Acer AspireOne first impressions

Just got handed this little baby to testdrive for something at work.

My first instinct was to rip the too-pretty interface off, and install Debian.
Then I realised that it wasn’t mine, and I’d just have to pretend to be a normal user on this one…

Here are the specs of the little beasty (from the side of the box)
Intel Atom N270 @ 1.6Ghz
8.9″ CrystalBrite WSVGA
512MB DDR2 RAM
8GB Solid State Disk
Multi-in-1 Card reader (looks like SD, XD, MS, MSPro)
10/100 LAN
802.11b/g Wifi
Linux Linpus OS (based on Fedora 8)
So far, its pretty impressive. Apparently you can get them in stores for around €269 (some are being sold as a “back to school” PC)

I’ve got the Saphire Blue one, but you can get them in Pink, Silver and Brown too.
The screen lid is glossy, and its a fingerprint magnet.

There are a few things they didn’t specify on the box, so I’ve noted them seperately:
VGA out connector
SD only card reader (presumably for “permanent” storage upgrading)
Wireless LAN switch
3 USB ports
1.3 Megapixel Built-in Webcam
Stereo speakers
Built-in Mic
Headphone and Mic-in plugs

Bootup was fast, took around 15 seconds to get to a usable screen.
The Desktop/Menu is split into 4 sections:
Connect – All the Internet based stuff. Web browser (Firefox), email client, IM client
Work – Word processor, Spreadsheets, Presentations (all from OpenOffice)
Fun – Media player, Photo Master, games
Files – My Documents, My Music, My Pictures (all very Window’ish)

Everything that your basic computer user would need is right there on the main screen. Nothing could be easier.
For the more advanced user, you can get a terminal by using Alt+F2, selecting Run in Terminal, and clicking Run.

It has the friendliest Network Manager interface I’ve seen, especially for Wireless connections. The Network Centre allows you to add new connections, with support for WLAN, PPPoE and even PPPoE over WLAN.
That pretty much means this little device can work with almost every commonly available residential broadband service (except 3G, but it looks like thats coming soon to the AspireOne)

The Keyboard was okay after a little bit of adjustment. I did find that the Spacebar sometimes needed a little bit more force to register a keypress near the ends.
Touchpad is a little strange, since the click buttons are actually on the sides of the Touchpad, instead of underneath it. After a little tweaking in the settings I was able to get the tap-to-click going, which helped alot.

The screen is very bright and crisp, which makes up for it only being 8.9″

I gave it to Jeanine to use for a few hours, and after her initial complaints, she started to like it. Browsing the Internet was zippy, and handing Youtube videos was no problem.
Gmail worked like it should.
I was expecting Jeanine to just do what she needed to do, and put the AspireOne down, but Jeanine had discovered the games…

I did find that trying to recharge the AspireOne was very slow if you were using it at the same time. It took almost 3 hours to get back up to 100%. I think this is because the charger was a little Wimpy. It took around 1 hour to a full charge if the AspireOne was off.

I got about 2 and a half hours out of it with the WiFi on.

But if I’m not using it full time, and I let it go into standby after a few minutes, it seems to last the good part of a full day.

All in all, I like it.
Personally, I can see the potential in it, after a little bit of customizing (and possible reinstalling Debian on it).
I can also see it being perfect for school kids for homework. Internet Access and Word Processor what more do you need? (And since they won’t be able to easy load any games on it, it’s also a good way of keeping them on track…)