Mini Laptop Computers - Review of the inexpensive Acer Aspire One AO532H mini laptop computer - $299
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Mini Laptop Computers - Acer Aspire One AO532H Review - $299

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After looking at many mini laptop computers, earlier this week I took delivery of my new Acer Mini Notebook (or Netbook) computer. I have to admit, I don't really need one, but I thought give it a try to see if I do really need it. The answer is yes, I do - or perhaps that may simply be a minor case of cognitive dissonance perhaps :-)

Anyway, at only $299.00, the Acer Aspire One AO532H was a bargain. I should point out however, it was sold being labelled as a refurbished netbook, which explains why it was half price. But, after speaking with the retailer at My PC Parts, he explained that "refurbished" does not necessarily mean there has been a problem, and it has been returned, fixed, and then re-sold.

Mini Laptop Computers

Cheap Mini Laptop Computers
Quite the contrary because often retailers may over-stock a product, or want to move older models out in preparation for newer models. Even if a brand new item is returned to Acer, it has to be opened and inspected, but once opened, it must be marked "refurbished".

When I opened the carton, I saw a brand new Acer Netbook, complete with protective plastic stickers, feature labels, and not a mark. Upon starting the unit for the first time, it went straight into "Starting Windows for first time use" - so I daresay this unit had never been started, let alone touched.

Nothing about the Notebook itself said anything but it was brand new, but it was missing a printed manual. That was easily fixed - I downloaded a copy from the Acer website, not that a manual is needed to be honest.

Now, as for my impression of the Acer Mini Netbook as a functional piece of equipment - I'm impressed. It comes pre-installed with Windows 7 Starter (a cut down version of Windows 7), an Atom N450 1.66 GHz CPU, 1 gig of ram (expandable to 2 gig), and a 160 gig hard drive. Acer also includes a fantastic 6 cell Li-ion battery which should last about 8 to 10 hours.

As you can see by the photo below, the notebook is a similar size to a normal mouse pad, but it still manages to fit in a very functional keyboard, being very close to normal size. I find it easy to use, with all the keys you would see on a normal sized keyboard - with the exception of course of a separate numeric pad.

Cheap Mini Netbooks

This is what I did straight away:

First, I installed Acronis backup software and made a disc image of the original drive - always a wise move. I then made the hard drive partition smaller so I could format the leftover disc space into a storage, or file partition.

The next move was to totally remove the ubiquitous Norton software, as well as the trial installations of MS Office. Of course, every computer needs anti-virus and a firewall, especially if you take it out to connect to public networks, so my software of choice is the award winning Eset Smart Security Suite.

Also, with the OS being Windows 7 Starter, you don't have control over the desktop wallpaper, so you're stuck with the default Acer Windows 7 boring one. Well, not really - simply install a free program called Oceanis Change Background W7, and voila - you can have your own desktop wallpaper - or even a slideshow on your desktop.

For mail I installed Mozilla Thunderbird, and for web surfing I installed Mozilla Firefox.

Once I had everything installed and setup, I made a new disc image using Acronis, and saved that to an external USB hard drive.

Finally, the unit only comes with 1GB of RAM. If you look at how the processes use the RAM, you'll see it gets quite a workout. So I immediately bought a 2 GIG stick of RAM which My PC Parts sells for about $50. The difference in performance is amazing and well worth the extra.

Software/Hardware I installed:

Acronis Backup and Recovery (au $69.95)
Mozilla Firefox (Free) -
Mozilla Thunderbird (Free)
Oceanis Change Background W7 (Free)
Eset Smart Security Suite (au $49.95)
2 GIG RAM (au $51.00)

Acer Aspire D250 Notebook - what you get (click to display info ∇)

To learn more about this bargain Netbook, contact MY PC Parts:

MY PC Parts (ABN 21606589652)
6 Blanck Street Maroochydore QLD 4558 Australia

Tel: 07 5443 3173
Fax: 07 5443 3174

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