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Acer Aspire One 522 review

Verdict

The AMD processor and screen resolution give it a massive advantage, but it desperately needs a bigger battery

Review Date: 4 May 2011

Reviewed By: David Bayon

Price when reviewed: £216 (£259 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

With so many netbooks sporting very similar specifications, it takes something special to really stand out: a USB 3 port perhaps or, as in this case, a high-resolution screen. Unlike the vast majority of netbooks, Acer’s Aspire One 522 steps up from 1,024 x 600 to a much more usable 1,280 x 720, and the difference it makes to the user experience is remarkable.

It’s still a 10.1in display but it feels much larger, displaying a good chunk of a web page where lower resolutions often get little more than the main headline. The glossy panel isn’t anything special when it comes to colour reproduction or contrast levels, but the key strength is that it feels like a proper desktop, which is not something you generally feel when using a netbook.

You also get the benefit of AMD’s C-50 processor, whose integrated Radeon HD 6250 graphics chip handles media tasks more comfortably than Intel's Atoms. It won’t have you tearing round the jungles of Crysis, but it can run mainstream games at several times the frame rate of Intel’s integrated graphics, and it played back high-quality YouTube and iPlayer streams and 1080p MKV files smoothly – with the bonus of an HDMI port to blow that up to living room size.

Acer Aspire One 522

The Aspire 522 is exceedingly thin and light, weighing just 1.06kg, yet the build feels pretty sturdy. The flat-top keys avoid the miniaturisation that blights many netbooks, and the plastic lid feels strong enough to protect the panel in a bag. (Thankfully, it’s also available in colours other than sickly green.) There are three USB 2 ports and a card reader around the sides, and a 1.3-megapixel webcam sits above the screen.

If it all sounds like netbook perfection, there’s one large stumbling block that prevents us from fully endorsing the Aspire One 522. Presumably to keep costs manageable, Acer has opted for a puny 2,200mAh battery, which gave us just 4hrs 2mins of general browsing time. If it were a 15in laptop we’d barely let that pass, but it’s simply unacceptable in netbook terms, particularly with some rivals lasting ten hours.

It’s disappointing, as in most other ways the Aspire One 522 is ahead of the pack. The screen is a huge plus few netbooks can match, the processor and the graphics chip are as fast as netbooks currently offer, and the 250GB hard disk and port selection are fine for such a reasonable price. But that battery means we can only really recommend it in the unlikely event that you don’t intend to use your netbook on the move.

Author: David Bayon

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User comments

Battery Upgrade

Do Acer offer a battery upgrade, and (if so) for what price, and what might it score with the higher capacity battery as standard (accounting for the higher cost)?

By Peter_Tennant on 4 May 2011

No pricing yet for this one, but official spare 5,400mAh batteries for similar models start at £79. You may find one cheaper if you shop around next week, but I wouldn't go near it at that price.

Regards
David

By DavidBayon on 4 May 2011

Thanks David, so that essentially means that to get 'normal' netbook battery life it'll cost £350. Might be worth waiting for the first Samsung netbook with Fusion.

By Peter_Tennant on 4 May 2011

Just read a poitive review of this on The Tech Report, where they gave it a Recommended Award.

Slightly different results for their battery testing too, where it was described as having "great battery life":

http://techreport.com/articles.x/20415/7

Will have to see what other reviews say about it?

By pbryanw on 5 May 2011

The trouble is..

2200mAh is 2200mAh - there's no way its going to last long enough for a carry around device when you're actually doing something on it.

By khellan on 6 May 2011

Longer battery

I bought a longer life battery from Amazon UK for older Acer One and it works great 7800 mAh
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Extended-Battery-Samsung-7
800mAh-CS-SNC10HE/dp/B001USYFFW

By Davebrock on 11 May 2011

Battery is fine

Just bought one having confirmed it now ships with a 6 cell 4400mAh battery. It is a cracking little machine for the price and the screen is far better than any other netbook I have seen. With a HDMI out as well it has everything you need.

By thinkaboutit on 3 Jul 2011

Word of warning: There are a couple of different versions of these about with a screen res of 1,024 x 600.
E.g, http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.212-7719.aspx

By dinkleberry on 26 Jan 2012

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