however to put in a 320 Gig drive and will put the $50 savings toward that. 9″ screen, at 9 inches (8.9) it’s large enough to see without squinting and supports at least a 1024x wide format for web surfing (1024×600). Keyboard size, the Acer one’s keyboard is almost full size, this makes it feel like you are actually typing on a computer vs text messaging on a PDA. Plus I also want most of the keys there (like all the function keys). 1Gig of RAM with Windows XP. Again remember this costs $349. 1 Gig is enough for XP, but many others are only offering 512Megs, which is just not enough for any device really running windows. XP also boots quick and runs great on this small device. Intel GMA950 graphics (part of the intel spec), This allows some mild gaming on the device (some older 3d games, etc) which is nice. 3 USB ports, Amazingly the Acer One mini note offers more USB ports than a 15 inch MacBook Pro. 2 SD card slots that can serve as extra storage space. and finally the build quality, I saw it first hand before buying one in the store, for $350 it really feels like a nice little machine. I also have to mention that at $350 it’s the least expensive computer I have ever purchased, but by far not the “cheapest” in terms of performance and quality. In the box you will get the computer, manuals, Adapter, long power cord, and pleather carry case. The left side has the power jack, external monitor port, Ethernet port, USB port and SD slot. The Right Side has the audio in/out jacks, 2 more USB ports, secondary SD card slot and cable lock port. The Front of the computer offers a wireless switch and you can see the cooling holes, looks ample enough to cover the heat generated by the device. The speakers and sound also come from here. It sounds nice for a device this small. The back basically has nothing, just the back.. haha The underside of the Acer One shows the battery location and the cooling areas more clearly. Before I continue, the ONLY downside to the Acer One mini-notebook is the PITA it is to expand the memory and drive, you basically need to crack the case open and remove the motherboard, not a problem for us geeks, but not an easy upgrade for most people probably. The wireless expansion however is very easy, in the future when a WWAN option becomes available it looks like it will be ultra easy to add that (edit: upon now looking, you still need to crack the case, but no biggie). The power switch is on the keyboard surface, those red rings are just accents, there is also a web camera, LED indicators for cap lock, HD access, battery, etc. There is a wireless status indicator as well that blinks only when accessing wireless like a hard drive light. Here is how it is in the hand. It’s just a tad over 2Lbs, very light to carry yet not too small to get work done. Here is is Next to a Toshiba U405 13.3″ form factor. I also have to mention that I have to eat some crow, I said I’d never buy a laptop that was NOT LED backlit… well, this Acer’s screen is nice and bright and I found out that it actually IS LED backlit, again amazed this ting costs only $349. and here it is next to a Sony SZ Premium to compare sizes. For network peeps looking for a network monitor or people leaving the Acer One on 24/7 it only sucks down about 30 watts of juice. I had the CPU pegged at 80% for about 60 seconds and the meter didn’t go past 30 watts. Normal usage it’s only at about 12 watts. BOTTOM LINE: For $350 this is one of the best values in mini-notebooks. Considering all the specs, the build quality, the small power brick and free case, It’s really a good deal. If you are an outdoor poolside web surfer, or those looking for a travel notebook or a small form factor machine for fairly cheap, check it out.
  • Intel® Atom Processor N270
  • 1GB DDR2-533 RAM
  • 120GB 5,400RPM Hard Drive
  • Multi-in-1 Card Reader (2)
  • Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950
  • 10/100 Network
  • Acer InviLink 802.11b/g Wi-Fi CERTFIED Wireless Network
  • 8.9″ WSVGA CrystalBrite Display
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
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