Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Acer AOD250-1197 10.1-Inch Blue Netbook - Up to 8 Hours of Battery Life

The Acer Aspire D250 is a great netbook PC, and the 1197 flavor contains four differentiators:

(1) Windows 7 Starter OS

(2) 250GB hard disk drive

(3) 6 cell battery (~8 hours' lifespan)

(4) the standard English keyboard layout



..and it comes in blue :-)
Having visited 8 different retail stores and having tried/returned two Asus 1005HA's, I spent a considerable amount of time comparing / contrasting models.
In comparing the Acer Aspire One D250 to the bestselling Asus 1005HA-PU17 and other netbooks:

(1) The D250 is lighter, even with the 6 cell battery. If one were to buy the 3 cell battery (~2 hour life) to save even more weight, it would be in the featherweight category. The Asus 1005HA's battery is so bulky and unbalanced it almost makes the netbook want to teeter-totter around its back legs.

(2) The D250 is quieter. Unlike the 1005HA, the fan does not turn on when browsing the web, running virus scans, etc.
(3) The D250's keyboard is 89% the size of a regular keyboard, and it is smaller than Dell, HP, and Asus 10" netbook keyboards. However, I was able to type my usual 70WPM without issue.
(4) The D250 has _NO_ hard disk vibrations. The Asus 1005HA had hard drive vibrations that were not only noticeable, they ran straight into my wrists and were irritating. Many other 10" netbooks have this problem too. This issue becomes very noticeable when you spend 15 minutes drafting a document or writing an e-mail.


(5) The 1005HA has a slightly bigger touchpad.


Canadian users would be wise to order the 1197 version of the D250 as the U.S. keyboard is much easier to use than the multilingual French/English keyboard. The Shift keys are wide, and the Enter key can be reached easily. Such is not the case with the multilingual keyboard.

My only complaint is that I prefer a matte screen to the glossy screen. It is vulnerable to reflections and glare.


***Notes on Windows 7***

Windows 7 Starter is very comparable to Windows XP. The main feature disabled on Win7 Starter edition is the "Aero" feature, which is standard on Win7 Home Edition or Premium versions. However, the Intel Atom/N270 and Intel 950 GMA chipset lacks the graphics horsepower to run "Aero," even if one were to upgrade Win7 editions. This hindrance applies to any netbook with the N270/950 chipset (Asus, HP 110, Dell Mini), not just the Acer D250. At the time this review was written, upgrading from Starter to Home Premium had a steep price tag -- in the $75 - $80 range. And the "Aero" feature would have to be disabled anyway...

Nevertheless, the Acer D250 is among the best built, the quietest, and lightest of the 10" Intel Atom based netbooks available today. Highly recommended.

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