Acer Aspire One D250 review
Google's Android OS provides a disappointing distraction from an otherwise average netbook
The first time we laid our hands on Acer's Aspire One D250, we were quietly impressed. A slimline netbook with some nice design touches, it was only the stiff competition that left it floundering. Now, however, the D250 can lay claim to one feat none of its competitors can. Not only does it have Windows 7 Starter Edition installed, it's also the first Android netbook.
Indeed, while neither the D250's figure nor its specifications are liable to excite uncontrollable lust, the presence of Android raises its appeal above the average netbook. First impressions are good, with Android booting up in just 15 seconds, and it also looks far neater than any instant-on OS we've seen before. Alas, anyone who's had the chance to meet Android on a smartphone should prepare for disappointment.
Spend just a few minutes with the D250 and it's clear Android wasn't built with a trackpad and keyboard in mind. The inclusion of both Android's webkit-based browser and the more recognisable Mozilla Firefox almost seems to admit as much.
Indeed, where Android's browser makes sense on a smartphone's touchscreen, it just doesn't translate here. The process of clicking and holding the left mouse button, while pushing up to scroll the page down, seems clunky and counter-intuitive, and the lack of Flash support soon left us running back to Firefox's familiar embrace.
Even that Android-friendly incarnation of Firefox is less than stellar. It does at least support Flash, allowing you to catch up with the latest additions to iPlayer or YouTube, but jerky, unwatchable playback completely spoils the show.
That would be disappointing enough, but then there's the conspicuous lack of the Android Market to contend with. There's an option in the settings to allow software to be installed but, frustratingly, no way of actually buying any applications - at least at this early stage.
It's an omission that immediately curtails Android's aspirations. Checking email and perusing websites is possible, as is using Google Apps, and while there are music and photo applications, these come as some little recompense since they also prove clunky and unsophisticated.
It's a shame to admit it, but for most users it won't be long at all before the temptation to switch straight over to Windows 7 kicks in - a task, thankfully, made easy by the shortcut at the top-left of Android's home screen.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||259 x 184 x 33mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Atom N270|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel 945GSE Express|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||1|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,024|
|Resolution screen vertical||600|
|Resolution||1024 x 600|
|Graphics chipset||Intel GMA 950|
|Graphics card RAM||128MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||233GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Hitachi HTS545025B9A300|
|Optical disc technology||None|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||no|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||yes|
|Wireless key-combination switch||no|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||yes|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Front edge|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||0.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||7hr 57min|
|Battery life, heavy use||3hr 42min|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.30|
|Office application benchmark score||0.34|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||0.30|
|Encoding application benchmark score||0.29|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||0.28|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||Fail|
|3D performance setting||Fail|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Starter|
|OS family||Windows 7|