Getting to usability, the D255’s keyboard features large keys and a clear, logical layout which includes sensible shortcuts and (on the UK model at least) full-size Enter and right-Shift keys. Despite being inevitably shallow, key-feedback is good with a nice click. In fact our only complaint, and it’s one with Acer’s netbooks in general, is that the keyboard’s forward position leaves too little palm rest area, leaving your palms sitting uncomfortably on the netbook’s edge while typing.
Though small, the touchpad is sensitive and easy to use. It supports multi-touch and is subtly delineated from its surrounds by a transparent line to either side, maintaining the D255’s design uniformity; from most angles, the coloured section below the keyboard looks like a single whole. We’re not particularly enthusiastic about the pad’s buttons, however, which are integrated into a single rocker switch with a large dead-zone at its centre and slightly stiff action.
Being the usual 10.1in, 1,024 x 600 affair, this netbook’s screen holds few surprises. Its glossy coating leads to vibrant colours in addition to distracting reflections in a well-lit environment. For its ilk it already does a good job of dark detailing meaning you’ll get a decent level of detail in murky films. Sharpness is good if not the best we’ve come across, and backlighting fairly even with only some barely noticeable bleed along the panel’s right side. Banding is so minimal as to be practically invisible, and even horizontal viewing angles are decent enough if you angle the display right vertically.
Like its display, the D255’s speakers are competent enough. Though they can’t match the volume levels of a few recent rivals and lack any real bass, audio comes across fairly clear and without distortion. Adequate for YouTube and the occasional light film in other words, but anything more serious is better enjoyed using headphones.