Acer’s Aspire One netbook

Manufacturer Acer
Model Aspire One
Price (Street)
Availability Now

Asus created a new category of portable computers last year when it unveiled the Eee PC—the first of the much ballyhooed netbooks. What started as a bit of a cash-in on the hype surrounding the altruistic OLPC project has grown into a pretty attractive little business. Asus has since filled this category to the brim with a variety of Eee models designed to appeal to an ever-wider audience. As Asus seeks to consolidate its position as the netbook market leader, its rivals are crashing the party hoping to get a slice of the pie before Asus hoards it all.

Chief among those rivals is Acer, whose new value-priced Aspire One netbook is springing up at almost every retailer that has an interest in computers. At this rate you’ll probably be able to buy one at your local gas station before long, and it might even be cheaper than a full tank of gas by then. Retailers like a product with buzz, and here the One has the successful Eee PC’s coat tails to ride in on. Unlike some of the more recent entries in the netbook market, the One is quite affordable, allowing retailers to lure in shoppers during the busy back-to-school season.

Acer recently cut its netbook prices, and the One is now turning up at a lot of resellers for as little as $329. To the untrained eye that looks like a heck of a bargain for a system with an Atom processor, a 1024×600 display, and solid-state storage. Read on to find out if it is.

That outfit is just screaming for an accessory!

Perhaps because netbooks are generally seen as accessories to a primary computer, Acer has designed the One with an aesthetic flair that is second only to the HP Mini-Note 2133. A pearl white finish with black trim and metallic orange hinge accents delivers more visual impact than the Eee. The pearl white top is glossy, so expect to spend some time cleaning fingerprints, although oils deposited on the lid do not show as much as on the One’s piano black LCD bezel.

A Blue model is already popping up in retail, with pink and brown flavors planned for later this year. PC makers seem to be learning that budget computers do not have to be ugly, and that’s in line with what appear to be recent efforts from all of them to design systems that are easy on the eyes. When even Dell is making good-looking computers, there is no excuse for putting something blatantly ugly on the market.

The Aspire One posing with a 12.1″ Asus Lamborghini VX3 and a 13.3″ MacBook…

While its power adapter hangs out with a PS3 game for scale

The One is light and small, weighing in at less than one kilo (2.2lbs) and measuring 9.8 x 6.7 x 1.1″ (248 x 170 x 28mm). That makes the One smaller than not only the Eee PC 1000 series, but also the MSI Wind U100. The included AC adapter is suitably diminutive, completing the portable package.

Despite its bargain price point, the One doesn’t feel cheap. In fact, the system’s compact nature and light weight make it entirely creak- and flex-free. Picking the One up by a corner and moving it around does not stress the chassis at all; you can easily hold it with one hand while typing with the other.

Working our way around the One starting on the left-hand side, we find the power connector, the VGA port, a 10/100 Ethernet jack, one USB port, and an SD memory slot deep enough to allow cards to sit flush with the system. Interestingly, the memory slot automatically integrates the capacity of whatever SD card you install into system storage. Throw in a 2GB SD card and you’ll see the One’s 8GB solid-state drive plus an additional 2GB as a single volume.

Only a Wi-Fi toggle switch populates the front edge of the One. The right-hand side, however, features headphone and microphone jacks, two more USB ports and a multi-format card reader that can handle MMC, SD, xD, and MemoryStick Pro flash flavors. SD cards protrude from the case when inserted in this slot, but memory cards aren’t automatically integrated into system storage; they show up as separate volumes. You’ll also find a Kensington lock slot towards the rear of the One.

Flipping the One reveals plenty of ventilation and a small panel that provides access to the system’s internals. Unfortunately, the access panel only allows for the installation of a WWAN radio; you can’t get to the One’s vacant SO-DIMM slot, which sits just inches away. Those looking to upgrade the system’s 512MB of memory will need to pull the whole thing apart to access the single user-serviceable slot.

Scoping the screen and keyboard

Such a small device requires an equally tiny keyboard, but Acer has managed to cram in keys that are about 85% of full size. All the important keys are large enough to actually use, with smaller function keys a livable compromise that doesn’t require relearning key positions.

