My Acer Aspire One was delivered last night by a congenial and highly-trained courier attired in a familiar brown uniform. I’ve had most of the night to set up a few things and play around with it but I pissed a lot of that time away sleeping.
The specs are similar to other Windows-oriented netbooks. It has an Intel Atom processor churning along at 1.6 Ghz, a pleasant 8.9″ screen with 1024×600 resolution, 120 GB hard drive, 1 GB RAM, integrated webcam, and Windows XP (Home). What led me to choose it over other netbooks, though, was the three USB ports and two card readers (one of which is a hold over from the initial Linux version with SSHD and in which an SD card could be added to expand the base 4 GB storage). I figure the more the merrier. Especially considering how much of my primary computer’s files had to be moved to USB storage since I knew I’d be away from home for weeks/months.
Funny, this tiny thing is now my most powerful computer.
- Dang, this thing is light. I may break down and buy the optional six-cell battery to bulk it up a bit but so far I’m just happy having a couple hours between charges.
- I can’t say enough about all the USB ports and two card readers. It means not having to carry around a hub to use a few devices (think mouse plus USB stick plus card reader plus headphones/microphone) simultaneously.
- Webcam is very low-light friendly. I was astonished that our Christmas tree was sufficient from across the room to give a clearly visible stream when chatting with friends last night (no other lights were on).
- The 8.9″ screen is crisp and clear.
- Wifi is Atheros so it should function well (and painlessly) with my preferred operating systems.
- Windows XP boots in just a few seconds.
- Keyboard is bigger (I think) than Eee but still kind of awkward for my huge hands.
- Comes with quite a bit of trial software like any other new computer will these days.
- A bit noisier than I thought it would be. It rivals my 10 year-old ThinkPad.
- Speaker is on bottom. Earplugs fix that issue.
- The synaptics touchpad has divided right-left mouse buttons on either side of the pad. The pad also comes a little too hyper for my tastes — especially now that I’ve had some caffeine. I have portable USB mice because I detest touchpads, so no big deal. Why can’t netbooks come with mouse pointers like my trusty old ThinkPad has? That would free up so much space for other things, including proper navigation keys (another nit to pick but what else can be said beyond the first point above) and give users something that’s a lot more functional. YMMV, I guess.
- Only Windows XP boots.
Overall I’m really happy with it. Because I’m still on a schedule that precludes much time for myself, I have no idea when I’ll get around to attempting installation of OpenBSD or Linux on this. I’ll probably give DSL on USB stick a shot first. Just noticed Robert has made some updates since I last had a chance to update my DSL stuff; hell, I haven’t even had time to upgrade OpenBSD to 4.4 on my other laptop (let alone computers back at home).
One more update from previous post: My timeline still looks like I’ll be here taking care of family through the start of 2009.