We love it when a company sees fit to shake things up a little and cook up some crazy new design. The Acer Aspire One AOD150 is not that netbook.

In fact, many of the changes made from the original Acer Aspire One make the Acer Aspire One AOD150 seem more like everything else on the market. And that isn't necessarily a good thing.

Seem a little harsh? Let's put this in perspective: the original, 8.9in screen model packed a huge keyboard onto a fairly tiny frame. That keyboard was practically dripping over the sides and we were genuinely impressed for the effort. Here, with the Acer Aspire One AOD150's new 10.1in screen (which looks great), we'd expect a little more room to work with. Instead, you get the same still-short-of-full-size keyboard. It's not tiny, but Acer could've made an effort to space out the buttons a little more.

The next big switchup is the Acer Aspire One AOD150's touchpad. At first glance, we were ready to dance a jig because the left and right buttons flanking the touchpad surface are gone. Just a single, simple mouse button bar.

In and of itself, this is not necessarily a bad thing. But then we tried using it. Exerting a shaolin monk's concentration, you need to really want to hit that button in order to get it working. With very little give, it's hard to know when you've made contact and the way that it's recessed into the wrist rest makes the Acer Aspire One AOD150's trackpad a little more difficult to use than the mouse on the first Aspire One.

At least the new touchpad has a multitouch functionality, so that scrolling and browsing is a little less headache-inducing with the Acer Aspire One AOD150.

The only other change for the (slightly) worse is the Acer Aspire One AOD150 ditches the original's second SDHC Card slot. Not a major problem, because this machine has a reasonably large 160GB hard disk drive.

Now, back to the Acer Aspire One AOD150's 10.1in display: we really do love this 1024-by-600-pixel screen. It's crisp, with good colour reproduction and, quite frankly, it feels like this machine was built around the gorgeous screen. Its dimensions are relatively slim (one thing that hasn't changed too much from the original) measuring 259x203x33mm. That makes it slighter than comparable netbooks with a 10.1in screen. The Aspire One is also very solidly constructed, ready to get knocked around in a bag.

The second-generation Acer Aspire One AOD150's performance is in line with what we'd expect from its components: 1GB of RAM and a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU. It achieved a score of 35 in our PC WorldBench 6 tests, an average score based on what we've seen with this configuration in other netbooks.

NEXT PAGE: bonkers battery, and bundled software >>

We love it when a company sees fit to shake things up a little and cook up some crazy new design. The Acer Aspire One AOD150 is not that netbook.

One thing that isn't quite standard is the battery that came with our Acer Aspire One AOD150. Our test unit arrived with a 5800mAH battery. Don't get too excited, though: this battery will not be a standard config. The standard configuration usually comes with a 6-cell 4400mAH battery. Usually.

Here's where it gets goofy: according to a spokesperson, in the hurry to get units to store shelves, some of the machines shipped with higher-powered batteries, instead of the standard. It's like some kind of Willy Wonka move, but instead of a golden ticket, you have a chance you'll get a better battery and not get charged for it.

If you get lucky, you'll be thrilled: on our Test Centre's battery life test, the Aspire One lasts an amazing eight hours, 34 minutes with the supercharged battery. Since the odds are more likely you'll get the 4400mAH power, though, we aren't posting a proper score yet until we've fully tested the standard battery, too.

The software on the Acer Aspire One AOD150 is fairly minimal. The only things of note here are a 30-day trial for an online backup solution (my advice, Acer: check out what Asus is doing - its netbook comes with 10GB of free online storage for 18 months) and eSobi, a news and RSS feed reader.

Not much else has changed, though, between the two Aspire One models. The ports are the same: three USB 2.0 ports, VGA out, ethernet jack, webcam and microphone... it even has a similar price tag. And honestly, we think a good chunk of that money went into the screen. It shows. But at the end of the day, we feel like the Aspire One moved on, but we're not 100 percent sold that the developers have taken these guys in the right direction.

PCWorld.com

Acer Aspire One AOD150: Specs

  • Intel Atom N280
  • Windows XP Home
  • 1GB RAM
  • 160GB hard disk
  • 10.1in WSVGA TFT LCD, 1024 x 600
  • Intel 954GSE chipset
  • 10/100Mb ethernet
  • 802.11b/g
  • 3 USB ports
  • 0.3Mp camera
  • 6-cell 4400mAH battery
  • 1-year warranty
  • 1.18kg
  • 5-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, MS, MS PRO, xD)
  • VGA out, Headphone/speaker/line-out jack, Microphone-in jack
  • 259x203x33mm
  • Intel Atom N280
  • Windows XP Home
  • 1GB RAM
  • 160GB hard disk
  • 10.1in WSVGA TFT LCD, 1024 x 600
  • Intel 954GSE chipset
  • 10/100Mb ethernet
  • 802.11b/g
  • 3 USB ports
  • 0.3Mp camera
  • 6-cell 4400mAH battery
  • 1-year warranty
  • 1.18kg
  • 5-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, MS, MS PRO, xD)
  • VGA out, Headphone/speaker/line-out jack, Microphone-in jack
  • 259x203x33mm

OUR VERDICT

The Acer Aspire One AOD150 has some strong points, but even better netbooks are on the market now, and more are on the way.

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