The Acer Aspire D255 is something of a mixed blessing, as many netbooks are. Lightweight and with good battery life, it is annoyingly slow at times and awkward to use. The dual-boot mode is interesting, and no doubt the future for many devices, but there seems no clear use for it at present beyond a way of siloing off different types of data between the two. The price is good but not cheap enough compared to other netbooks to really stand out.
Lightweight; good battery; adequate specifications
Slow processor; small keyboard; no application store for Android
£ 250 approx
Intel N550 Atom processor running at 1.5GHz, 1.3-megapixel webcam, 250GB hard drive, three USB ports, 259 x 24 x 185mm, screen resolution of 1,024 x 600, 10.1in screen, 1.2kg, 1GB of RAM
The Acer Aspire D255 joins the growing ranks of devices that offer dual-boot of two operating systems, in this instance Windows 7 Starter and Android 2.1, which allows you to switch between the two as you work.
However, there appears to be little clear point to this. There's no application marketplace to download additional software to the laptop as there is with Android smartphones, and the Google OS is merely shoved onto a netbook without modification.
It could be useful to allocate Android for personal content and Windows 7 Starter for business content to help ensure no crossover, but beyond this there's little clear benefit in having both.
The Acer Aspire D255 boots to Android first, but can switch to Windows in as little as one second, so it's not necessary to make the transition manually.
Screen and keyboard
The netbook is rather bland looking, but has a reasonable 10.1in screen with a resolution of 1,024 x 600. The dimensions of 259 x 24 x 185mm and weight of just 1.2kg makes it easy to carry around.
While this small form factor has its advantages, the Aspire D255's keyboard is so small and constricting that it's irritating to use.
We used the device in a number of locations and found the small keypad a real pain, resulting in endless spelling mistakes and mis-keyed text, and the annoying situation of opening the wrong file or application.
It's not really a design fault per se, as a netbook is always going to have a small keyboard, but it's an unwelcome factor.