The keyboard is stiff and key action is good. With small enough hands you might even be able to touch-type, as well.

Our review sample was graciously provided by Canadian retailer NCIX, and it came with the dreaded English/French keyboard layout. This won’t be an issue for US consumers (unless you are buying from Canada). English-speaking Canucks will want to ensure they get a system with the US keyboard.

The One’s trackpad is tiny, with a wide aspect ratio and buttons that flank the mousing surface rather than sitting below it. Other netbook makers have adopted this layout in order to accommodate larger keyboards, and if you set the trackpad to accept tap inputs, the button placement is easy to adapt to.

Acer cranks the One’s trackpad sensitivity by default, which makes sense because the pad area is limited. Circular scrolling is also listed as an option in the trackpad control panel, but with so little space on the pad, it doesn’t work very well. The One also has a traditional right-hand side scrolling zone that works just fine.

WSVGA displays with 1024×600 resolution are becoming popular in netbooks, and the One’s measures 8.9 inches and features an LED backlight. It’s a stunning screen for a notebook in this price range—evenly lit with excellent contrast and viewing angles. This is a good pixel resolution for a screen this size, too. Unlike the original 700-series Eee PC, there are enough pixels that you won’t have to scroll web pages incessantly.

When outdoors, text displayed on the Aspire One’s screen is legible at full brightness. The display isn’t as clear in daylight as a transflective screen, but it is workable—an important consideration for a device that is so easy to carry around with you outside. It’s debatable whether the One’s use of an LED- rather than CCFL-backlit display saves much battery life, but LEDs are more durable, have longer life spans, and offer better performance than CCFL backlights. Acer also throws in a 0.3-megapixel webcam that sits within the LCD bezel for your Skyping and video conferencing pleasure.

Moving to audio, the One’s output is bad enough that I have a hard time distinguishing whether this netbook has one or two speakers. Either way, the pint-sized speakers are mounted on the bottom of the unit. Their output isn’t spectacular, but it should be sufficient for basic media playback. Netbooks aren’t exactly known for stellar audio output quality.

Software

Most of the netbooks on the market use flavors of Linux, in part to keep costs down, but also because an open-source OS is easier to tailor for a lower resolution display and modest horsepower. Acer also offers Windows XP as an option, and some enterprising One owners have even crammed OS X 10.5 onto the system.

Proving once again that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Acer’s Linpus Linux 9.4 Lite interface borrows heavily from that of the Eee PC. A launcher consisting of four quadrants keeps applications sorted in Connect, Work, Fun and Files categories. It’s a pretty simple arrangement, and the average user will have no trouble finding the application they want. Users also get a search box integrated directly in the OS launcher that can be toggled between searching local and web data.

Far from a Linux Johnny-come-lately, Linpus has been at it since 1997 and is funded in part by big companies like Acer and Mitac. The distro is most popular in its native Taiwan, but it should gain quite a bit of exposure thanks to the One. Linpus is built off Fedora with the Xfce desktop. The custom application launcher is nice, but Linpus’ product page shows a standard desktop and widgets. Some folks, and particularly those already familiar with Linux, may prefer that interface to the default install’s simplified launcher.

Acer includes plenty of notable apps with the One, including OpenOffice, Firefox (version 2), Skype, and an instant messaging client compatible with AIM, Yahoo, MSN and Google. The bundled email client, media player, and games are pulled from the open source community, and it’s all passable software. An automatic updater fetches patches from Acer’s servers, as well. Automatic updates do take a while, though.

Although the One’s MPlayer media player automatically downloaded and installed codecs while viewing some streaming HD feeds, the actual playback was hit and miss. I experienced some long delays and the occasional false start when playing back video on the One, and some videos wouldn’t play at all. Neither Media Master nor MPlayer (the two media players included with the One) were capable of playing back DRM-free Cinepack AVI and MPEG4 downloads—specifically A Boy and His Dog from the Internet Archive. That’s pretty crummy media support considering that both players were fully updated.

