Netbooks based on Intel's Pine Trail Atom chips are now available, and the Acer Aspire One 532h is Acer's latest offering based on the new Atom chip.
Not only is the Acer Aspire One 532h slimmer and trimmer compared to the Acer Aspire One D250, has a near-full sized keyboard, but it's also significantly cheaper than some of its 10in competitors.
Compared to the earlier Aspire One D150 and D250 netbooks, which had a strong glossy blue screen lid, the Acer Aspire One 532h has a smooth gradient of glossy metallic blue and black on its screen lid. It definitely makes the Aspire One 532h look more refined. However, the glossy exterior is a fingerprint magnet.
The interior palmrest, keyboard and bezel are washed in black. Another notable feature of the Acer Aspire One 532h is its keyboard which bears the exact same sized keys and layout (FineTip) as found on the Aspire One 751h. It's great for typing, once you tune into the smaller form factor, and it's definitely better than the MSI Wind U135's keyboard. The Aspire One 532h is also slightly slimmer compared to the Wind U135 (and previous Aspire One models), as its battery compartment is smaller and doesn't protrude. But both netbooks weigh 1.3kg each.
Acer bundles in a strapless carry bag for the Acer Aspire One 532h. It has a standard 10.1in LED backlit glossy screen which supports a screen resolution of 1024x600 pixels, with a 1.3Mp webcam recessed on the top bezel. Internally, the most notable hardware change is the new Intel Atom N450 processor, clocked at 1.66GHz. Complementing the processor is 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 160GB (5400rpm) hard drive, and Intel's GMA 3150 graphics adaptor (which is slightly better than the older Intel GMA 500).
It has the standard fare of three USB ports, multicard reader, audio jacks, and VGA-out port. But it lacks both Draft-N Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity - however it does bundle in Bluetooth. The Acer Aspire One 532h comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition. The netbook has very good build quality and is very well balanced - the MSI Wind U135 is slightly top-heavy in comparison.
Performance numbers on the Acer Aspire One 532h are better compared to Intel Atom Z520-based 11.6in netbooks, but not significantly different from the MSI Wind U135 or the older Intel Atom N280-based Asus Eee PC 1000HE netbook, in terms of WorldBench 6 or PC Mark 05 scores. However, 3D Mark 06 score was slightly better on the Aspire One 532h in comparison to the MSI Wind U135 or Eee PC 1000HE.
The distinguishing factor on the Acer Aspire One 532h remains that it can play 720p HD videos without a hitch, a feat unmatched by the MSI Wind U135 (which runs on Windows 7), Asus Eee PC 1000HE, or the large-screen netbooks. We had no trouble multitasking on the Acer Aspire One 532h while browsing the net on Firefox, listening to some music, and working on a productivity suite.
The FineTip keyboard on the Acer Aspire One 532h is much better for typing compared to other chiclet-styled keyboards found on netbooks from MSI, Sony, or Toshiba. The Alphanumeric keys, Space bar, Enter, Shift, Control, and Alt keys are appropriately placed and sized. The touchpad has a textured grid which gives optimum feedback while trying to navigate or scroll the mouse on screen. Its multi-gesture support works like a charm to zoom into or rotate images and scroll through long web pages. Its 10in LED backlit screen is equally good for watching movies or reading text, and offers decent viewing angles for a netbook. Audio from the onboard speakers, hidden beneath the front edge, is pretty good - and slightly better than the MSI Wind U135 netbook.
Battery life from the Acer Aspire One 532h's six-cell battery was very good at 4 hours 29 minutes in our benchmarks (at maximum screen brightness and high performance preset). Expect close to 8 hours of real-world usage from a single charge, while you're surfing the net over Wi-Fi.
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