Acer Aspire One 533 review

27 Aug 2010

Huge battery life, but the all-round quality isn’t high enough to justify the price

Price when reviewed: 
300(£300 inc VAT)
3

The new Atom N475 isn’t revolutionary, but it’s at least a step in the right direction for netbooks. It runs at 1.83GHz, supports Hyper-Threading and has the standard Intel GMA 310 graphics onboard, but its most notable strength is that – along with the recently launched 1.66GHz N455 – it finally supports DDR3 memory.

Acer is the first to take advantage with the Aspire One 533, pairing the N475 with 1GB of DDR3 in its single DIMM socket. If we expected that move to DDR3 to have an impact, though, we were left deflated. In our benchmarks it scored just 0.34, no higher or lower than the vast majority of netbooks we’ve tested.

The Atom has never been about speed, however, and with each new iteration we’re far keener to see how battery life fares. The 4,400mAh six-cell battery has enough juice to keep you working throughout the day. In our light-use test, with wireless disabled, the screen brightness dimmed and no applications running, the Acer kept plugging away for just ten minutes short of ten hours. Even when running our intensive multitasking test it still managed 4hrs 15mins before dying.

Acer Aspire One 533

The Aspire One’s design has been tweaked, with the thin battery making for a thin and portable netbook – just 1.2kg and 27mm at its thickest point. The base is robust and well-finished, and the hinge feels like it’s built to last; only the lid feels slightly weak and plasticky, with a bit too much give to be comfortable tossed into a bag.

The keyboard is well laid-out, with a large right-Shift key making up for the slightly cramped cursor keys, and the touchpad supports multitouch gestures. We’re generally not fans of the one-piece rocker-style buttons, but here they proved responsive.

The 10.1in screen has a glossy finish that adds vibrancy and brightness, but it has some notable flaws. The individual pixels of the 1,024 x 600 resolution are clearly visible, giving the desktop a mottled appearance. It’s clearly not a top-quality panel.

When you consider the Aspire One 533 costs £255 exc VAT, that’s a little disappointing. The battery life is a huge strength and it has the latest Intel parts inside, but it’s still essentially the same as the pack, with a 250GB hard disk, 802.11n wireless and three USB ports. With the A-Listed Asus Eee PC 1001P just as capable with few compromises for around £70 less, the Acer can’t justify the extra outlay.

Details

Price ex VAT £255
Price inc VAT £300
Overall rating 3
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 4
Performance 2

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base International

Physical specifications

Dimensions 259 x 187 x 27mm (WDH)
Weight 1.204kg
Travelling weight 1.4kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Atom N475
Motherboard chipset Intel NM10 Express
RAM capacity 1.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 1

Screen and video

Screen size 10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,024
Resolution screen vertical 600
Resolution 1024 x 600
Graphics chipset Intel GMA 3150
Graphics card RAM 256MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 250GB
Hard disk usable capacity 219GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Western Digital Scorpio Blue
Optical disc technology None
Optical drive N/A
Battery capacity 4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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 no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Speaker location Front edge, base
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 9hr 50min
Overall application benchmark score 0.34
Office application benchmark score 0.37
2D graphics application benchmark score 0.36
Encoding application benchmark score 0.33
Multitasking application benchmark score 0.31

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Starter 32-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Burn own recovery discs