Acer Aspire One Happy – In-depth Review

AT A GLANCE

  •  Dual-core Intel Atom N550
  •  10.1 inch backlit LED screen
  • WiFi
  •  2GB memory
  • Available in a range of four happy colours

Girly Factor

Those colours! Candy Pink … Lime Green … Lavender … Hawaii Blue. The names alone are enough to boost your happiness quotient. It is a very, very pretty machine, in either the open or the closed position. It is also highly portable – both small enough and light enough (at 1.25kg) to fit comfortably into your fashionably oversized handbag.

So what’s up with the two operating systems?

This is where my enthusiasm takes a little dip. The Acer Aspire One Happy can boot up either to Windows 7 or to Android 2.1, or to both simultaneously. I have tried and failed to see the point of this. I know enough about Android to realise that it has proved to be a highly attractive operating system for smart phones, keeping the rest of the industry on its toes. It is, however, brand new as an operating system for netbooks.

Android 2.1 feels as though it is still in a prototype or beta phase. I found it irritating and clunky to use. There were several functions that could only be activated with the keyboard and not with the pointer, suggesting that this system is still geared for a touchscreen.

So was it just my rogue XX-chromosome that prevented me from appreciating the full beauty of Android 2.1? A quick scan of the literature revealed not a single reviewer who had a good word to say about it as an operating system for netbooks. So it’s not just me.

Only when I disabled Android 2.1 and worked solely on Windows 7 could I start to see the Happy as a fairly decent netbook.

So enough with the moaning. What’s good about it?

The keypad, trackpad and hand-rest areas are extremely comfortable and pleasant to use. My regular laptop is an Acer and I’m a big fan of their broad, well-spaced keys, and satisfying click response. The trackpad has a single integrated button that rocks to left and right.

The battery life is far more than adequate. It is advertised as 8 hours and I got close to that with light, home use. A battery-draining programme will apparently run it flat in just under 5 hours. I consider that very impressive, especially considering how thin and lightweight the Happy is.

Oh, and did I mention the colours? They really are extremely happy.

Turn ons: 

  • Available in a range of four colours
  •   Attractive, stylish design
  •   Close to 8 hours battery life
  •  Slim and lightweight
  •  Fast and responsive on Windows 7
  •  Comfortable keyboard / trackpad combination

Turn offs:

  •  Android 2.1 is not a good netbook operating system
  •  Android 2.1 and Windows 7 make for an uneasy marriage
  •  Using Android 2.1 slows the response time of most functions

Score:

  • 2/5 (running on Android)
  • 4/5 (running on Windows 7)

Price: R5000.00

About the author  ⁄ Fiona Snyckers

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