Acer laptops are known for offering value for money and awesome price-performance ratio, and the same trend is seen in their netbooks as well. The new Acer Timeline X series of laptops are fine examples . They’re powerful, affordable and portable. Then there’s the new eMachines em350 netbook, which offers very good value for money , and now, the new Acer Aspire One AO532h, which not only features Intel’s Pine Trail CPU, an N450, but now comes with built-in broadband for seamless connectivity on the go. Is this one as competent in terms of price and performance? Let’s find out.
Acer seems to have kept to the old-school design of an all-plastic body which is not only common to the previous models, but also to the Aspire 4000 and 5000 series of entry-level laptops. While there isn’t much to rave about it in terms of design, this netbook undoubtedly looks good with the gradient dark blue-to-black lid and the piano-black wrist rest. However, something really bothersome is the all-glossy finish so essentially, it’s a finger print magnet. So, you either keep the unit in the sleeve, or keep the lint-free cloth handy, both are bundled with the package.
One of the best things about the design is the slim form factor and light weight. At merely 1.25 Kg, carrying this 10-incher is quite convenient. Slide it into your bag and you won’t even know it’s there. Despite the plastic body, the overall build quality is decent, except that the mouse clicks can be heard more than required, which is a bit tacky. Overall, the netbook looks stylish, neither too loud nor too serious, it’s just about good for home users, students and even traveling professionals. In terms of ergonomics, it pretty much matches up with other netbooks which have a slim form factor, light weight body, good chiclet keyboard with large and well-spaced keys and a decent touch pad. The 'Enter' button is a bit smaller but the Shift keys are well-sized. Overall, a decent netbook to type quick emails or letters on.
The new Acer Aspire One AO532h is priced at Rs 19,499, and it features built-in broadband (optional 3G) and offers two months of complementary usage of Reliance NetConnect Broadband Plus service worth Rs 2,198. It packs an Intel Atom N450 CPU, has 1 GB RAM, a 160 GB hard drive and comes pre-loaded with Windows 7 Starter.
It has the latest connectivity options like Wi-Fi N, gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth. Common to most netbooks, you’ll find three USB and a VGA port, two audio jacks, So as you can see, the highlighting features are, mainly the processor and the built-in broadband.
Apart from the highlighting features, it is the battery runtime that’s special about the Aspire One AO532h. While Acer claims that it offers upto 10 hours of runtime, the eMachines em350, which costs about Rs 15,824, offers 6 hours 25 minutes, and has similar hardware, excluding the broadband service.
As far as performance is concerned, we’ve compared two other netbooks which have the same hardware, and, the performance is almost the same, which will hold true especially in a real-world scenario. So, the intended purpose of this netbook is met, be it Internet surfing, chat, emails, cloud computing, social networking or casual movie-watching on the 10.1-inch screen.
Broadband or no broadband, this netbook competes well with others in its category, in all aspects. Personally, an all-glossy finish isn’t usually my preference, especially if there are options, such as the pearl-white matte finish Samsung N150, which is aesthetically more appealing than this one. However, if I’m getting built-in broadband by paying a thousand rupees extra, then functionality trounces looks and aesthetics. In which case, the Aspire One AO532h is certainly a better pick. Another very close comparison is the Asus EeePC 1005P, which is priced at Rs 21,945, on www.compareindia.com. It has the same hardware and is as light and convenient to carry as this one, so while there are other options, it is the functionality of the AO532h which is attractive, primarily. All-in-all, we’d say that this netbook is worth the buck, what’s your take on it?
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 259.41 x 33 x 206.37 mm
- Weight: 1.25 Kg
- Processor: Intel Atom N450, 1.66 GHz
- Memory: 1 GB DDR2
- Hard disk: 160 GB
- Graphics: Intel GMA 3150
- Screen size: 10.1-inch
- Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth
- Operating system: Windows 7 Starter
- Price: 19,499