Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Got a new NetBook – Acer Aspire D250 exclusively for Blogging

Yes, we got a new NetBook last week after quite some research. There were just so many contenders that it made the process of choosing the right NetBook that much more difficult. The NetBooks’ on offer were from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, HCL, Sony, Acer – all the top brands have atleast 2-3 models on offer and each of them have different specs and whistles added to woo the buyer.

I visited a couple of stores in Bangalore like Croma (Koramangala), eXcite (Koramangala), Staples(Marthahalli) and eZone. Also visited numerous online websites to look for reviews and recommendations. Finally I narrowed in on the following models:

  • HCL MiLeap MH214 – Priced at INR 19000 (Approx 400 USD )
  • Wipro e-go Atom 26an – Priced at INR 20000 (Approx 420 USD )
  • Acer Aspire One AOD250 – Priced at INR 22000 (Approx 460 USD )
  • Lenovo S10 – Priced at INR 23000 (Approx 480 USD )

As you can see there was much competition in the price points too – after all we are all so very price conscious. The stores didn’t have any in-house discounts or frills thrown in for any of these models, but the company’s did have a few optional whistles on offer. Here’s my review of each of these models.

HCL MiLeap : It comes with the following features (specifications):HCL Mileap Series

  • A modest 7" TFT touch screen.
  • Runs on the older 800 MHz Intel A110 Processor which comes with 512 KB L2 Cache and 400 MHz Front Side Bus.
  • Has the Mobile Intel 945GU (ultra low voltage) Express Chipset Motherboard.
  • Like the rest it comes with 1-GB DDR2 533 MHz SDRAM (You can Max it upto 2 GB in 2 slots)
  • A moderate 80-GB 5400 rpm SATA hard disk
  • An integrated 1.3 MP Camera
  • Integrated WiFi 802.11a/b/g LAN connection
  • Integrated Bluetooth v2.0
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN connection
  • 4-in-1 Media Card Reader, Multimedia Card (MMC), Memory stick (MS), Secure Digital Card, MS-PRO
  • It can be converted into a Tablet with Touch Screen also has a Stylus Pen.
  • Comes pre-installed with Windows XP Home
  • Weighs only 960 Grams
  • 2 USB v2.0 ports
  • Touchpad with 2 button
  • Build-in Stereo 2 stereo speaker system 1.5 Watts each
  • Built-in Microphone

HCL Mileap But what set me off was the very poor built quality. It is very plasticky and I really doubt if it will last a year or so with regular use. NetBooks are mean’t to be more rugged as they are mostly used on the move. So HCL MiLeap quicky went off my list though the price was pretty tempting – but the older ATOM processor on board, 80GB Hard Disk and the 7” screen was surely a downer. Also, I had lots of concerns with the touch screen – the demo piece at Croma was just filled with finger smudges and also the OS was already corrupted.

 

Wipro e90 Wipro e-go Atom : This was next on my list and had pretty decent features(specifications) as follows :

  • Runs on the new Intel Atom N270 processor which packs in 1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB and a good 512 KB L2 cache.
  • This too has the Mobile Intel 945GSE Express Chipset.
  • Has a very good 10" WSVGA high-brightness LED Backlit screen.
  • Has a 1-GB DDR2 533 MHz SDRAM.
  • A good 160GB hard disk
  • Integrated WiFi 802.11a/b/g LAN connection
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN connection
  • Media Card Reader which natively supports Secure Digital (SD) Card, MultiMediaCard (MMC), Reduced-Size Multimedia Card (RS-MMC), Memory Stick (MS), Memory Stick PRO (MS PRO) and xD-Picture Card (xD)
  • Upto 3-hour battery life with a 6-cell Lithium-ion battery pack
  • Comes pre-installed with Windows XP Home
  • Weighs 1.26 kgs
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • An integrated 1.3 MP Camera
  • Touchpad with 2 button
  • Build-in Stereo speakers
  • Built-in Microphone

Wipro e90 2 First things first, this is simply a wonderful NetBook – it comes packed with features. The look and build quality is very good. There are even some very crazy or eye-turner colours like a bright splash of Yellow (sure it’ll turn a few eyes). A very decent 160GB Hard Disk that must be quite sufficient for the data on the move. But, I was very skeptical that though this machine came with a 6cell li-ion battery – it is claimed to last only 3+ hours, not sure why? One downer is that there is NO integrated Bluetooth which is finding good use atleast with me – I can easily pair and transfer files from most mobiles and lappy’s.

