Acer Aspire One D150
The Acer Aspire One A110/A150 Series were great little Netbooks. They were cheap and performed well but were let down by a slightly quirky layout and the fitting of only a 3 cell battery on most of the models.
The new Acer Aspire D150 follows the trend to bigger screens coming with a 10.1 incher as it does. Does it rectify the issues of the A110 and A150 series while remaining the bargain Netbook of the bunch?
Pretty in Pink? No, but Red, Blue White and Black, Yes!
As with the A110 and A150 series first impressions are good. Acer has retained its ability to put out good looking Netbooks. If anything the new Acer Aspire One D150 is an even better looker than the previous offerings. There is brushed aluminum abound giving a more sophistacted look and the Acer tradition of supplying several color options is still there with 'Sapphire Blue', 'Seashell White', 'Diamond Black' and 'Ruby Red' available.
Looks Aren't Everything.
All models now have the faster Intel Atom N280 running at 1.6gig and ship with a 160GB harddrive and 1g of ram and Windows XP Home as operating system. the faster chip does make a noticably improvement in performance and seems to have lower power requirements. Access to the internals has been improved so upgrading ram and hardrive should the need arise is far less painful than before.
The extra width of the Acer Aspire One D150 over the A110 and A150 means the keyboard has improved as well. Now slightly bigger than before with good layout that is not that far off a normal keyboard. Typing for extended periods is never going to be as comfortable as on a full size desktop or notepad keyboard but this is getting close.
The touchpad has now banished the 'buttons on the side of the pad' approach and gone for the more standard buttons located just below it. It seems a fairly trivial change but it was very anoying to have to search for the touchpad buttons which you had to on the previous models if you were used to using just about any other laptop/netbook. The touchpad is a bit on the small side but its not a big issue.
Wireless network connectivity options are much improved with Lan and Wifi as before but now bluetooth and options for WiMax and 3g as well.
The Acer Aspire One D150 still fits in our 'small enough to be a Netbook' range with a width of just 10.1 inches and depth of 7.28 inches and still weighs under 3 pounds with the 6 cell battery. This means its still 'chuckable' size and can still be wielded around in one hand and slung in a rucksack or bag without having to curse or swear when you have to empty everything out first.
Scotty, We Need More Power.
The biggest gripe I had with the Acer Aspire One A110 and A150 was the standard 3 cell battery. Netbooks need good battery life. One of the reasons for them to exist is to be portable use anywhere devices and if you have to be close to a power point then this role is severely compromised.
Thankfully this previous weakness has been addressed with the D150 and many models in the range come with a 6 cell battery as standard giving up to 6 hours or more runtime from one charge (There are 2 versions of the 6 cell battery 4400mAh and 5200mAh so watch for this in pricing as the 5200 will give maybe an hour more runtime).
Obviously the runtime you do achieve is still dependant on what you are using the Netbook for but at least now you can watch a couple of movies, listen to some music or do some office work for most of a long haul flight or sit on the couch and browse the net for the whole evening while your partner catches up on the soaps (or wrestling).
Even if you do need to take the charger with you on a trip Acer have made it much more compact than that previously supplied so its not so much of a chore as it used to be.
So everything is perfect then, well not quite. Although the 6 cell battery is great it doesnt really fit that well. It sticks out of the back some what and just looks a bit ugly. Not the end of the world but I would have hoped this could have been done better.
Even though being much improved over the A110/A150 with bigger screen, improved battery, better looks and improved keyboard and touchpad layout the Acer Aspire One D150 is still great value for what you get. With it selling for approximately 20% more than the similarly specified A150 it's really a no brainer as to which model to get unless price is your primary concern.
It's hard to see what more Acer could have put right, even the neoprene case that's included is better.
A note of caution however, as usual with Acer there are a multitude of different versions of the Acer D150 so check carefully what you are buying. Ensure that you have the 6 cell battery as standard and look for the Wimax or 3g versions if you need improved connectivity when out of Wifi range. 3 cell units with no Wimax/3g will retail for a fair bit less so be sure thats what you want if you buy one.
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