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Acer Aspire One D150 - 10.1in Netbook
Going by all the usual industry metrics Acer sells more netbooks than anyone else. This is a big deal given the size of the market and growth expectations, but despite its dominance it hasn't until now had a 10in netbook even though the market has been moving in this direction. This is partly testament to the quality of its first outing, the Aspire One, which sported an excellent keyboard for the form factor and very attractive pricing, but also the power of Acer's distribution system. When you're flogging the things in Tesco at £180 a pop you're bound to rack up a few sales, even if the people buying it have no idea what's in the box!
Clearly, then, not having a 10in netbook hasn't been a barrier to Acer's success, but that hasn't stopped the Taiwanese computing giant opting to move into this market. Its effort, titled the Aspire One D150, is available in a variety colours, including white, black, blue and red. We've got the white one, which has a glossy-white lid, matte-white base and black finish inside.
We'll be getting onto our design evaluation a little later, but first there's the internals to deal with and they throw up little in the way of surprises. For processing there's an Intel Atom N280 running at 1.66GHz and this is supported by 1GB DDR2 RAM and a 160GB hard drive. Wireless connectivity is delivered by Wireless-G Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0, while wired networking is catered for by 10/100 Fast Ethernet, so you're not stuck with just Wi-Fi.
Connectivity is also defiantly normal. On the left there's a VGA port, the Ethernet port, a USB port, the headphone and microphone jacks and a 5-in-1 memory card reader. Then, on the right, there are a further two USB ports, the power input and a lock slot. One other item of note is the Wi-Fi switch on the front and unlike many netbooks and notebooks there's a separate button, just above the keyboard on the left, for switching Bluetooth on and off. This is a useful addition if you find yourself using Bluetooth regularly, independently of Wi-Fi, or if you rarely use it and don't want it on when using Wi-Fi. Either way, it works out well.
As ever there's a 0.3-megapixel webcam above the screen and the screen itself is a very good one. Measuring 10.1in, with the usual 1,024 x 600 resolution - it does have a glossy finish, so reflections are an issue, but it's exceptionally bright, has nice colour rendition and surprisingly good horizontal viewing angles. It's definitely up there with the best netbook displays we've seen, matching up well with the Samsung NC10 and besting the slightly watery effort found in the HP Compaq Mini 700 we reviewed recently.
Audio is less of a revelation, failing to match up to Asus' example in its Eee PCs, but it remains passable nonetheless. As with a lot of netbooks, though, the speakers are housed underneath the machine, which is always is a little awkward if you've got it perched on your lap.