Another good feature was that it had a LED Backlit screen which displays very crystal clear images(You must see to believe it). But the processor was N270 while there are competitors with N280 though they have an added 0.6GHz of higher speed – but it surely does matter on the move when processing power is at a premium. The price seems good too.

 

lenovo S10 Lenovo S10 : The specs of the Lenovo S10 are pretty cool and are as follows :

  • Has the new Intel Atom N270 processor which has the same 1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB and 512 KB L2 cache.
  • This too has the Mobile Intel 945GSE Express Chipset.
  • Has a very good 10" WSVGA TFT screen.
  • Has a 1 GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz.
  • A good 160GB (5400 rpm) hard disk
  • Integrated WiFi 802.11a/b/g LAN connection
  • Integrated Bluetooth
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN connection
  • 4-in-1 card reader slot (SD/MMC/MS/MS pro)
  • Only a 3-cell Lithium-ion battery pack
  • Comes pre-installed with Windows XP Home
  • Weighs 1.25 kgs
  • Only two USB 2.0 ports
  • An integrated 1.3 MP Camera
  • Touchpad with 2 button
  • Build-in Stereo speakers
  • Built-in Microphone
  • Has a added feature of an express card slot

The Lenovo looks very sleek and has most of the features you need. Packs in also an Express Card Slot which maynot be really very useful currently. You don’t currently get that many devices that will plug into the Express Slot and moreover what else do you need coz it’s got almost all the essentials integrated. Also, it comes with the Face Recognition Software for unlocking the machine – kinda cool but do you really need it on a netBook?

The downer was as usual the N270 Atom processor so also the price, also it didn’t come with a LED display and sports the TFT screen. Also, has only the 3-cell li-ion pack.

Acer Aspire One AOD250 : The Acer Aspire One AOD250 is well built, well and are as follows :Acer Aspire One D250

  • Runs on the most advanced and latest Intel Atom processor N280 which boasts of 1.66 GHz processing speed, 667 MHz FSB and also 512 KB L2 cache.
  • This too has the Mobile Intel 945GSE Express Chipset.
  • Has a superb 10.1" SD 1024 x 600 (WSVGA) pixel resolution, high-brightness (200-nit) Acer CrystalBrite LED-backlit TFT LCD.
  • Has a 1-GB DDR2 SDRAM .
  • A good 160GB hard disk
  • Integrated WiFi 802.11 a/b/g LAN connection
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN connection
  • Multi-in-1 card reader
  • Upto a whooping 7-8 hours battery life with the standard 6-cell Lithium-ion battery pack
  • Comes pre-installed with Windows XP Home
  • Weighs 1.27 kgs
  • Three USB 2.0 ports
  • An integrated 0.3 MP Camera
  • Has a Multi-touch(found in high-end Laptops) Touchpad with 2 button
  • Two built-in stereo speakers
  • Built-in Microphone
  • Integrated Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR (Enhanced Data Rate)
    Acer Aspire One D250 Red and Blue

This is one hell of a beast I must say – has the latest N280 processor, a 160GB HDD and what makes it stand out from the crowd is the 7-8 hours of seamless battery backup that it offers via a 6-cell lithium ion Battery pack. The multi-touch keypad that supports gestures is also a very good added feature – this helps you easily scroll webpages / documents, also you can easily zoom or shrink an image with a pinch gesture.

The Back-Lit LED display serves two purposes – one, it provides very stunning image quality that is in par to high end HD televisions and secondly, having an LED display saves a whole lot of power and also the life of the screen is considerably increased.

The Final Verdict :

So, as I said before – the NetBook market is currently spoilt for choice. You have just so many options and all of them revolving around the same processor’s (N270 or N280) and the identical MotherBoard and very similar RAM , HDD features. So, in the end you need to make a choice of “Value For Money”. I found the Acer Aspire One D250 to be more of a value for money and also it fulfilled all my needs perfectly.

I got a Acer Aspire One D250 “Sunset Red”, coz as the official website says

Red is a heartbeat, the color of determination, passion and of a fiery soul.

So, it very much speaks for itself and my passion for blogging. As you might have already observed – the number of blog posts and the frequency has already begun to increase. Will keep you folks posted on updates as I use more of the NetBook on the move than my Monster Desktop.

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