Video codec support isn’t an easy thing to get right, and Acer clearly has some work to do to iron out the One’s rough edges here. Of course, this problem will only affect Linux-based versions of the One; Windows XP doesn’t have great codec support out of the box, but installing new ones is easy. The One’s Linpus distro isn’t quite so accommodating. Linux vendors may cringe at the thought, but it would make a lot of sense to pool resources and produce a single netbook-optimized distribution. Otherwise it is going to be difficult for netbook Linux installs to ever challenge the degree of fit and finish available with Windows. Imagine that, striving to reach Windows quality levels.

Missing from the One’s application payload is some form of marketplace where users can find additional applications. Although most of the bases are covered by bundled software, it is a little optimistic on Acer’s part to think they’ve included everything. Fortunately, it’s possible to work your way into an advanced user mode through the One’s File Manager program, which has a link to a command line interface. Once in advanced mode, the operating system yields access to almost everything a standard Linux desktop distro offers, including Fedora’s application repository (thanks to dbs on the aspireoneuser.com boards). Easy access to application downloads, or at a minimum the ability to quickly toggle the advanced mode should really be included in future One OS revisions.

Unlike the Eee PC, Acer is not emphasizing cloud computing with the One. Rather than having lots of web-based applications and a storage service, Acer has adopted the more traditional approach of full client applications and local storage. The absence of a service strategy seems like a disconnect and a missed opportunity for subscription revenue, though.

Hardware and Performance:

With looks, ergonomics, and software out of the way, all that’s left is the One’s hardware. Not that hardware isn’t important, it’s just that nearly the entire current generation of netbooks is based on the same platform, leaving little room for differentiation.

Processor Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz
Memory 512MB DDR2-533 (1 DIMM)
North bridge Intel 945GSE
South bridge Intel ICH7M
Graphics Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
Display 8.9″ TFT with WSVGA (1024×600) resolution and LED backlight
Storage 8GB solid-state drive
Audio Stereo audio
Ports 3 USB 2.0

1 VGA

1 RJ45 10/100 Ethernet

1 analog headphone output

1 analog microphone input

Expansion slots 2 SDHC
Communications 802.11g Wi-Fi
Input devices ~85% full size keyboard

Trackpad with scroll zone and circular scrolling

Camera 0.3-megapixel webcam
Dimensions 9.8 x 6.7 x 1.1″ (248 x 170 x 28mm)
Weight 2.2lbs (0.997kg)
Battery 3-cell Li-Ion 2200mAh, 11.1 Volt
Warranty One year

Acer waited for Intel to launch its Atom processor before bringing the One to market. The Aspire’s Atom N270 CPU is interesting, offering goodies like SSE3 extensions and Enhanced SpeedStep (EIST), but dropping support for 64-bit EMT64 extensions. Despite being clocked at 1.6GHz and possessing Hyper-Threading, the N270 does not feel noticeably faster than the Celeron that powered Asus’ first batch of Eee PCs, even though in some cases the Atom operates at three times the Celeron’s clock speed.

Any performance issues with the One seem to be software rather than hardware problems. In situations where media files did not play, for example during a visit to Gametrailers.com to view some HD content, it seemed that the hardware was willing but the media player plug-in could not decide if it wanted to play the file. We’ve seen Linux-based netbook distributions struggle with streaming video before, and we haven’t observed similar issues under Windows. Using the Linpus OS, I longed for XP because it simply works without fuss.

The One’s keyboard and palm rests don’t get too hot…

Although the device’s warmest point is its left front corner (right front in the picture above)

One promise of Intel’s new Atom platform is reduced heat. When running on battery power, system temperatures never exceeded a comfortable range. And when plugged in, the One’s Atom CPU demonstrated its low 2.5W TDP and never got too hot despite the system’s almost silent fan. Typing this on a supernova-hot MacBook, it seems silly to complain about the One’s peak 115-degree Fahrenheit surface temperature. These temperatures were measured with an IR thermometer after streaming a standard definition Flash movie for one hour.

