back to article Acer Aspire One A110

It was all so simple at the start of the year. You wanted a Small, Cheap Computer™, you bought an Asus EeePC 701. Now we have a plethora of SCCs to choose from - and Dell has still to get in on the act. Thankfully, Acer has taken a slightly more restrained view of what constitutes an SCC. Its Aspire One is available in just …

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Anonymous Coward

Boot Times?

Wondered what the boot times are on the 8GBSSD Linux version?

I want something that is quick to wake up.

Is it easy to totally ditch the installed linuxOS, and go with a different distro, or have Acer locked it to the simpleton OS?

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The extended battery is £80...

...at cclonline. That's the same as the last Acer laptop I bought, and was the primary reason I never bothered replacing the battery when it died.

Total deal breaker for me. I think it should have impacted on your score, too, because the One really isn't "everything a Small, Cheap, Computer should be", without the extended battery, and it's no-longer cheap with it!

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Heart

Shame

I was really keen on this when it was announced, but it's too expensive and too short a battery life.

Oh well, I'll wait.

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Anonymous Coward

Shame you can't buy it WITH the extended battery...

Perhaps £40 more for the model with the long-life battery, as clearly it's wasteful of a battery to buy the short-life model, only to take the batter out and shove it in a dark corner, when the long-life one arrives.

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Boffin

Batteries

It's all very well having high-tech SSDs for storage and a customised Linux OS, but it's about time these companies got together and developed a better battery. I won't even consider one of these until it can last many hours without charging.

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Anonymous Coward

Hands that do dishes can feel soft as your Ace ...r

Photo needs something to indicate scale, e.g. a hand holding it, a briefcase or similar.

I would really want to see the whole set from EeePC, including the Google apps, Skype and Thunderbird already installed, my flash key has all of these, bootable Linux and Truecrypt besides...in less than 2Gb, so 8GB would leave plenty for my documents and email.

Also what about encryption? I'd like to have a laptot which is secure, so even if I do lose it, I am not losing all my private docs, passwords etc.. I do this with my flash keys already since they have a tendency to go walkabout, I'd like the same on this too.

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Headline price

£220 headline price is all very well until you start adding extra battery and storage to make the machine worth your while. By that stage you should have well and truly breached the £300 barrier. Might as well go for the EeePc 901 or, better still, EeePc 1000 which has has got a bit more poke with 1GB RAM and 40GB SSD.

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Shiny screen?

The model I saw in the local Curry's (Princes Street, Edinburgh) had a very shiny screen - I can't stand laptops with built-in mirrors! No mention of this aspect in the review, so I guess the reviewer either didn't mind it, or is a vampire. The Curry's model was quite dead and I didn't wait around for them to revive it, but it looked quite stylish... apart from that pesky shiny screen.

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Info and Videos

The boot times are very fast for the Linpus OS on the SSD Aspire One. I cant access YouTube, but if you visit my page there should be some videos down the bottom

http://www.securityactive.co.uk/the-news/58-acer-aspire-one-super-sexy.html

You can easily put other OS on the machine, but there can be some messing about with drivers.

Hope it helps.

Thanks

Dale

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@Boot Times?

I replaced the original OS with Gentoo as I couldn't be doing with learning another OS. Just a case of booting off a USB CDROM.

Had it running Ubuntu for a while, but found it a bit slow and stuttery.

Have ACPI working on it, so can suspend-to-ram on lid close, so 'wake-up' is just a few seconds.

HTH.

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Happy

@Boot Times?

Mine's rebuilt with Ubuntu Hardy Heron (Netbook Remix) following the instructions on https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AspireOne

512Mb/8Gb model as reviewed - takes 45 seconds to boot to Ubuntu login screen

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so near, yet so far

106 minutes? That really is taking the piss..

With the extended battery it'd be really good.

Without it? Chocolate teapot..

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Thumb Down

Another not-quite-a-laptop but no use as anything else gadget

Is it just me who shakes their head as endless Eee copies come out, including those from Asus themselves, with ever increasing dimentions? The point was, IMHO, to keep it small. If you want a laptop - buy a laptop.

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Thumb Up

Re: Boot Times

It boots in somewhere between 15-20 seconds. Switching to another linux OS is likewise easy, though remember it doesn't have a CD-rom drive so that means installing from a USB flash drive or similar.

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Bronze badge
Stop

Battery life

Was that a typo, or is the battery life no better than I could get off an AA rechargeable? If not, then surely it would make more sense to fit a battery bay, and let you choose your own power - could even run off Alkalines if needed.

Or is this some multi-cell battery that runs at thousands of volts?

