The Aspire One D150 is Acer’s second generation netbook, powered by the newer Atom N280 of Intel. Check out my review below and learn why Acer might have missed the boat to do a repeat success on their Acer Aspire One line.
Like most 10-inch netbooks, the Aspire One D150 didn’t offer much difference in terms of design. The girth and height is somewhere between an MSI Wind U100 and the Asus Eee PC 1000H (much closer to the Eee PC). Like the latter, it comes with a 6-cell battery as a standard which adds a couple hundred grams to the total weight but pleasantly offers a much longer battery life.
What separates the Acer netbooks from the rest are the color options — red, blue, white and black — and the brushed finish of the inside panel giving it an elegant metallic look (I liked the red and black ones the most). Acer didn’t give in to the pink-loving crowd though, unlike MSI and Neo.
As for the specs, it’s still the same old one – 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD, WiFi 802.11b/g Bluetooth, 3 USB ports and a card reader. The only noticeable upgrade is the Intel Atom N280 at 1.66GHz and we’ve seen the speed improvements from that one isn’t any significant from the N270. And while PC shops like PC Corner offer upgrades of up to 2GB RAM and 500GB HDD, the base specs indicate that Microsoft’s special pricing for Windows XP on ULCPCs have something to do with it.
Since there’s not much to talk about the new Aspire One, I’m breaking it down to a couple of upsides and downsides.
- Better processor. The Aspire One D150 has the new 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280. The additional 60MHz is not much but is a welcome addition nonetheless. (Watch out for models though that came with the old N270.)
- Bright and crisp display screen. Though still at 1024×600 pixels, the Acer CrystalBrite TFT LCD looks much better than most I’ve seen and comes real close to the one from Sony Vaio P.
- Dedicated buttons for WiFi and Bluetooth so you can turn them on and off separately when not in use to save on battery.
- Large-capacity batteries. With the 6-cell 5200mAH, Acer promises 7 hours of battery life. Although I was only able to squeeze 6 hours and 15 minutes on a single charge, I had WiFi on the whole time so that’s a great feat in my book (almost 3 times the usual battery life I get with 3-cell batteries).
- Trackpad has multi-touch capability and the button is now placed at the bottom, not the sides (which was awkward and a turn-off).
- Acer included a Recovery Management Tool pre-installed. It allows you to make a full backup of the system to a DVD and restore it back later when needed or if you want to reformat.
- Acer cramped the cursor keys too much it’s really hard to use them. I always end up pressing the Page Down/End key instead of the right-cursor key or the Page Up/Home when hitting the left-cursor key. It gets pretty irritating at times when I’m scrolling down on pages while browsing.
- The trackpad is a little narrow — it makes multi-touch actions a little harder to execute. Acer could have made it a little wider. There’s only one physical button for the left and right click (same with the MSI Wind) and it’s buried down that you’ll easily get confused if you’ve already made a click-select or not.
- Well, I was really rooting for the 3G model, the that came with a SIM card slot hidden underneath the battery compartment. Retailers told me they’re not expecting the 3G models to arrive in 3 or 4 months. They will also come at a premium price.
The Acer Aspire One D150 offers nothing new. In fact, it’s already late in the game since there are a tone of other 10-inch netbooks already available in the market as early as last year. The Aspire One D150 didn’t offer much compared to the MSI Wind U100, Neo Vivid V1190, Lenovo IdeaPad S10 and the HP Mini 1000 series. Its closest competitor would be the Asus Eee PC 1000H which offers twice the RAM and HDD for the same exact price.
PC retailers have touted the 9″ Aspire One as its best seller among the older generation netbooks, beating the MSI Wind and the Asus Eee PC, but I’d attribute that to the cheaper price point. The 10-inch model doesn’t have that advantage.
The 3G modem would have been the deal-breaker here so you’ll have to wait a couple more months before they turn up in stores.