Dual-core Atom slips into $330 Acer netbook

Acer has made its refreshed Aspire One lineup official, and Engadget has all the gory details. The star of the show is the Aspire One AO255, which is available with a single- or dual-core Atom CPU. This netbook is only an inch thick, weighs "just over" 2.5 lbs, and is said to offer up to eight hours of battery life. You only get a 10.1" display, but the keyboard is 93% of full size. Total cost? $270 for the N450-equipped single-core model and $330 for the dually.

Neither AO255 derivative offers an upgrade over the Atom's anemic integrated graphics processor. However, there are a couple of new Aspire One models with Radeon HD 4225 graphics. The AO721 and AO521 are based on AMD's new Nile platform, and Acer has chosen to go with the single-core Athlon II Neo K125 for both systems. Rather than having CPU options, users can choose between two screen sizes: the AO721 has an 11.6" display, while the AO521's screen measures 10.1 inches. Acer only expects you to squeeze six hours of battery life from these models, though. The AO721 has a suggested retail price of $430, making it a decent step up from the $350 10-incher.

The new Atom-based Aspires don't seem to be available for sale just yet, but the others have already been discounted at Amazon. At the moment, the AO721 is selling for only $381, while the AO521 is down to $340. That's a mighty tempting price for the 11.6" system. I just wish the dual-core Atom was being offered with a similar display.

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