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Alternative to trackpads

If space is lacking, why not use a nub (http://xkcd.com/243/) instead of a track pad? Not only do they use far less space, I find them much better in use: Faster, more precise and requiring less finger movement.

Unfortunately, these seem to be out of fashion these days, with almost all new laptops having trackpads.

Actually, I would prefer something like a nub, but placed under the space bar instead of in the middle of the keyboard, so you would operate it using your thumb instead of index finger.

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Heart

I love it... conditionally!

If all you want to do is basic stuff including browsing, watching movies off a USB stick or basic word processing then it's great even without upgrading memory. Sure the battery time could be better but that's the only downside. That'd only be a problem on long journeys and most long distance trains have power sockets anyway. I don't believe for a second that there's any reg reader that would buy it as a main machine, and nor should they. The Linpus OS isn't as easy to install to as Windows but can't be many readers incapable of getting under the bonnet to add VLC and Skype. After that I don't know what else you'd want on a chuck around portable.

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Anonymous Coward

IBM thinkpad

these machines are cute, but never cheap enough or specced enough. I swear by 2nd hand thinkpads, available at £200-£250, 1.6 kilos, 3-4 hours battery life. kids can drop them.

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Alert

Battery lasts a lot longer than 106 minutes

The battery life as stated in the review has to be a mistake, most users report an average life of 150 minutes with the 3-cell battery.

Anyone who thinks the storage isn't big enough or that it doesn't have enough RAM is completely missing the point.

As for the guy who thinks it's too big - WTF?? Go down to PC World and see it side by side with the Eee, then come back and tell us that it's too big.

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Swapfile usage

How intensive is the swapfile usage? There's a lot of FUD about flash memory write cycles, but putting a swapfile on flash seems a bit risky, even with Linux's alleged superior memory management.

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Eee 901

I'll stick with my Eee 901 thanks - I easily get 6 hours out of the battery plus the spec is better (larger touchpad, 1.3M webcam, 1GB RAM, bluetooth, wireless N, included soft case).

Sure the keyboard is more cramped but it's fine for the odd e-mail or web address once you work out not to lean on the touchpad whilst typing! Makes the whole thing easier to dump into my bag too - a colleague has the MSI Wind/Advent SCC and the whole thing including power adapter is slightly too big.

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Flame

Sticky labels

"There's a pleasing lack of stickers too, with only the Intel Atom label besmirching the palmrest area."

Why-oh-why do all the manufacturers insist on putting these sticker on my laptop? Why can't they put them loose in the package, inviting you to put them on if you so want? Has anyone ever changed their mind about a laptop purchase after noticing their machine is suitable for Windows XP, or contains an Inten Centrino?

NO STICKERS !!

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Lame

Shame, had high hopes for this one. Too expensive, crap battery.

Next.

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b
Stop

nice, bbbbut...

STILL not achieving the 700px+ verticle res of the HP2133 or the gigabyte M912!

love watching this space, i've got an HP TX1340EA which is a 12" slightly larger sibling to these chappies..but i'd sell it and get a good one of these, once the right spec comes along.

i want an SSD, 1024x768 res and 3 USB ports, not much to ask for?!

once that comes along, i'm getting one.

chars,

bill

check this baby laptop thread:

http://www.eupeople.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=487

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Linux

Still cheaper with the Six cell

Even with the £60 battery it's still £20 cheaper than the Eee 901. Plus you can sell the 3-cell battery on Ebay and probably make at least £20, and probably £40+ of the suckers who continually over-bid.

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Linux

Extra memory without the HDD

I really like the AA1. It just annoys me that I can't have the extra memory without also having a HDD instead of SSD. What is the point of 120Gb in this type of machine anyway?

It seems that to do the memory upgrade yourself requires taking the machine apart...

Think I'll wait to see how much it costs with the bigger battery and 3G.....

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Dead Vulture

Linpus... Not sure about that name chaps...

Linpus; sounds like some sort of nasty infection to me.

Dead vulture because the infection killed it too ;)

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W
IT Angle

About the 'integrate-able SD card' slot

"Whatever card you add, the One integrates its capacity seamlessly with the main SSD as if they were one. This is a far better approach than treating the SD card as a separate storage space."

Why!?

I can see the bonus of having 2 SD card slots and using one as an 'additional SSD' and one as a 'disk drive' slot. But why would you want to 'meld' the storage of an SD card in with the SSD? How do you know what's stored on it - i.e. what happens in the event that you want to replace the 'melded' SD card (from a 4GB to 8GB)? Is it so there's 'seamless' space for installation of programs to a toal size beyond the built in SSD? I really don't get it at all...

---

That quirk aside, I had high hopes for the Aspire One.

