San Jose (CA) - Acer is the next in line to roll out a compact notebook with a sub-$400 price: The Aspire One can be purchased with flash-based or hard drive-based storage, Linux or Windows and 512 MB or 1 GB or main memory.
If you have had your eyes on an Asus Eee PC, here may be another option for you. Just don’t be fooled by Acer’s marketing: The company calls the new notebook "an ultra-lightweight mobile Internet device," which may be considered an exaggeration in itself, but the One is really a sub-notebook that is competing with similar-sized devices such as the Eee PC or the MSI Wind.
The One is substantially larger than a mobile Internet device, which typically have 5" screens, and is actually close the size of current compact 10-12" screen notebooks (it measures 9.8" x 6.7" x 1.14" and weighs about 2.2 pounds). The notebook’s stylish shell is built around an 8.9" screen that delivers a resolution of 1024x600 pixels, which should be enough for the One’s key application areas - web browsing, checking email, instant messaging, VOIP calls, streaming video, viewing photos and listening to music. Acer said that a 3-cell battery delivers enough juice for about three hours of operating time, which may be a bit tight. An optional 6-cell battery extends the running time to up to seven hours, according to the manufacturer.
There are three version of the One. In our opinion only two make sense.
All Acer One models are based on the standard Atom N270 1.6 GHz processor with Diamondville core. The choice of this processor is a bit surprising, as the Silverthorne version (Atom Z530) is much more power efficient at a maximum power consumption of 2 watts compared to the 2.5 watts of the N270. We don’t know why Acer went with this chip, but we guess the decision may have been made due to the steep price tag of the Z530: While the N270 can be purchased for a tray price of $44, the Z530 is priced at $95 (including SCH chipset).
The two versions we would prefer in the lineup both come with 8 GB NAND flash disks and a Linpus Linux Lite as operating system. A version with 512 MB memory is priced at $379. An upgrade to 1 GB is available for a premium of $70.
The one version we would drop comes with Windows XP and a 120 GB hard drive. In this class of drives, a heavy hard drive just does not make much sense. If you need extra storage space and the 8 GB just does not cut it, add a 4 or 8 GB SD memory card and you should be covered, especially since the Linux OS hardly takes up any space. But if you really want Windows on that notebook a large hard drive certainly isn’t a bad idea.
Other features of the One include Intel’s GMA950 graphics chipset, a web camera, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, a media card reader and three USB 2.0 ports.