Manish Chakravarty (manish_chaks) wrote,

Review: Acer Aspire D250 Netbook with Andriod

Since I am travelling a lot, I bought I needed a light netbook – bought the Acer Aspire D250 for slightly less than 18k INR

acer-aspire-one-d250

Tech Specs:

  • Intel Atom Processor N280 – 1.66 Ghz, 667 Mhz FSB
  • 1 GB Ram ( will upgrade it to 2 GB Shortly 0
  • 6-cell Li-ion battery ( has been giving me 5+ hours of backup )
  • 160 GB HDD
  • Card Reader
  • Android OS as a standard dual boot option -  more on this later

Initial Feel;

  • The keyboard felt nice – I am very particular about keyboards and this one seems to be pretty nice initially. The laptop itself is pretty small though and your fingers will cramp up after long hours of usage ( I started having problems after 4+ hours)
  • The 6-cell battery gives me 4-5 hours of backup on my usage ( more on usage below ) – I’m more than happy with it.
  • Atom processor is powerful enough for my usage on this machine
  • The display is glossy and nice. The area around the display is prone to fingerprints though
  • The laptop is really light – around 1kg and thin, Though nowhere as thin and light as the Macbook Air, it’s pretty good and light for my needs and it’s in my budget :)

How I use it

I made a conscious decision to keep the software stack on my machine as light as possible. I use windows XP SP3 on this ( came preloaded ) along with Android OS ( more on this below).

Firefox is the primary application that i use on my machine. I try and use web applications where ever possible. Which means I used GMail and Google Apps (for my TW Mail ) instead of using a Outlook 2007 as my mail client. I did try using Windows Live Mail , but I found the web interface the best deal.

I use Pidgin for all my IM needs – it’s got all my accounts ( my Y!, Google Talk and TW Jabber account) linked to it. Sometimes I use meebo as well. The heaviest application that I use on this machine is Eclipse – it’s way slower than my Macbook Pro – but then netbooks are really not meant for heavy development work. Java6 + Eclipse do really drain this machine – also because it’s got just 1 GB of RAM.

The only other development that I’ve been doing on this laptop is Firefox extension development – the laptop seems more than adequate for this task - Notepad++ being my editor of choice for this work.

I also have Emacs for windows installed on this machine – though I’ve been rarely using it.

The machine did not come with the windows XP Home CD/media with it. Acer provides a software for backing up the laptop into disks/DVD’s. I havent bothered with it cause I am going to get rid of windows and install Linux on it once I get back to Bangalore anyway.

The Android OS

When I bought the netbook, I noticed the “Android ready” logo on the right palm-rest area. I thought it was marketing shill till I installed/activated the Andriod OS ( you can do this from within windows – very cool ) and booted into it. Android asks your for your Google Account credentials and then syncs with it. All your Contacts / Calendar / GTalk friends list etc are automatically synced. It lacks some essential (for me at least) apps such as Twidriod but I assume you can install it somehow – need to explore more once my travels end and I get back to Bangalore.

Acer supplies its own ‘flavour’ of Android. I didnt use the word ‘distro’ – the Android world has not yet seen the kind of fragmentation the Linux world has, which is a good thing. I plan to install the vanilla Android OS once I get back – hardware support being a non-issue as everything seems to run well anyway

It’d be interesting to try out Chrome OS on this once it comes out – I've a gut feeling that it should work on this machine too many issues.

Verdict

If you are looking for a netbook which gets the job done and lets you play around – go for this one – I’m positively in love with this once I bought it.!

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