by July 1, 2011 0 comments

Confused over which netbook to buy? Here we review two of the latest models from Acer and compare them against other similar models that fall within the same 18-20K price bracket.

Acer Aspire One 522

This netbook comes loaded with almost all the desired features expected of a netbook and some distinguishing ones too. First, it comes powered with an AMD dual core C-50 processor clocking at 1 GHz. This is a recently launched (January 2011) low voltage processor from AMD with TDP of 9W which is almost comparable to the dual core Intel Atom Pineview N5xx series (TDP: 8.5W). Second, the netbook has an HDMI port which is not a regular feature in netbooks. Third, the 10.1 inch LED screen comes with a resolution of 1280x720p resolution which is again the highest in the category.

Other features that keep it ahead of the curve include a 320 GB HDD, 2 GB DDR3 RAM, chiclet-island style keypad with soft and well-sized keys, multi-gesture touchpad, VGA out, and Bluetooth 3.0 and 3 USB 2.0 ports. All that is offered with only 1.4 Kg weight on your shoulders, making it an extremely mobile companion.

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On the not-so brighter side, the rear of this netbook heats up badly, and that too in just a few minutes of usage. The ‘half rear — half side’ profiled heat vent was just not able to manage it well enough to keep the machine cool. Besides, the mono-loudspeaker in the rear of the netbook produced low sound levels making the audio experience a bit unpleasing.

On the performance front, the netbook scored competitively to similar Atom powered netbooks, with a PCMark Vantage score of 1388. The battery backup was decent at close to 4 hours in our BatteryMark 4.0 test.

At a price tag of approx 20K, the product is well packaged on features and performance desired of a netbook, but heating issues just let this netbook down of belonging to a must buy product.

Acer Aspire One D257

This netbook follows the foot-steps of D255, reviewed in our March 2011 laptop shootout, of being a netbook with decent performance and excellent battery back-up. On the design front, the new upper lid incorporates an outward radiating ‘ripple’ effect from the ‘O’ in ‘Aspire One’ logo. The new design also includes a scroll bar at the extreme right of the touchpad besides the regular integrated right-left mouse click button.

Similar to its predecessor, D257 comes with an exceptional feature in the netbook segment, i.e, instant-on Android OS (mainly for browsing Internet and quick notes/ meeting reminders/ e-mailing) co-existing besides the Windows 7 Starter OS. The netbook also features a multi-gesture touch-pad which lets you not only zoom-in/out, but also rotate images. Also, the upper lid opens at almost 180 degree to make browsing and reading convenient when the netbook is held at an upright position. The battery back-up of approximately 5 hours is amongst the best in the category.

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On the not so brighter side, the glossy lid and screen make it prone to fingerprints and dust. Inspecting the rear of the netbook, there was absence of an upgradeable HDD/RAM panel as was in D255. Also, you miss on an HDMI port and a higher resolution being offered by Acer Aspire One 522.

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Overall, with no serious flaws and being the best packaged netbook in terms of performance (PC Mark Vantage Score: 1310) and features at a price of approx Rs 17k, Aspire One D257 is a must buy.

The Verdict

After having reviewed the two latest netbooks we received from Acer, we went head-on to revive the netbook warfare of March 2011 (see table). ASUS Eee PC 1015 still goes strong in the category with some remarkable features such as the matte-finished screen, Gig-Ethernet port and Bluetooth 3.0; not to forget its outstanding PCMark Vantage score of 1691 and Intel ATOM CPU N550@1.5GHz processor ( Of course to own one, you need to stretch your budget to enter the 20K netbook category.

Aspire One D257, as discussed earlier, re-incarnates as an improved D255 not leaving behind the good features and decent performance of its predecessor. If your budget is anything less than 20K, Aspire D257 is the one to go for.We leave you with a comparison table of the two new netbooks along with the ones included in our March 2011 laptop shootout.

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