Acer specs the One with 512MB of system memory, which suits the included OS and its modest requirements. The operating system and bundled applications are efficient enough to make do with limited memory. If you plan to install Windows or a full Linux distribution, you might want to crack the One open and pop an extra gigabyte of RAM into the Aspire’s spare SO-DIMM slot. The system only supports up to 1.5GB of memory, though.

While some netbook makers have moved to mechanical storage, the One’s solid-state drive offers almost instant-on performance and reduces the number of moving parts in the system. Capacity is limited, though; the OS and bundled applications only leave about 6.4GB free to work with. Of course, additional memory can be added via either memory card slot, with the one on the left-hand side of the system neatly integrating the added capacity into the system volume. The OS does a good job of handling removal of cards installed in this slot, too; a notification pops up informing users of changes to storage capacity when cards are inserted or removed. That’s pretty slick.

Likely thanks to its SSD, the One’s boot and shutdown times are extremely fast by Windows standards. It takes just under twenty-two seconds to cold boot the system and just under fifteen seconds to completely shut it down.

The One’s 802.11b/g Wi-Fi performance is good. Post-boot, it takes a little while to get connected, but the system holds a signal well. The sluggish connection time may be a software issue, and we’ve noted similarly slow wireless connection times with Asus’ Linux-based Eee PC 1000 40G. There isn’t much to say about the Ethernet port other than it works. It isn’t clear whether Acer will support users who add their own WWAN card or whether that will officially be a factory-only option, but the prospect of a One with 3G connectivity is rather appealing.

Last, but not least, we come to the battery. Our test unit arrived with a 3-cell battery good for 11.1 Volts and 2200mAh/45Wh. You can expect to get about 2 hours 20 minutes away from an electrical socket with the Aspire while surfing, writing, and watching online videos over Wi-Fi—typical netbook stuff. Acer also offers a slightly more expensive model with a 6-cell battery and theoretically twice the battery life. Given the One’s portability, we’d probably be more interested in the 6-cell version. It seems silly using a netbook tethered to a power cord.

Conclusions

Acer’s price point for the One places it in the midst of some interesting devices and dangerously close to impulse buy territory. With a new suggested retail price of $329 (for versions with a 120GB mechanical hard drive), the Aspire One will be a low-risk proposition for most people. This is a fully-functional netbook at roughly the same price that Sony launched its PlayStation Portable. Think about that for a minute. For all the talk about how great handheld mobile Internet devices like the Nokia N810 are, a netbook like the One easily wins in terms of utility and value. Sure, the One won’t fit in a pocket, but neither will most mobile internet devices.

If you look at the other netbooks available in the One’s price range, the Aspire is a much better device than a $299-349 Eee PC from the 700 series, offering a bigger and higher resolution screen, a power-efficient Atom processor, more storage capacity, and a more attractive overall design. Sure, you could spend an extra couple hundred bucks on more expensive netbooks from Asus and MSI, but a low price is a key component of the netbook equation. And by selling the Aspire at around $300, there’s a lower chance of creating unrealistic performance expectations. More naive consumers may assume that a $500 netbook delivers equivalent performance to similarly-priced notebooks.

If we consider overall value, it makes sense for folks to spend an additional $20 on Windows XP-based versions of the One that offer a more familiar and polished operating system and the ability to easily expand video codec support. Those looking for longer battery life would do well to consider coughing up an additional $50 an Aspire with a 6-cell battery, as well. It’s unclear whether a price cut is imminent for the SSD-based One we looked at today, but the system is listed for as little as $379 in our price search engine.

There is sure to be a 3G-enabled version of the One at some point—the empty WWAN bay is just begging to be used. With a $30/month unlimited 3G data plan, the Aspire would be pretty amazing. AT&T, are you listening?

Folks who want a simple and portable machine for email, web browsing, and light office work should be happy with the One. The only caveat is the size of the keyboard, which is smaller than that of more expensive netbooks like the Eee PC 1000 series and MSI Wind. But the One’s keyboard wasn’t designed for you to write your next novel on; it’s meant for typing emails and URLs.

