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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Acer Aspire One - The One

By Ed Fry

For around £100 less than an Asus Eee PC, you can get the Acer Aspire One. It features 8.9" display at 1024x600 resolution, integrated webcam with microphone and although lacking in bluetooth compared with the revamped Asus, the 901, simply plugging in a headset resolves the issue. It's good value too, retailing for around £200 which is good news during the recession.

Aesthetically, it's a very well done piece of kit like most acer notebook computers, available in 5 different colours, enticingly described as 'seashell white', 'sapphire blue', 'golden brown', 'onyx black', and 'coral pink'. Furthermore the shapes are so much more smoothly refined than the box-like Asus or Dell models.

However, it's seriously let down by its battery life which is supposedly 2-3 hours, although they offer an optional extra 6 cell battery pack which "offers an outstanding 6 hours to enjoy your Aspire One in complete freedom." Of course that 'freedom' will set you back a further £80.

The interface is awkward, verging on clumsy. The keyboard is very compact, and some people may find the keys simply too small for their fingers, surprising considering that it's supposed to be 95%. The touchpad itself is very smooth and glossy, and lacks the response of other laptops including the Asus. The mouse buttons are also positioned at opposite sides of the touchpad which gives a very odd feel since you always need to look down to see where it is. Overall, the interface is poorly designed

However, these are little 'nit-picking' problems which certainly shouldn't be taken too far. With an extra battery back, the price will still be less than competing models and the small interface will seemingly be an issue mini laptops will always have to face. It's not impossible to use, just awkward. I suppose using a full size laptop or desktop all the time leads to lazy fingers.

In terms of value for money, the Acer Aspire One is simply the best mini laptops computer out there. It's also one of the cheapest, whilst not being too different in terms of specifications from the market leading Asus, so the Acer Aspire One is clearly a worthy contender in the battle for the mini laptops.

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