The lack of 3G just is solved by way of a hanging USB dongle that comes free with a decent data plan anyways. Not perfect, but not a dealbreaker though.

And I've had a fiddle with the touchpad/button arrangement too: again, not a dealbreaker by any means. It's personal preference and I quite like it, tbh.

But (as everyone else will no doubt echo) the battery is a killer blow: a total deal breaker. And once you spec the Aspire One to match the Eee 901 they're both too expensive for what they are.

When the Aspire One was announced I was saying £200 was my price for a 9" screen / Atom CPU / 8GB SSD / 512MB RAM / 4-5hr+ battery w/ Linux. I'll give you an extra £25 for windows with 1GB RAM.

But I'll give some leeway and jump in for an Aspire One or Eee901 at £250/£275 (Lin/Win) with inbuilt 3G and a 5+ battery.

And while all this fail of the Acer delays-failed-price-claims / Asus-scattergun-range-of-specs is going on, the release date for the Dell machine quietly rumbles ever closer. Conveniently in time for Christmas and all the press assistance that could establish it as the benchmark machine.

So what's the betting the Dell E / Mini Inspiron drops at my spec but "From £299 (+ delivery)"? Sorry guys. It's too much. I'll wait.

In the meantime, I'll just stick with a SE K770 3G phone / XPS M1330 laptop combo and try to resist the PC World Advent 4211 badged MSI wind.

Nearly there guys. Nearly there.

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Stop

@Anonymous Coward

Where is the battery at £60? The only places I see it quoted that low are US prices. The UK price seems to be £80.

Even at £60, that's still £280 - you can get a 901 for £281 (dabs), with a higher spec.

Regarding the size-creep issue, that others keep bringing up. The "full" laptop market has settled on machines which are almost all 15.4" (especially at the low-end). That's a bit large for a "laptop", IMO, so I'll be happy to see these netbooks occupy the full lower spectrum from 7"-12". The more options the better.

I'd just like to see them move away from bigger=higher spec and cost. The "best fit" for me, would probably be a 10", with a spec and price closer to the 701.

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Anonymous Coward

Huh?

"By way of a test, we ran a basic Gimp filter test by applying the Gaussian blur filter to a 25.3mb 2048 x 1366 pixel JPEG image"

How'd that <3 mega-pixel JPEG get so big?

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Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

Can't be right

"Of course, the really great thing about the AA1 is that you can tuck it under your arm, go our and feel far less of a tit than if you were carrying a MacBook Air."

Are you saying that if I went out with a MBA under my arm, I could feel far more of a tit? What if I had a MBA under each arm? Far more of both tits?

Paris, because she likes people with MacBook Airs under their arms.

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Anonymous Coward

eee1000?

"The "best fit" for me, would probably be a 10", with a spec and price closer to the 701."

When is the Reg going to review the eee 1000? Ok, not as cheap as the 701 but you've done everything else in the SCC range.

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Happy

Media player?

Something using xine-lib.

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Coat

@b166er

At £1,719 a pop, yes you'd loom quite the tit.

Still happy with my Eee 701: the original and best SCC. Just wish I'd waited for availability of the 4GB version...

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E

A few points

-- "Real techies will probably want to install an alternative distro, like Ubuntu." - nooo.... I think real techies will not install Ubuntu.

-- 100 - odd minutes is awful. That really defeats the purpose of such a machine.

-- The HP 2133 has this thing beaten on all fronts, even comes with a 'standard' Linux: SuSE.

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Unhappy

No mention of the RAM upgrade nightmare....

Apart from the totally foot-shooting decision of Acer to ship the Aspire One with a 3-cell battery and no option to ship with a better battery as standard, the other thing I really *hate* about the hardware is that there's no easy way to upgrade the RAM!

It's all well and good saying "buy the cheapest model", but 512MB RAM isn't a lot nowadays and you have to take the machine apart - voiding the warranty along the way - to add any extra RAM, thanks to Acer ridiculously not having a RAM access hatch and burying it well inside the machine.

Fix the battery and RAM issues, sell it for under 250 quid and I'm there. Acer Aspire Two anyone?

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Huh?

>"By way of a test, we ran a basic Gimp filter test by applying the >Gaussian blur filter to a 25.3mb 2048 x 1366 pixel JPEG image"

>

>How'd that <3 mega-pixel JPEG get so big

Ermm, that'll be 2048x1366x256 = 716177408 (+ some header info, EXIF info etc) bits

Divide by 8 = 89522176 Bytes = 90MB then JPEG compress ...

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MrT
Bronze badge
Stop

SIM holders and future plans...

