Post is originally posted on http://www.thehindu.com
Amid the brouhaha over Ultrabooks and Tablets, netbooks suddenly sound like a species that is headed for extinction. But many amongst the consumers still look for a compact, and portable ‘budget’ laptop. The Acer Aspire One 725 landed on Smartbuy’s test bench, and we’ve been checking out how this specimen of the species that is fast becoming endangered might still not fall prey to Darwinism.
True to a netbook’s standards, the Aspire One is small and light. The screen measures 11.6 inches on the diagonal, little less than an inch thick, and weighs less than 2 kilos, making it light and portable enough to carry anywhere. It’s small enough to carry in a backpack, sling or even a biggish handbag. If the afore mentioned aren’t your style, Acer has been generous enough to provide a stylish sleeve for the netbook in the box itself. The unit we received had glossy, black exteriors, and looked quite desirable.
The keyboard sports a chiclet design, but the keys themselves are not backlit. Although the keys are well spaced, crucial keys like Delete, Return and Escape are a tad bit smaller than usual. For someone accustomed to using notebook or desktop type keyboards, it might take some time getting used to the Aspire One 725’s keyboard layout. The navigation keys are also uncomfortably small. Tiny, to be precise. The palmrest, however, is quite comfortable, and long hours of typing is not painful. The trackpad is responsive, albeit a bit small.
The small netbook, is, for the want of a better word, better equipped. It has almost every port one would need on the move. There’s one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0s, HDMI, RJ-45 LAN and a 3.5 mm headset port. There’s also a VGA output included to make presentations on the move easy. A 5-in-one card reader enables you to use any major memory card or stick.
No, it isn’t as fast as a unit featuring an Ivy Bridge processor. It’s just about as fast as an entry level Sandy Bridge. The 1 GHz AMD Dual Core C-60 processor is good enough for office applications, but anything beyond that can disappoint you. The unit we received had 2GB DDR3 internal memory, but it can be upgraded up to 4GB. The 500GB internal SATA hard drive is large enough to carry a balanced amount of work and entertainment on the move.
Thankfully, the Asipre features in-built Radeon graphics, which makes High Definition media experience a good one.
The netbook gave about 3 hours of battery life while surfing the net, listening to music and doing a little bit of typing out. I could also watch a few videos during that time. But while using HD media, the battery life falls down a bit to 2.5 hours.
Start-up time for the Acer netbook was average. It took about a minute, sometimes a little more, to boot. Waking up from sleep was, however, smooth. It took only 20 odd seconds to wake up from sleep and be ready to work.
In-built speakers gave out just the right amount of output. The speakers were not excessively loud, and were decent enough to watch a few episodes of Full House, inside a room. Sound fidelity too, at high volume levels, was impressive. The sounds did not distort when application and system volumes were full together.
Screen brightness levels offered variety – it could be minimised to a level where I could read an e-book comfortably in low light without straining my eyes, and also the maximum level let me view content on the screen outdoors in sunlight.
While the personal computing markets may be flooded with performance oriented, long battery life Ultrabooks and portable tablet PCs and even Hybrid computers, the Acer Aspire one offers a decent package for someone who is looking for something that fits the pocket and the bag, without compromising much on performance.
Love: Good battery life, balanced package
Hate: Oddly shaped and sized keys, slow processor
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