Home > articles > #9: Acer Aspire One AOD255-1134 10.1-Inch Netbook (Ruby Red)

#9: Acer Aspire One AOD255-1134 10.1-Inch Netbook (Ruby Red)

Acer Aspire One AOD255-1134 10.1-Inch Netbook (Ruby Red)

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars My first netbook, and it’s a great one!, November 7, 2010 For the past few years, I’ve been using a Macbook pro as my main ‘laptop’. I’m going to be abroad for a month, so I decided I wanted to buy a nice little netbook that would be both more portable than the MacBook and also a lot cheaper in case it were to get stolen, lost, or damaged. After doing quite a bit of research (via Amazon reviews), I finally decided that this was my best choice. It was released in October 2010, so at the moment it is the newest netbook I could find for sale on Amazon. For the price, it’s great! Most other netbooks with the Intel N550 dual core processor are going for closer to four-hundred!

As for the unit itself, it’s my first netbook so I was really pleasantly surprised by how small and light it was. If you’ve owned a netbook before, it’s probably the same size/weight as what you’re used to. Overall, the keyboard is great. It’s not as great as the backlit full-size keyboard on my MacBook, but it’s better than I expected, and my fingers are having no problems finding the right keys. Windows 7 starter is really all I’ll be needing for my needs, but I could definitely see where many people would want to upgrade (starter doesn’t even let you change your desktop background, what the heck!?)

For those of you looking to stay on a budget, I am using the unit as it comes from the manufacturer. I did not upgrade the RAM. In my opinion, the computer actually does run pretty fast even with only 1GB of RAM. I wouldn’t expect to run a large program like photoshop, but for what most people will use the computer for, it’s screaming fast, assuming you take an hour or so to un-install EVERYTHING they’ve included (you can safely uninstall anything “acer” even if it sounds important, Windows can function on it’s own without it, trust me). The 6-cell battery is great, I’ve been browsing the web for 6 hours on my first full charge, and Windows claims I still have 55 minutes left- that’s actually pretty close to the rated value of 8-hours!

If you have any specific questions about this netbook, feel free to leave a comment on the review and I will get back to you as soon as I can. I’ll try to update this review if anything changes, and again in a few months if I see a newer or better model available.

UPDATE 12/21/10:
Since I posted this review I’ve gotten a lot of questions in the comments. I’m gad to keep answering them, but there are some that I’ve gotten a bunch of times so I’m going to post them here…
Q: How do I install Microsoft Office (or anything requiring a CD) when the netbook has no CD drive?
A: Yes, no optical drive means no CD drive, and yes that’s commonplace in ann netbooks. There are a couple ways to get around this problem. For me, the easiest is to buy your software digitally and download it. If you want to install software you’ve already purchased, I’d suggest downloading a trial version from the manufacturer and using your already purchased CD-key to activate the software. This works, is legal, and is easier than other methods (in my opinion).

Q: What version of office is pre-installed?
A: Office starter 2010. It’s not something you can buy or download, but it’s something that a manufacturer can elect to install in the factory for free. It gives you full (ok ‘basically full’) versions of word and excel 2010. If you need powerpoint you’ll have to pay.

Q: Can I install more RAM?
A: I’m don’t think so, but this has been answered two ways by different people. Yes, you CAN install a second gig, but I’ve heard that Windows 7 starter will only accept 1GB, so you’d have to spend at least $80 to upgrade your OS. Secondly as I said in the review 1GB ram works perfectly on this machine. Typically I’m a RAM freak (my desktop has 8GB ddr3 ram), but in this case, seriously, 1gb is fine. Any more and you’ll still be held back by the processor.

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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Best Netbook Yet, Short of the New Macbook Air 11.6″, December 9, 2010 I’ve been a big fan of netbooks since I first got one a couple of years back. What a liberating feeling to be able to carry a really small, really useful computer along on a vacation or light business trip (computer used for recreation, not work).

While I prefer an 11.6″ screen, which won’t cut off the bottom of some poorly designed web pages (I had a dickens of a time trying to sign up the first time on a new installation of iTunes, it has the necessary check boxes out of reach on the bottom of the page with no scroll options), it seems there is an impasse between netbook manufacturers and Intel and Microsoft – in a nutshell, Intel will sell Atom processors pretty cheap and MS will sell Win 7 Starter (plenty serviceable) really cheap but ONLY if the set up is limited to 1gb of RAM and 10.1″ of screen. At least the makers of these devices have crept the hard disk size up from 160 gb to 250 gb (for the most part).

