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Hands-on with the Acer Aspire One: an ASUS Eee PC-beater?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 10 June 2008, 16:26

Tags: Acer (TPE:2353)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qanki

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Aspire One

Following on from the runaway success of the ASUS Eee PC and Intel's announcement of the low-power Atom processor, Acer recently announced that it was going to be manufacturing a 'netbook', to compete in a market that may well see 50m units shipped by 2011.

The Atom-powered Aspire One is Acer's take on low-cost, lightweight computing for a segment of the market that requires basic usage, with tasks such as word processing, emailing, and web browsing at the fore.

HEXUS was invited for a hands-on look at the Aspire One, which will go into mass production at the end of June and be available in retail form at the beginning of August.

Available in two colours at launch - white and sapphire blue - the Aspire One packs in an 8.9in screen with a native resolution of 1,024x600.

You can determine the diminutive size of the netbook via the comparison size of the Sony Ericsson K800i phone next to it.

There will be two models at launch - a $349 (US) Linux-based version with an 8GiB SSD (flash) and 80GiB Windows XP Basic model, costing $399. Both will feature an Atom 1.6GHz CPU, 512MiB of onboard RAM (1GiB for the XP model), with a single SO-DIMM slot available for expansion, 802.11b/g WiFi, 10/100 Ethernet, and a 2200maH three-cell battery that's said to be good for around three hours' worth of usage.

The cheaper Linux version is said to weigh a smidge less than 1kg, thanks to its flash-based memory, and the Windows a little over; it uses a traditional hard drive, of course. We can verify that the Aspire One is a lightweight machine that's very Eee-like in general appearance and build quality.

The external VGA port, power inlet, Ethernet, and USB2.0 port line the left-hand side. The SD memory-card slot is one of two, and we'll come to why that is in due course.

The sample felt well-built, too.

A further couple of USB2.0 ports, the second memory-card slot, and audio ports finish off what's available.