My New Netbook: Acer Aspire One

So, I’ve been sort of stalking this particular model of netbook for a while now – the Acer Aspire One AOD-150. It had everything I was after:

  • 10.1 inch screen
  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU
  • Webcam
  • A good keyboard (perhaps one of the most important factors when buying a netbook)
  • Good battery life (when you get the 6-cell battery)

So when I saw it on sale recently over at Newegg, I swooped in and bought it.

Well, it just arrived yesterday, and I spent some time setting it up – of course, even though it’s brand new, it still needs to spend a few hours downloading updates, and of course I have to pull out all of the stupid “bundleware” that comes with computers these days.

Of course, the hardest part about getting a new computer for me is just choosing a name for it. Long-time readers here will remember me prattling on about my old computers – and of course you’ll see there’s sort of a “theme” to the names I give my computers.

I was at a loss as to what to name my new netbook until I sat down with it and suddenly it came to me: Ryo-Ohki. It just makes sense. The cute little netbook that is surprisingly powerful!

my new netbook - ryo-ohki

Oh, and I also split the hard drive into 2 partitions and installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix. It is quite possibly the sweetest little UI for a computer I’ve ever seen – like something out of the future. Anyway, it’s really, really nice.

What’s really amazing to me is how everything just works. I’ve used Linux before (back in the day – get off my lawn you young kids, etc.), but it always had a sort of… unfinished look to it. It never quite worked as well as Windows, especially with built-in stuff like, say, those crazy blue “function” (or “fn”) keys on laptops – you know, the ones that let you adjust the volume or the screen brightness.

Well, I can tell you right now that Linux has come a long way since then.

I didn’t have to do anything special to get Ubuntu up and running on this little netbook – and everything just works. The webcam works great, the sound is great, the volume and brightness controls work great, the wireless works out-of-the-box, the battery meeter works perfectly – even the little SD memory card reader on the side, which supposedly has some trouble on some models of the Acer Aspire, works fine – I put in my memory card and it read it right away. It even knew it was from a camera and offered to download pictures from it for me!

In short, these days, Linux really is a viable alternative to Windows, no questions asked.

Anyway – moving along – the little netbook is all set up today, happily purring along in either Linux or Windows. I kept Windows “just in case” I need it for something Windows-specific. After all, it’s got a fairly big hard drive, and I don’t plan on keeping huge amounts of files on the drive itself, so it just makes sense to split the drive and dual-boot. If I have any files, I’ll probably keep them on a USB drive or maybe a SD card I’ll just keep in it all the time (SD cards are cheap enough to make this a viable option).

So in the end, I’m quite happy with this netbook. The keyboard is small, but easy enough for me to type on comfortably (the right-hand shift key is full-sized and in the right spot – a major annoyance for me that I found on some other netbooks), and the touchpad, although small and a bit … touchy? … is actually easy enough to use once you get used to it.

So if you’re looking for a netbook, you could do far, far worse than to pick one of these Acer Aspire One’s up – and the price certainly is right!

By Keith Survell

Geek, professional programmer, amateur photographer, crazy rabbit guy, only slightly obsessed with cute things.