During the back to school season, many retailers are pitching the Aspire One to students. It has a great form factor for younger kids, and solid construction and Flash-based storage should make the One relatively tough. Those who opt for a 6-cell Windows XP model should get the stamina they need and an operating system shared by most of their peers. Students with bigger hands will want to spend some, er, hands-on time with the One to see if its keyboard is spacious enough for note taking. At this time of year there are plenty of $400 laptop specials that may be more practical, if less portable.

In the end, the Aspire One looks set to put a ton of pressure on Asus. Acer has a healthy distribution channel and is being extremely aggressive as it tries to move up the market share rankings worldwide. And the One’s bargain price certainly sets the system up nicely to make a big splash, not only among those with basic computing needs, but also among enthusiasts and gadget lovers who have been clamoring for netbooks to return to their low-cost roots. Plus, just think of all those old 2D role-playing and real-time strategy games you’ll be able to revisit on a device like the Aspire One.

Comments closed
    • sgmorr@yahoo.com
    • 11 years ago

    Is this Acer, with XP, capable of supporting the Microsoft Siverlight 2 video format, such as NCAA/CBS is using for its advanced media player currently in use for the NCAA mens basketball tournament? Thanks.

    • sk330
    • 11 years ago

    I’ve had an Aspire one-XP for about 2 months now. A few comments
    1. Video: streaming/YouTube and hard drive/iTunes ripped video play fine on the XP version, No pauses over WiFi if you have a good connection
    2. WiFi connection is generally good but doesn’t seem as strong as my full size Sony laptop.
    3. Essential upgrade: I’d definitely recommend getting a wireless notebook mouse. My hands are big and using the track pad is just OK but using the buttons is very awkward. Logitech makes a wireless mouse with a low profile USB plug. I went a different route and got a low profile Bluetooth plug for the USB port and then bought a Bluetooth notebook mouse which has a few more features (forward/back buttons on the side, click wheel). I thought this might also allow me to connect to my Bluetooth enabled cell for internet access but I haven’t tried it yet.
    4. Loading software: I bought an external CD ROM but haven’t used it too much. I copied the Bluetooth driver files onto a USB flash drive from the CD using my laptop and plugged it into the Aspire One where it ran fine.
    5. Keyboard: I can definitely touch type on the keyboard without many mistakes. It probably took me a half day to get used to it. Very nice feel.
    6. Overall excellent netbook. After using it for a month, I went out and bought my daughter one for her birthday. Costco had the 160GB XP version on sale for $349 at XMas but I think they’re all gone.

    • gokgokgoker
    • 11 years ago

    Yes, thanks for the review.

    I bought the 160 Gb version with Windows XP from amazon and am very happy with it. The only thing that sucks is the track pad button placement. I am used to using a laptop trackpad with one hand (index finger on the pad and thumb on the buttons.) This is pretty much impossible with the Aspire One. But for the price and specs I am willing to over look this little fault. Heck some guy even took the thing hangliding – §[<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfxlNM4286E<]§

    • blubje
    • 11 years ago

    I bought an Acer Aspire One (AAO) this fall and within weeks the screen blacked out upon booting. Rather than replacing my AAO , Acer referred me to a technical repair depot. After 6 weeks still no word – then two weeks ago after calling Acer they said they would send me a new one on “back-order” – still no sight of it. Today when i called they said they have no idea when the “back-order” will be filled. Just wonderful customer support – not! Wish i had bought a MacBook now…..

    • Bigbloke
    • 11 years ago

    Is that another SD-card slot in the battery bay (from the picture with the 3G/WWAN slot cover removed)?

    Does that one also merge into the filespace, seems a good place to boost internal memory: no easy eject and out of the way.

      • Perry
      • 11 years ago

      Actually that is a slot for a GSM SIM card but you can’t use it yet. Eventually there will be a HSDPA-enabled version that will allow you to sign-up for a cellular data plans.

