Higher forces made it necessary for me to hunt for a mobile computing solution for my everyday needs. I started creating a list of things the hardware needed to offer and fastly realized that a netbook is favourized over a ordinary notebook. I began ivestigating the market and soon I found out that you have to decide which way to go. Most of the netbooks up to 10″ display size use a N270/280 Intel Atom CPU with mostly 1.6GHz which is quite fast. The netbooks with 11″ and above use the Intel Atom Z520/530 with 1.3GHz which is quite a bit slower than the N-Type Atoms. Intel thinks that netbooks shouldn’t use big displays, because they think the user expects to have more performance at a netbook with a larger display. In my opinion: Bullshit. I’m convinced this is just a flimsy excuse to protect the entry level notebook sales. But back to the point: I tested some of the 9″ and 10″ netbooks and found the displays being too small even to surf comfortably. The 11″ gives you a resolution of 1366*768 pixels, which is a lot on a display of this size and more than sufficient for surfing and all kinds of office works. I found out there were several netbook with a 11.something” display and took a closer look at them through online reviews from magazines and users. It was clear now that you have to decided what is of importance for you when buying a netbook: Speed, big display, battery consumption?
I decided for the big display and excellent battery life and focussed on these machines. After some more research I decided to take a closer look on Acer’s Aspire One 751 with the 11.6″ screen, Atom Z520/1.3GHz, 1GB RAM and a 160GB harddisc. I fastly tested the netbook at a local electronics discounter and the first impression was: Very good display, very good keyboard and overall a stylish design. Speed seemed to be sufficient and so I gave it a shot.
I bought the AAO751 during my lunch break and charged the battery so when I came home after a stressy day I was able to install and use the netbook without the need for charging the battery. Installation of the needed applications were without problems. The WiFi connection works as expected and I instantly loved the keyboard and screen – both for it’s size and quality. BTW: I decided to get the AAO751 with the white and black case and it looks really valuable.
The Z520 processor is compared to the N280 around 10% slower, but up to now I couldn’t find something it didn’t do in a decent speed. Some users were reporting even youtube videos are stuttering when changing the volume, but I couldn’t discover such problems up to now. Possibly the reason is I already use the most current display driver that can be downloaded at Acer’s support area, even for WindowsXP. Even Photoshop works quite fine. One thing I will do soon is exchanging the 1GB RAM with a 2GB one to get some more performance out of the system. The AAO751 uses DDR2-SDRAM-PC5300-SODIMMs which are priced around 30 Euros for 2GB at the moment. Quite fair I think. When it comes to battery life the Z520 shows all it’s qualities. When used for surfing the netbooks runs without a ‘refill’ slightly over 8 hours (with the default energy saving setup) and even when watching DivX movies the netbook still runs for sensational 7 hours.
Accessories and extension:
Having a stylish netbook with shiny white finish makes you also want some fitting accessories. It took me some time to find a bag and mouse for my netbook, but finally I fully can recommend you the Saitek Notebook 800dpi mouse (white/silver) and the ELECOM Zeroshock Sleeve. Even though the bag is said to be 10.6″ to 11.1″ the netbook fits perfectly in there. As a kind of bonus both accessories are priced very low and you only have to invest around 20 Euros to get this stuff.
Even though the display is not coated with an antireflection surface, it’s brilliant in colors and size. The battery life is outstanding and even though it’s not a fast processor working with the netbook is flawless and comfortable when you keep in mind to not run too many applications at the same time.