Acer Aspire One D250 review

£299
Price when reviewed

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.

Android netbook home screen

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.

Android netbook apps

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

Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions259 x 184 x 33mm (WDH)
Weight1.240kg
Travelling weight1.5kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom N270
Motherboard chipsetIntel 945GSE Express
RAM capacity1.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total1

Screen and video

Screen size10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,024
Resolution screen vertical600
Resolution1024 x 600
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 950
Graphics card RAM128MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity250GB
Hard disk usable capacity233GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskHitachi HTS545025B9A300
Optical disc technologyNone
Optical driveN/A
Battery capacity4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportno
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readeryes
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use7hr 57min
Battery life, heavy use3hr 42min
Overall application benchmark score0.30
Office application benchmark score0.34
2D graphics application benchmark score0.30
Encoding application benchmark score0.29
Multitasking application benchmark score0.28
3D performance (crysis) low settingsFail
3D performance settingFail

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Starter
OS familyWindows 7

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