Micro Fondle: Acer Aspire One At J&R

Photos taken today, Saturday, August 16, 2008 with the Philips crapcam.

Acer Aspire One netbook

Acer Aspire One next to boat anchor hp Mini Note

Good view of that keyboard!

L-R: Acer Aspire One, hp Mini Note, Sylvania netbook, Asus 1000

I went into J&R this morning lustfully hoping to find an MSI Wind I could thoroughly molest.

Instead, I was surprised to find the Acer Aspire One — which J&R previously said they wouldn’t carry!

I guess the evil shortage of the MSI Wind has made them think again.

The lid is glossy and already had an icky film of biohazard smears all over it. The palm rests are of less-glossy material but at an angle the smearing was right there to witness in disgust.

Fit and finish are excellent. It doesn’t feel cheap or like a toy. It’s really a step up from the Asus 700s and even trumps the 8.9″ Asus 900/901!

That’s because it has an almost-real keyboard.

Asus became lazy and simply grafted the inadequate 700-series keyboard to the 900 series. Eh. The form factor could already accommodate an 8.9 screen, but since they went to the effort of actually slightly enlarging the case from the 700s, they should have gone the extra step and put in a better keyboard.

Why do I call the Acer keyboard almost-real? The spacing didn’t exactly work out for me, as it did with the Asus 1000. Make no mistake, the keys are sculpted and have a good travel distance. Plus, there’s a softer feedback than the Asus 1000, but it wasn’t thoroughly to my liking. Looking at the keyboard on the Asus 1000, I could also see that Acer put a smaller line of Function keys on theirs.

The mouse pad was responsive and worked well. I’m one of the eejits who doesn’t mind that Acer mimicked the hp Mini Note and have their mouse buttons flanking the trackpad, instead of below it. I had no problem using them and they worked fine.

This unit had an 8GB Flash memory and was running that Linux interface. The interface is OK. But there are bits in the actual applications that are bound to cause frustration. The primary one being I couldn’t figure out how to delete a webcam picture I’d taken! Right clicking on the file didn’t bring up options. There was no menu at the top from which I could choose an action to perform on the file. It was simply stuck there. Perhaps if I’d given it more time, I would have found the convoluted way to do it, but it’s my assertion that what I encountered was anti-intuitive. So I wonder what other trapdoors might be lurking.

The screen. Ah. That screen. I found it to have a very narrow vertical viewing angle. You really had to be looking at it dead-on to get the full brightness. For most of the time I was using it, I thought the screen was very washed out. Then I tilted the screen and boom, the colors were rich. However … what the hell is the color depth of it?! I ran a slideshow of stored photos — all pr0n of the Acer Aspire One itself — and the color gradients were all banded out to hell. I don’t think this would be a good choice for someone who intends to do any photo viewing.

The unit was far lighter than the hp Mini Note (everything is!) and lighter than the Asus 1000.

Would I buy it? No. The color banding on the screen was terrible. What is it? Just 8-bit? I’ll admit that I never tried photos on the other netbooks. When I get to J&R again, I’ll have to do that to see how they compare.

If you don’t intend to do color-heavy work on it (but geez, won’t even YouTube look bad?), it’d probably be better than the Asus 900/901, because of the superior keyboard.

Me, I’m still lusting for an obscene fondle of the MSI Wind!

Update: Technodeity tnkgrl has stripped out the Flash memory of her Acer Aspire One and shanked in a 60GB hard drive!

Previously here:

Videos: Mac OS X On MSI Video, Acer Aspire One
MSI Wind & Asus Eee 901 & Acer Aspire One Video
The Key Buying Factor Of Cheap Subnotes

Explore posts in the same categories: Tech - Other

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