Acer's Aspire One provides a capable Windows PC in a highly portable package, and the 10.1in screen is a reasonable compromise between the tiny screens of some netbooks and those of full-size laptops. With the optional battery, the Aspire should be able to last for about five hours use, which is useful for mobile workers, although pushing up the weight somewhat.
10.1in screen; optional 2GB memory.
Pre-loaded apps eat up system resources.
£329 (add £79.99 for larger battery)
The latest version of Acer's Aspire One mini laptop brings a larger 10.1in screen and the option to fit 2GB memory - double that typical with other so-called "netbook" systems. Combined with good build quality, these attributes mark out the new Aspire as one of the better models of this type now on the market.
Announced in January and available now, The Aspire One D150 series is similar in size and specification to many other mini laptops, so it is minor details such as a decent keyboard and screen that can make a model stand out from the crowd, and the Acer scores well on these.
We found the Aspire a pleasure to use, although our review sample came pre-loaded with numerous tools and applications that ate up system resources and therefore might be best left out from a system such as this.
Some models of the Aspire are set to use Intel's new N280 version of the Atom processor, which boasts a slightly higher 1.68GHz clock speed and supports faster memory. However, our review unit was based on the 1.6GHz N270 version found in existing netbooks, with 1GB of memory and a 160GB SATA hard drive.
For this reason, we did not benchmark the compute performance of the Aspire One D150, as its near-identical specification to other models such as Lenovo's IdeaPad S10e means its performance is also very similar.
One aspect we did test was battery life, and the Aspire One achieved an impressive five hours and 13 minutes, as measured with the Battery Eater Pro benchmark. However, our review unit was fitted with a larger than standard 5800mAh battery pack, which costs an additional £79.99 and bulges out somewhat from the rear of the system.
The standard battery pack sold with the Aspire is a 4400mAh type, which by extrapolation should provide about three hours and 45 minutes. Tests were conducted with power management disabled, and with all wireless interfaces inactive.
Our review model came in an off-white colour scheme on the outside, but all black when opened up. It is a fairly standard size for a mini laptop, at about 26cm wide by 18cm deep and 3.5cm thick, and weighs 1.3kg with the extended battery fitted.
The chief difference between this model and earlier Aspires is the 10.1in screen, which we found to be nice and bright and gave an easy to read display at its native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. This provides more usable screen room for applications than the first generation netbooks, but may still be a little small when compared with standard laptops.