Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent little machine, 3 July 2009
This review is from: Acer Aspire One A150-Aw Netbook, Linpus Linux Lite version, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 120GB HD (Seashell White) (Electronics)
I bought this netbook on Thursday 25th June 2009. Included in the box is the netbook itself, mains charger (with UK plug, of course), a sleeve/slip-case for the netbook (which you don't often get included with a netbook; nice surprise), the battery (which is a 3-cell battery, good for about 2-3 hours on a full charge), assorted manuals and warranty information, and a recovery DVD you can use to restore the machine to its original configuration if you ever need to.

The netbook is incredibly light (even with the battery attached), and runs only slightly warm when in active use - nowhere near the heat generated by a full-size laptop. The screen (glossy) is very bright and clear, and everyone I know who has bought one has not encountered any dead/stuck pixels. The native resolution of the screen is 1024x600, which is a little bigger vertically than some other similar-sized netbooks like the Mini 9.

The included operating system is Linpus Linux Lite, which is a cut-down distribution based on Fedora 8. It includes various standard apps including Firefox (2.x, but you can readily install 3.x pre-packaged for this netbook from Acer's own site, or get it yourself if you're comfortable doing so), OpenOffice and so forth. Linpus boots very quickly; I'd say about 15 seconds at most. Closing the screen of course puts the netbook into suspend/sleep mode, from which it can be awakened by pressing any key. You're entirely free to put another operating system onto the machine, a process you should find very straightforward. Windows XP runs brilliantly on it, Windows Vista runs tolerably well, the current beta version of Windows 7 is surprisingly smooth too, and if you prefer Linux when I can recommend the "Netbook Remix" version of Ubuntu, or whatever your preferred distribution is. For those looking to put Mac OS X on it, that's certainly possible and runs capably, though be aware that you may need to actually physically swap out the wireless card in order to get wifi support in Mac OS X.

There's a handy switch on the front right of the machine to enable/disable the wifi card, which is great for saving battery power if you don't need to be online. Other hardware features include a webcam, built-in small microphone, VGA out (not for extended desktop though; it's for external only or mirroring, as you'd expect), headphone and microphone ports, three USB ports (one on the left, two on the right), a multi-card slot and an extra SD storage-expansion slot, an ethernet port and a kensington lock slot.

The machine itself is very attractive; it's a soft white with some subtle red metallic accents on the sides where the screen-hinge is and when closed is very reminiscent of an iBook or white MacBook. When opened, the keyboard section is the same white and the screen section is glossy black, reminiscent of a MacBook Pro or such. This is by no means a cheap/plasticky-looking generic laptop.

The keyboard is unusually good for a netbook; I found there was very little adjustment needed in order to get back up to full-speed typing. It has all the things you'd want including a UK/Euro-style vertical Return/Enter key (like an inverted L shape), separate cursors keys, pgup/dn keys, left and right shift and ctrl keys, and separate f-keys (not overloaded onto the number keys like in some other netbooks). This is an exceptional keyboard for a device of this size, and you can readily make use of it as a serious typing tool.

The trackpad has an unusual arrangement whereby the two buttons (left/right click) are vertically mounted on either side of the pad itself, rather than horizontally side-by-side below it as on most other laptops. It's not as difficult to get used to as you'd think, though it does need a little time to adjust to it. The trackpad of course supports tap-to-click (optional, on by default), so you can avoid using the buttons a lot of the time if you want. The trackpad also supports horizontal and/or vertical scrolling via the rightmost and/or bottommost portions of it; a feature again familiar from larger machines.

This is really an excellent machine. I use it as a browsing and writing pad, but it's more than up to the task of being a satellite-working/travelling laptop for doing general office/work tasks, playing a few games (it'll run Quake 3 or Deus Ex etc just fine, for example), keeping in touch with family members via Skype (audio and video) and so forth.

The only possible caveat is in battery life, but that's not a criticism of this netbook itself; it's just the nature of the beast for the included 3-cell battery pack. You can readily obtain better batteries (here on Amazon UK) for this machine, and indeed ones which are a matching white colour. There's a 6-cell version (which will stick out the back of the machine a little bit), and a 9-cell version (which will stick out the back and also below a little, propping the netbook up slightly to a perhaps better typing angle).

All in all, there really aren't any significant downsides to this machine, and I'd strongly recommend it. Whether it's a cheap laptop for the kids or for a note-taking student, a writing and browsing pad or even a serious business-traveller's satellite machine, it will suit you just fine. I'm very pleased with mine, and I'm sure it'll be in service for quite some time to come.
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

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