Acer’s Emachines are known for offering true value for money and they are usually less jazzy or spiced up than other laptops. The em350 follows the exact same theme, it is simple to look at and is very basic in terms of functionality, but what really sets it apart is that it’s very affordable.
If you want a netbook that’s absolutely plain Jane and sober, this one should top your list of favorites. With an all-black theme and a completely matte-finish body, it looks quite serious, and that’s something not too common in netbooks. The lid, wrist rest, keyboard, touchpad and buttons, everything is black matte. So while the absence of a glossy finish and vibrant colors, deprive you of the luster, you surely don’t need to worry about finger print stains or a loud and jazzy color combination. This doesn’t mean that a netbook with matte finish and colors can’t be stylish. The Samsung N150 , which has a pearl matte exterior and it looks good, definitely a better choice if you want style.
The highlight of the em350 is, the slim form factor and light weight. Merely an inch in thickness and weighing slightly over a kilo, this netbook comes very close to the EeePC Seashell in terms of portability and slimness (not style). Another strong point is the ergonomics, where the keyboard reminds us of the Dell Mini 10, large keys and touchpad, comfortable to type, except that the mouse clicks are slightly tacky. Nevertheless, the build quality of the netbook is quite good and overall, it’s a very portable and smart-looking machine to carry around.
In terms of features and hardware, there’s nothing special about this netbook. It is built around the Intel NM10 chipset and is powered by the second-gen N450 single-core CPU. There’s 1 GB RAM, a 160 GB hard drive and a glossy 10.1-inch display, with 1024 x 600 native resolution. So, as you can see, it’s the most common hardware configuration amongst netbooks. On the left-hand side, there are two USB ports, audio jacks, Ethernet and VGA port, and to the right is, the memory card reader, power jack and Kensington lock slot.
To get a fair idea as to how this netbook measures up with others, we compared the overall package to the Samsung N150, mainly because it features the exact same hardware. Also, looking at the performance scores, you’ll notice as to how, there is very little or no difference between the two machines. However, in addition to the aesthetics, there’s a major difference. Although the eMachines website states that this netbook comes preloaded with Windows XP (SP3), Acer confirmed that there is no Windows version. In fact our test unit came with Linux and the confirmed MRP price is Rs 15,824, so you could find the unit cheaper out in the market. For about Rs 18,000, the N150 comes with Windows.
In terms of performance, there’s almost no point comparing two netbooks of the same hardware, especially when both are powered by single-core CPUs. Even if you see a slight difference on the benchmarks scores, in a real-world scenario, there’s almost no performance dip or hike. For instance, if you see in the table, the Samsung N150 and this laptop, they both have the same hardware, and similar scores. Even when it comes to battery life, the 6-cell battery seems promising, it’s been 3 hours since we started the Battery Eater Pro test, and the machine still shows 3 hours 40 minutes remaining. We shall update the battery scores as soon as it finishes.
So essentially, the only comparison between the two is in terms of aesthetics, build quality and most importantly, price. While both are able to run office applications and casual computing such as Internet surfing, chatting, emails, seamlessly, you can’t expect to run heavy applications or do too much of multi-tasking.
All-in-all, we’d say that it’s a simple but smart-looking netbook at a good price.