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Acer Aspire One Netbook review

Ardjuna Seghers



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Netbooks are breeding at an alarming rate. Of course that's mostly a good thing, in that it drives down prices and gives more choice to the consumer. The only downside is that the tighter margins on netbooks become, the fewer players are likely to get into the game, making it a venture exclusive to the larger or more confident/daring companies.

Of course Acer, as the third largest PC manufacturer in the world, doesn't exactly have much to worry about. It's fair to say that if a company this size chooses to enter a market, it will have enough muscle to make a go of it. Even the name suggests that Acer is keen to make a splash in the netbook arena, with the Aspire One intimating that this is the netbook to buy.

Despite the singular moniker, the Aspire One is available in a few configurations. What we have before us today is the most basic and thus also the cheapest configuration, featuring an Intel Atom 1.6GHz, 8GB SSD flash drive and only 512MB of RAM. While this is not exactly enough to run Windows XP properly, it's certainly adequate for the included custom distribution of Linux that this netbook runs. Windows XP versions will also be available, with up to 1GB of RAM, a 120GB HDD, and a six-cell battery, rather than the three-cell our model came with. Admittedly, the hard drive and larger battery do affect the One's size and weight, upping its dimensions from 249 x 170 x 29mm (WxDxH) to 249 x 195 x 36mm and increasing the weight from just under a kilo to 1.26kg, but that's unavoidable.

Like most netbooks these days, the Aspire One comes in a variety of colours, but in this case there are some unusual choices. Admittedly, 'SeaShell' White is nothing out of the ordinary, and 'Coral Pink' is pretty much a given, but I wouldn't have bet on the remaining two being Sapphire Blue and Golden Brown - for one thing, what happened to black? You know, the colour of expensive cameras, consoles, televisions and other cool, high-end technology gear?

Having resigned myself to blue as the next best choice, let's see if the Aspire One holds its own aesthetically. The top of the lid looks a bit like it has been enamelled, though it is as susceptible to fingerprints and scratches as any other shiny coating. For durability I really prefer the matte, rugged finish on my old Eee PC 701, and the One will never match the lovely brushed metal chassis of the HP 2133 Mini Note, but marks are no more or less visible than on many competing glossy netbooks (like Asus' latest effort, the Asus Eee PC 1000).

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August 5, 2008, 4:10 am

A note about cohesion: in the course of my job I deal with many Acer products, and while they may function well and are reasonably reliable (I have a few things from them myself) they don't 'feel' well-designed. More like a pile of off-the-shelf parts with an Acer badge and some deplorable software (don't get me started on Acer software!) ;¬)

Brian Houng

August 5, 2008, 10:03 am

Are you going to be reviewing the Windows XP version? I just purchased my One(XP, 120HDD, 6-cell battery)in Taiwan a few days ago, and I have to say this review doesn't do it justice. I hope you will review the new version, because it is really beyond than best bang for the buck.


August 5, 2008, 11:53 am

A good review but I have to disagree with "...the Holy Grail of netbook superiority: price.". IMHO this should be battery life. It is very sad that Acer are not shipping this model with a 6-cell battery.


August 5, 2008, 1:10 pm


The One certainly doesn't feel thrown together, it's in fact a very nicely put together device.


We will certainly keep an eye out - looks like that version could be the sweet spot.


I guess it's a bit of both. It's beginning to become a fairly clear trend that the netbooks with large batteries are more expensive so there's definitely a trade off.


August 5, 2008, 1:21 pm

I want the one with 3g


August 5, 2008, 11:27 pm

Personally, I think that this beats the Eee on looks but for me the deal breaker is integrated HSDPA. As soon as a netbook comes out with that, it's mine.


August 27, 2008, 3:31 am

I just discovered the One in a high street shop (C....). I like it but I am put off a bit by the price. Why? I discovered that the most expensive model (Win XP, 1GB RAM, 120GB harddrive) is $350 in the US, but 𧷤 here in the UK (almost ouble) which is strange, because it is the same machine on both sides of the Atlantic.

Jo 2

September 25, 2008, 8:04 pm

I have owned an Acer Aspire One (Linux, 1gb RAM, 120gb harddrive, blue) for about a week and I have to say I am blown away - its an awesome piece of kit. So simple to use, everything I need to send and receive emails, surf and even creating some basic documents (on OpenOffice). I've plugged in my 3G Broadband dongle and get roughly 7050 kb/s - not too bad really. I've set the screensaver to show my pictures and the screen resolution means I get plenty of comments. It fits into my handbag and imho is the sexiest (useful) toy I've bought in years!!!

Bryan Cheetham

September 27, 2008, 2:53 pm

I have bought the One from pc World at 𧵿 including VAT. Works fine but playing DVDs, though possible, is a bit of a hassle. Works fine for e-mails and I put Skype on (cheap calls from abroad) but putting Skype on and having the symbol viewable is not easy. Still its good value and works fine. Be prepared to spend more to get the memory stick that will give you up to 32g for about 㿼

Tobias 1

September 29, 2008, 11:06 pm


May I ask please how did you manage to get online with your 3G dongle? 7 Mb/s seems amazing. I bought exactly the same Linux model but took it back for a refund after 2 days as I couldn't see how to set up my USB broadband dongle (a Huawei E160G from 3-mobile) and didn't find any help on the Acer website despite a flyer in the box that said I would be able to. The Huawei website didn't help either, and I didn't want to get the Windows version as it is dearer, bulkier because of the bigger battery, heavier & presumably much slower to boot up - my Linux screen was there in under 30 seconds.