    • Spotpuff
    • 11 years ago

    That / button to the right of the left shift key is supremely aggravating. I have no idea what it’s doing there. Is that the supposed “French” layout? It’s terrible.

      • Perry
      • 11 years ago

      Yup, french keyboard or ‘mark of the beast’ depending on who you ask. I don’t know a single French speaker that ever said, ‘what I really need is a new keyboard layout for my typing pleasure.’

      Sadly, these layouts are becoming ubiquitous. I’ve heard the Quebec gov incents PC makers to sell them this way – but that is just hearsay.

    • willmore
    • 11 years ago

    Can we get a ‘lspci -v’ and a ‘lsusb’ on this guy? What hardware is in there? It’s probalby all the same 945 chipset stuff that’s in all other Atom based machines. Once they get a decent energy efficient chipset in one of these boxes, they’ll be impressive. Until then, they’re not all that interesting.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      The system lists GMA950 graphics with shared video memory, so AFAIK that’s pretty much going to be one of the 945 variants.

    • Tamale
    • 11 years ago

    Nice article.. great pictures too.

    • total1087
    • 11 years ago

    q[<$30/month unlimited 3G data plan<]q Geez, how can I get something like that? I'm already paying $60/mo for an ATT 3G unlimited connection. I'd LOVE to save $30/mo for the same service!

      • Tamale
      • 11 years ago

      at&t’s “MediaNET Unlimited” is $15 per month and gives you unlimited internet access from your non-qwerty-keypad phone.

      The catch is that you’re not supposed to use it as a modem.. but word on the street is they only slap your wrist if you use it excessively..

        • floodo1
        • 11 years ago

        What about if you dont want to exploit the gray area in AT&T’s TOS? I’d love to have AFFORDABLE mobile internet anywhere I want here in SF, if I bought this laptop…in fact it would inspire me to actually buy one of these.
        Does AT&T, or anyone else, actually offer near $30 per month OFFICIALLY?

    • radix
    • 11 years ago

    This review reminds me of Matrix, since this netbook is “The One”.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      Er, it doesn’t remind you of Jet Li?

        • radix
        • 11 years ago

        Yeah, that one slipped my mind actually, or maybe because I think Matrix is a better movie, hehe

      • vince
      • 11 years ago

      I myself kept on hearing Elton John’s song while reading the article…

      /[<"All I ever needed was the one"<]/ >.<

    • srg86
    • 11 years ago

    Well, get the Linupus 1GB RAM version with the 120GB hard disk and a 6 cell battery, then replace Linpus with Ubuntu and I think this is just about the ideal netbook imho. Maybe the 8GB SSD version with an extra flash card maybe even better.

    It certainly beats my 486DX4-75 with 32MB RAM laptop which is the closest I have at the moment to these netbooks and I use it quite often for light duties because it’s fits into small places.

    It will be very interesting to see if there are any Nano based netbooks in this price range when it’s released as imho it is a better processor for this purpose.

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    Anybody else notice the “launcher” screen is colored exactly like the Windows logo turned 90°?

    • ludi
    • 11 years ago

    1. Another 3-cheer round for the hotspot readings.

    2. Already ordered my XP A-One last night, which comes with the full Gig of RAM and a 120GB (mechanical) disk. It just hit $399 on Amazon (supplied through TigerDirect, so $9 of unavoidable S&H, but I’ll live).

    Edit: I’m going to start calling this thing “Steak Sauce”. Join me, won’t you?

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    q[

    • flip-mode
    • 11 years ago

    It would be nice for those scale shots to just stick your hand in there instead of or maybe along side of a coin or dvd case.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      Hands are not one-size-fits-all.

        • flip-mode
        • 11 years ago

        Yeah, kinda why I said “along side a dvd case”.

    • SNM
    • 11 years ago

    New author? I can’t seem to find Mr. Longinotti anywhere else on the site.
    Nice article.

      • Damage
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah, new author. Say hi!

        • derFunkenstein
        • 11 years ago

        hi Perry!

        • BoBzeBuilder
        • 11 years ago

        How about a proper introduction for the new authors? I’d like to know if they are single.

