With tablets fast encroaching a space, which was once ruled by tablets, it won't be long before we bid farewell to this niche segment that managed to make a big splash, in a rather short time. Till that happens, we can ponder over that one factor that is still driving this business and that’s the low price. Acer has had a good run in this segment and today we have another model from their Aspire One line-up, the AO722. This AMD-powered netbook is designed to be affordable, yet practical for everyday use.
Design and Build
Acer has gone with the ‘water drop’ design for the AO722, which is similar to the one seen on the Happy 2 netbook. The glossy black paint job makes it quite visually appealing, but also attracts a lot of fingerprints. The netbook is fairly slim and lightweight at 1.25 kg making it easy to be carried around.
A good looker
Connectivity options include a card reader, microphone and headphone jack, three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and VGA port. There’s no USB 3.0, sadly. The speakers are placed at the bottom, facing downwards, so the sound does get muffled when you use it on your lap. Flipping over the lid, we have a chiclet-styled keyboard and a generous trackpad. The keys are well-spaced and are very comfortable, even during long typing sessions. The trackpad is also easy to use, however the same cannot be said about the buttons on it which are quite hard and require some effort. The entire bottom portion is removable for quick access to the hard drive and RAM.
HDMI port is also present
Overall, Acer has done a good job with the design and aesthetics of the netbook and unlike some of their other models, the fit and finish is a lot better and so is the quality of the plastic used.
This particular model, the 722, is powered by AMD’s C-50 APU, which is dual-core and runs at 1GHz. the problem with this is that, unlike their E-350, this one’s terribly sluggish, even for Windows 7 Starter. There’s a painful lag each time you open an application or even Windows Explorer.
Comfortable chiclet styled keys
Other specifications include 2GB of DDR3 memory and a 320GB hard drive. The good part is that, since this is a 11.6-inch screen, the resolution is higher and the LED backlit screen is vibrant as well. The trackpad also features gesture support, so you can perform actions like pinch-to-zoom, etc. The CPU may not be that quick in Windows, but the onboard graphics card will easily decode 1080p videos. Acer also throws in some bundled software like McAfee Antivirus (Trial) and Office Starter Edition. They also have some of their own software like Crystal Eye Webcam, which lets you capture and record videos and Acer Game Zone, which is a collection of mini games.
The performance is very similar to the Aspire 522, we reviewed a while back, since it also featured pretty much the same specifications. The C-50 based Aspire 722 isn’t able to keep up with the Intel-based N570 CPU.
Not the best performer on the block
Like I mentioned before, Windows isn’t exactly quick on this platform from AMD. With the latest version of Flash installed, the HD YouTube videos are decoded with ease. Full HD videos do tend to stutter a little at times, but otherwise it’s pretty smooth.
No USB 3.0 is a bit of a downer
You can even use hardware acceleration for your own movie collection after installing Media Player Classic: Home Cinema. Here, the 722 fares slightly better with very little to no lag noticed while playing 1080p videos.
The 6-cell 4400mAh battery was able to deliver up to 4hrs in Battery Eater Pro, which is not bad for a 11.6-inch netbook. Throughout the test though, the battery animation wasn’t exactly smooth.
Acer has priced the 722 at Rs.18,560 (MOP), which is a good price for a 11.6-inch netbook. But we’d recommend you put in a little more money and get one with a E-350 APU, as it’s a lot faster and Windows responds better as well. Currently, HP’s DM1 netbook is one of the best in the market for a little over Rs.22,000.
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