Acer Aspire One Happy review
A reasonable netbook, but neither performance nor usability fill us with joy
Review Date: 18 Feb 2012
Reviewed By: Simon Fisher
Price when reviewed: £209 (£251 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Despite the cheesy name and lurid pink finish of our test sample, the Aspire One Happy makes an instant good impression. Pupils were particularly keen on the look of this netbook, including the cover design and accent colours on the trackpad and power button. Measuring only 24mm at its thickest point, it’s comfortably smaller than its competitors, and it closes flat too. Size may well be the major reason for choosing a netbook, so the Aspire One has an immediate advantage. At only 1.25kg, it’s a comfortable weight as well.
However, and perhaps because of its diminutive size, the Aspire One Happy doesn’t feel substantial. The plastics feel cheap, and it’s unlikely this netbook will stand the test of time.
The Aspire One Happy’s single-core Atom N455 processor and 1GB of RAM mean that, as with many similarly specified models, it’s happiest when performing basic tasks. It even struggled when streaming video from BBC iPlayer – and with a benchmark score of 0.17, it definitely isn’t high speed.
Usability is mixed. The 10.1in glossy LED screen is bright and clear enough to make web browsing and document creation a pleasant experience. Acer has also worked hard to maximise the size of the keyboard, with the keys going right up to each edge. Unfortunately, they have a rattly feel to them, and both pupils and staff noted that the cramped layout and short travel make it easy to accidentally catch others. The trackpad is better, supporting clicking and scrolling, but the two buttons have been integrated into one pivoting bar.
The Acer boasts the usual three USB ports, a VGA output, a multicard reader and a webcam, plus 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth. It can achieve up to the stated eight hours of battery life; we had it working comfortably through a full school day – even though the System Tray indicator reported only 1% remaining!
In the end, the Aspire One Happy isn’t particularly cheap, fast or comfortable to use. If you’re purchasing netbooks, you could do better.
Author: Simon Fisher
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