Archive for juin, 2010

Acer Aspire One review: two years later [en]

dimanche, juin 27th, 2010

Two years ago i bought my first netbook: here are my impressions

Acer Aspire One

The good

  • The laptop is very light and pleasant to carry around
  • It came with Linpus Linux pre-installed. This mean i didn’t have to pay the Microsoft tax. Since i’m running Debian on it, that install was quickly ditched.
  • There is a gap between the screen and the main chassis, allowing me to hold it open and straight with one hand. There was a note in the user manual that this is NOT the way to hold it (risk of crushed fingers) This is really a killer feature for a road warrior that should be more developped.

The bad

  • small screen, low resolution. This cause a problem with many applications where some dialog boxes « sink » under the bottom of the screen.
  • battery life: i have about two hours of usable battery life: this can be tight sometimes
  • Lack of 3G modem: That was not an issue during the first five months because i didn’t have a subscription at the time. Now i have one and i’m stuck with that huge USB modem hanging from the USB port. A small extension cord and some velcro adhesive partially solved the bulky adapter problem. I’m now trying to find 90° angled male USB A connector to keep the size under control.
  • No bluetooth. Not really an issue because there are USB adapters on the market that stick out by less than 5 mm. Less opportunities to cause damage.
  • Limited CPU ressources: The machine has a hard time to keep up with heavy applications like playing a flash video or running the compiler. You just need to be very patient on that.

The ugly

  • After eight months of use, the right touchpad button was not working anymore.
  • It failed totally ten months after purchase: when turned on, the fan and harddisk were spinning, but the screen stayed black (no backlight) and there was no activity. This was fixed under warranty. However, i had to fight to get it fixed: the first time i got it back, the problem was still there. And the reseller told me that they changed the motherboard. It then went back for repair and it was fixed one month later. In total, i have been without for two months
  • To access the harddisk, you have to COMPLETELY DISMANTLE the laptop. That was a real PITA.

Conclusion

Despite it’s flaws, this machine has become my main workhorse when i’m away from home and saved my butt a few times already. After two years of daily carrying and nearly daily use, there are no cracks in the shell. My previous laptops failed by the case, with cracks at very nasty places after about two years of moderate use and carrying. I don’t plan to retire it at the moment: i tend to keep my machines until they are horribly obsolete or simply fall apart. Let’s see in about two years then. 🙂