      • Perry
      • 11 years ago

      Hello right back at ya!

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah good job. Very readable, had informative IR temp readings and he ended on a personal weakspot: old 2d rpgs and strategy games.

      • grantmeaname
      • 11 years ago

      They’ve really expanded, huh? Perry and Dustin and Joshua are all new, and Jordan is newish. Anyone have a clue what’s up?

      My theory is that they’re all the same person.

        • Tamale
        • 11 years ago

        Lies! I cannot be destroyed but with FIRE!

        (love guru)

    • moose17145
    • 11 years ago

    Minor and not really a big deal… but the picture on the first page wit the power adapter setting on a console game. The caption says that it is a PS2 game, yet the picture shows a PS3 game.

    • Prototyped
    • 11 years ago

    The XP version of this is probably the best bang-for-buck netbook, especially the ones equipped with 1 GiB of RAM and the 2.5″ 120 GB drive. I’d consider a 6-cell battery essential, though.

    • GodsMadClown
    • 11 years ago

    Does the SD slot support SD cards >2gb?

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    g[

      • grantmeaname
      • 11 years ago

      I play Heroes of Might and Magic II and the original Command and Conquer on my 1.6GHz-Celeron Toshiba. I’m working on convincing UT 2003 to work at the moment.

        • UberGerbil
        • 11 years ago

        I ran Civ 2 on a 166MHz Win95 laptop back in the day. It was actually pretty cool: if you ran through the function keys to bring up all the status screens at the start of the game (and thus page them in from disk), the thing would run the rest of the way from memory and the disk could spin down and go to sleep for pretty much the entire game, which made a huge difference for battery life on cross-country flights.

        • eitje
        • 11 years ago

        it could handle Civ 3 & HoMM4, I’m sure.

          • grantmeaname
          • 11 years ago

          it can handle Rise of Nations and Civ4, it’s just a little on the slow side.

          It’s okay, I’m patient.

            • eitje
            • 11 years ago

            i guess i’m just not a Civ 4 fan. 😉

    • Hattig
    • 11 years ago

    Thanks for the review.

    This system got the right shift and cursor keys right. Other manufacturers please listen!

    And a full sized return key, hurrah!

    Hope the Linux community gets off its arse and sorts out their media playing systems. Did you try installing VLC, btw?

    The 120GB XP version is good for school (gotta put the music and omglolz videos somewhere), but the 8GB Linux is a good toy for around the house and garden, and to sling in the bag for work, travel, holidays, etc. Nice to be able to add a big SD card to increase on-board storage transparently too.

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah, I prefer this keyboard to the design of the Wind, even if it is smaller. Layout is crucial.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 11 years ago

    I don’t like the enter button. I’d rather it twice as wide than twice as tall.

      • bthylafh
      • 11 years ago

      That could be because of the Canadian keyboard layout.

    • eitje
    • 11 years ago

    nice review. i like the full-sized right shift, but i dislike the touchpad’s button placements.

    additionally, it was nice getting the zoned temperatures from the system; how were those measured?

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      I believe Scott has said they use one of those IR “gun” readers to take the temps, though I don’t recall the model.

      The advanced tap software for touchpads makes the buttons unnecessary for the most part (though you may have to install it from the synaptics, and it may not be available on Linux). Though some people adapt to it better than others.

      I wonder what the total cost (materials plus royalties) of adding a pointing stick would be for an OEM? I hate them but it would be a selling point for some people and a differentiator for the company. Perhaps Lenovo will do that with an Ideabook model…

        • grantmeaname
        • 11 years ago

        -[

          • UberGerbil
          • 11 years ago

          Yes, I was aware Perry did the review, but I was repeating what Scott said (er, wrote) when they introduced this feature in some past review. I was assuming Perry was using the same methodology. Which is why I said “they use” rather than “he uses.”

            • grantmeaname
            • 11 years ago

            okay, I completely missed all of the context on that one… sorry.

      • Perry
      • 11 years ago

      Yes, an IR gun was used. It is +/- 2 degrees.

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