I bought my first laptop the other day, even though I suppose it would be considered a net-book. After some research and a bit of shopping I decided on the AO532H. The details: $299 CND from Bureau en Gros/Staples
- N450 Atom Processor
- 1GB Ram
- 160GB SATA
- Wifi N
- 10.1 screen, Video: GMA3150
- 3-Cell battery (2200)
My First Impressions: It comes with Windows 7 Starter and a funk load of Acer software and other junk to make your day frustrating. I can not say I expected much less from any company–they like to load on lots of software that probably offsets the cheap price of making the hardware. Unfortunately most of it is bloatware and really isn’t needed. Here’s what I have done so far:
- Uninstall all the extra Acer, McFee, and un-needed software from Windows.
- Re-partitioning the hard-drive to accommodate a Ubuntu install.
- Installing RAM upgrade
- Installing software I use: Foxit, Google Chrome, iTunes
- Adding Ubuntu netbook Remix as dual-boot.
- Adding my music and video library
It was pretty painless. I like the chiclet-keyboard and the track-pad. Unlike most laptops I do find myself hitting the mouse pad occasionally when typing which would be a given on any netbook. Unfortunately the 3-Cell battery is a drawback, I have seen online versions of this laptop selling with the 6-cell that offers 8 hours of battery life, but they were a little more pricey, but it would be worth the investment. Since I did not pay shipping the final price here in Quebec worked out to be around $330.
A new battery is going to run me close to $100 for sure, add another $60 for a 2GB stick of RAM and I’ll end of having paid $550 or so with accessories. This model came out in January, and finding details on accessories had been tricky. Even Acer’s own web site does not give specifics to the hardware upgrades and pieces used.
The battery upgrade has been harder to find and will probably have to wait until next month anyway. The feel and weight to this thing is great, probably the lightest netbook, especially with a 3-cell on board. As you will find on some reviews it is prone to smudges on the glossy black surfaces, but mine has a grey body and I would recommend that if you do not like finger prints.
There seems to be some confusion on just how upgradable this netbook is. So far I have successfully upgraded it to 2GB, although Acer’s own web site now lists the 532H as having a Maximum of 1GB. There is also a mini PCI-E slot next to the hard-drive which would accommodate any 2″x 1″ piece of hardware. There are a few 3G/Bluetooth cards that could go here, an interesting prospect would be the Broadcom Crystal HD card that would should enough this to play HD video content.
I’ll keep writing about it as I find reasons too. Overall I’m happy with the basic machine, though if you can afford another $100 go with a 6-Cell for sure. It will save you the hassle of finding one down the road. Honestly netbooks need 10 hours of battery life to make them really useful. I tend to carry mine everywhere and tend to only get 2h30min+ on the battery, which isn’t much at all for web surfing and listening to music.