Presence of a SIM 'slot' is not 'sure indication' of 3G being on the cards, or even future GSM connectivity appearing. I have a 2003-vintage HP iPaq 5550 and that's got a SIM connector behind the battery, with a nice silver foil sticker over it. Maybe HP planned it to have the facility (there is a front-panel LED for GSM connectivity), but I could never find the firmware to enable GSM - I suspect it was dropped at the final type-approval stage (if anyone knows of firmware to enable it, I'd be interested to hear!). Of course, you're in a better position if the SIM contacts are actually visible in the AA1, and it makes GSM more likely than back in 2003, especially since there's been years of shift to mobile data use since then...

Much more useful would be to enable a full Bluetooth system (and not the stunted iPhone version), enabling the AA1 to hook up to a phone for data services on the move.

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Silver badge
Linux

3G dongles and linux

Actually getting a 3G dongle is mostly a snap on Linux these days, the kernel has a serial driver optimized for them. The main problem is that some 3G dongle makers confuse Linux by initially appearing as a USB storage device, for auto-loading a Windows driver! Ie. the problem is explicitly caused by Windows-related braindamage! This can be fixed by running a mode-setting program from http://www.draisberghof.de/usb_modeswitch

, some devices also timeout from the Windows braindamage mode.

Help for setting this up is easy to find on the net.

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Happy

hmmm

hmmm , I see over at Tom's Hardware a comparison test between Atom & AMD Athlon 64 2000+ outperforms Intel's little baby or as they say horses for courses and courses for horses !

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Alert

256 bits per pixel?

»Ermm, that'll be 2048x1366x256 = 716177408 (+ some header info, EXIF info etc) bits

Is that 256 bits per pixel?

Ermm, I rather thought that 24 (or 32 if you have an alpha channel) would be more usual.

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Rumour has it ...

.. that the 6-cell battery will make it to the "standard" builds and be at or around the same price as the current 3-cell versions. Take as much salt with that as you can stomach though 8-)

My seashell white baby has just turned up and it looks like its getting ubuntu installed on it over the weekend, along with a RAM upgrade (left over from another upgrade) and an extra SDHC card.

The power brick is 19v / 1.58A and I think I have a car charger that can do that .. so recharging on the go as well.

I did wonder about making an "emergency" power pack out of NIMH AA's lashed together but 19v is a bit high and would need some pumping-up regulator/xformer to get it to that voltage (only to be cut down to 3.3v/5v again inside!) .. wonder if there is any power regulator that could be bypassed ... hmm maybe too dodgy for me to try 8-)

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Happy

Aspire One with extended battery available

For me the whole point about SCCs (or netbooks) is portability, quick boot up, long battery life and low cost. The Eee 901 almost got it right except for the price, hence why the version of the Aspire One that I bought included the 6 cell battery, 1Gb RAM, 8Gb SSD and Linpus Linux... and it's awesome.

Cost from FutureShop.ca in Canada was CAD$449. After taxes that still comes to only 250 in "real money". Boot time from cold to surfing is 30 seconds. I get between 5-6 hours of use with the 6 cell battery and that includes constant wireless and much video streaming usage. The keyboard is also remarkably usable and the extra "storage slot", as mentioned in the review, is very novel.

Side note: The supplied slip cover does not fit when the 6 cell battery is used, though apparently Acer are planning free replacements.

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On sale at PC WOrld for £199

Just to let you know that PC World are now selling them at £199. If you can pick up the bigger battery, flog the old one, then it's not that bad a price. Linky here: http://www.pcworld.co.uk/martprd/product/seo/705895#productInformationSection

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Thumb Up

Integrated storage slot

@ W

The integrated storage SD slot (accepts SDHC) is used by the file system as it gets mounted into your home directory, which is itself in the /mnt directory. It's a *nix thing that M$ pinched in Win 2000 btw.

I bought the 150 L last week and I'm using it for nearly everything although you will definitely want to change the default twit-proof interface to something more flexible - acerguy will tell you how.

The 120GB holds my MP3 collection (60gb) and still has space for a few movies for the kids although you really want a power socket for movies.

For the record, everyone who has seen this has asked if it is a "real" pc, they are quite surprised when I tell them that it is.

Will buy an aftermarket battery when they come down in price, unless I can source some good quality li-ion cells and build one myself.

Run on alkalines, not very green is it! Now a solar case lid, that would be funky.

J.

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Stop

Re: A few points

"-- The HP 2133 has this thing beaten on all fronts, even comes with a 'standard' Linux: SuSE."

Yeah, except for the fact the 2133 is slow as hell, runs as hot as hell and has a similar battery life! Check your facts before posting please.

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