Model Reviewed: Acer Aspire One 533-23Dkk
After the ugly mediocrity that was the D150, Acer needs to deliver a pretty good product in this generation to return its Aspire One netbook range to the popularity the original Aspire One enjoyed. And at first look, it appears to be making a pretty good attempt with the 10.1in Aspire One 533 we're looking at today, which sits at the high end of the new range.
First off, the specification list on this netbook is not the identikit repetition you might expect it to be. Most importantly, the Intel Atom CPU beating at its heart is a 1.83GHz N475 rather than the 1.66GHz N450 found in most netbooks. While it's still underpowered compared to almost anything else and won't handle 1080p HD video, a tangible advantage is felt with heavy-duty 720p video. Where slower Atoms may skip or stutter on occasion, the N475 plays even the most intensive 720p files smoothly.
Unfortunately other specs remain the same as most netbooks, with Windows 7 Starter 32-bit as the OS of choice running on 1GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive for permanent storage, integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics and 802.11n to supplement the 100Mb Ethernet. The only other surprise is Bluetooth 3.0, and though we doubt it's a feature many are pining for, it does help the 533 stand out in a very overcrowded market.
Connectivity is again standard, with two USB 2.0 ports and a VGA analogue video output along the left, and a third USB socket, memory card reader and audio jacks (one headphone, one microphone) on the right. With the 533's increased HD capabilities, it's even more of a pity that there's no HDMI.
As far as design goes, meanwhile, we mostly like what we see. While the 533 retains some DNA from the D150, it's now a more streamlined and cohesive netbook. The lid and screen bezel remain fingerprint-loving glossy black, but the keyboard surround and palm-rest area are finished in a soft gunmetal finish that's easy on the eye and feels great. Partially thanks to some aggressively tapered edges, the 533 also feels a lot slimmer than Acer's older models.