Apart from that it seemed an excellent machine and easily logged on to broadband in WiFi zones. One other fault though - the screen flickered every few seconds whether on battery or mains. A display model in the shop didn't so I guess it was a fault on that particular machine.


October 5, 2008, 11:42 pm

I have just bought a 1.6 ghz 1gb ram 120gb version in blue and i am very impressed to say the least i use it for selling on e bay using 3 network and orange dongles.

i bought an elonex webbook several months ago for the same purpose but had to change the ubunto to xp as turbo lister didn't work with it and neither did most on my programs either, but as soon as my orange dongle was plugged in the webbook froze i am on my second dongle and its still happening.

i would certainly thoroughly recommend this little acer i had a bit of a struggle with my 3 dongle getting the drivers to install but thats happened with all of my pc's whether it be a laptop or a desktop.

I would give this a 10 out of 10.....

Steve 6

October 23, 2008, 7:33 pm

Hi Roger,

Can you please tell me which 3 network dongle you are using and what you need to go through to get it working if possible?

Thanks in advance,


Steve 6

October 23, 2008, 8:25 pm

Sorry, should have said that this is for use with the XP 1gb version (which I think that you are using).



November 20, 2008, 3:27 pm

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Best wishes,


Mark 13

December 4, 2008, 10:40 pm

Hi, i have had a my 120gb 0.5Gb RAM Blue version with Linux about a week. I am really impressed with it, although Linux is a bit different from XP. Got my 3 network dongle working fairly quickly, i found connecting it to my ADSL router via ethernet cable and running the live update loads in the Mobile Partner software, after looking on some forums found how to set it up and away it went. I think i might upgrade to the 6 cell battery though.


December 20, 2008, 11:42 pm

Hi there can anyone tell me if you can expand/increase the memory on this acer aspire one at all?


December 22, 2008, 10:31 pm

I want to add Skype to my Acer Aspire; can I get at a command line to do so? Or is there another method?

Rebecca Gamble

December 26, 2008, 1:56 am

Hey, i just got one of these aser aspire one netbooks and i cant seem to download itunes onto it? It downloads and then its in my documents, but when i try and open it nothing comes up, so can you download itunes at all?

graham bolton

December 27, 2008, 7:08 pm

ive just got my son an aspire for xmas, can anybody tell me how to get a three dongle to work on it ? thankyou. GB

Paula Potter

December 31, 2008, 2:32 am

My husband has just bought me an Acer Aspire 1 for Christmas which I think is great but I don't seem to be able to open all the page of facebook and the mouse keeps freezing - can anyone please help?


January 2, 2009, 10:37 pm

For questions about the three dongle (Huawei E160G) on the Linux (Linpus) version of the AAO there is a thread at http://www.linux.com/forums/pr... from September that may help. In addition the Acer support site has a download for Huawei dongles (including the E160G) at http://www.acer.com/aspireone/... - following the instructions for this will install a 3G connection manager from Huawei ('Mobile Partner') in the 'Connect' set of application of the Acer desktop. Have not tried it yet because I am trying to find installation solutions before buying a package.

Nikki Jay

January 13, 2009, 2:56 am

Got this with XP and 1gb RAM. Absolutely loved it. Did everything I wanted it too and more. Took it virtually everywhere with me. Then just after I had finished raving about it to anyone who would listen, I pickedit up with one hand and must have held the underside a bit more firmly than usual. Of course, the next time I powered up, couldn't type because half the keys were now typing the uppercase, which has happened to me before on other thin laptops over the years, but I have always previously been able to find a fix around. Not so for this little acer aspire. There must be some extra sensitive soft spot on the underside and came to the conclusion it was a physical soft spot and mechanical damage had been done. Fortunately this happened before day 28 so was able to return. Now I am without a notebook and starting my search again. Just wanted to log this for the record as I can't imagine I will be the only person to come across this issue...

S Noe

June 2, 2009, 6:29 pm

I have just had my second failure on my netbook that I bought on March 15. I now have ship it back to them a second time. I have treated it with kid gloves because these things are so fragile you can break them easily. I have a special padded bag that I carry it in to make sure nothing happens to it, but still it fails. It will not boot up. It gets to the XP screen and shuts down. Other than that. I love my netbook.


August 24, 2009, 11:05 am

I am a bit concerned about this decision I have to make. I am very interested on getting a very small 8.9in great netbook (at regular budget category...not the vaio P series budget).

I've seen posts stating some users have had issues with Aspire One: touchpad weired behaviour, screen going black (apparently, BIOS issue).

Has any of you also experienced or heard such issues?

Side note: I still have not found any issues related to toshiba NB100 (well, I could get NB105. It's the one being sold in Chile).


January 20, 2011, 7:28 pm

I bought the laptop battery for this laptop from http://www.doodon.com

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