This Acer has a glossy screen with brighter colors and contrast than my HP Mini 210, a better keyboard layout (dedicated Page Up/Page down buttons for a starter), and most importantly, Acer has been an early adopter of the recently released DUAL CORE Atom which is heads above the basic single core Atom.

I always thought the original Atom single core processors were “fast enough” but the Dual Core N550 in this model is REALLY zippy. Not that it makes much difference for web browsing (although sites that use a lot of Flash are notoriously processor intensive), but it helps with other computer chores (like hard disk housekeeping, transferring files to an external hard drive, multi-tasking, keeping many browser windows open, etc.).

Given the approximately 50 dollar price premium for the N550 (in many cases compared to other makers more like a 30 dollar premium) it makes no sense to get the old single core N450/N455/N470/N475 Atoms).

So what is the netbook good for:

1. Web browsing, but not streaming video watching. Reading the NY Times on line. Shopping. Email. Blogging. Facebook.

2. Watching ripped or otherwise stored video content – a DVD via an external player, legally converted DVD content owned by you. No problem full screen at DVD resolution levels.

3. Watching Hulu online with the browser – not the Hulu content window – full screen. Other reviewers have reported running Hulu full screen but I can’t get stutter free playback full screen, and I am not running other applications except Microsoft Security Essentials (free and rated to have a very low background processor load). (Essentially this means I can actually watch Hulu in the Plus edition sharper on my iPod Touch than on this netbook, LOL.)

4. Ripping your CD’s to the internal hard disk, if you have an external reader (as low as 12 bucks for CD only, 30-45 for DVD play and dual level burn capability). A little slow compared to a desktop, but hey, read a book or watch TV while you shove ’em in and out.

5. Word processing.

and, most importantly for the traveler (esp. the out of country traveler),

6. Skype’ing home, using a regular set of music earphones and the built-in speaker.

Note that this netbook does NOT include Bluetooth. I have never used Bluetooth with a netbook, but the thought of using it to walk around my hotel room instead of being tethered by the netbook is kind of appealing. (You can always add Bluetooth for about 12 bucks with a micro dongle: IOGear USB 2.1 Bluetooth Micro Adapter GBU421 ).

The built-in speakers (or single speaker? can’t tell) are pretty good and the sound comes out of a full-width grill just under the front of the keyboard.

I can offer some recommendations for your set up should you choose to get this Acer:

A. You don’t need any accessories except maybe one of those zippered, semi-snug fitting, Neoprene cases. Shop here at Amazon or visit Target but don’t pay more than 10-20 for one. This one on Amazon looks good Belkin F8N132-BLK 10.2-Inch Neoprene Sleeve (Pitch Black/Pitch Black) (Belkin is good brand; I also like the Built Built E-LS15-D07 13-15 Inch Laptop Sleeve (Dot No. 7) and HP HP NF869AA Mini Notebook Sleeve zip neoprene cases). Trust me, you need a Neoprene case because (i) most laptop slots are too large for a netbook and it will slide around inside and (ii) the TSA, despite their top-level rules and policies, still requires netbook removal through security and a Neoprene pouch comes in handy to protect the netbook. [Post Christmas update: The BEST netbook neoprene sleeve is Amazon’s own Basics brand: AmazonBasics Netbook Bag with Handle, Fits 7- to 10-Inch Netbooks, iPad (Black) and the sub 12 dollar price – as of this review date – can’t be beat.]

B. You don’t have to shop for a more efficient (less bulky) external power 110 volt cord since the adapter plugs right into the wall and the cord coming off it is a thin and light low voltage/low amps power cord. (You also don’t need an international power converter since the power brick can take any standard international voltage; you may need a local “plug” adapter of course).

C. You don’t have to shop for more memory since there are no significant performance improvements if you add it.

D. You don’t need Win 7 Home Premium; it’s just cosmetic bells and whistles for the most part. Win 7 Starter is the lean and mean operating system that Win XP used to be, but brought into the 21st century, and is even faster (imho) than Linux.

E. You don’t NEED an external DVD player, especially if you burn your disks on your desktop machine. IF you want to get one, this brand new model from Samsung is cheap and can be used directly as a player on a TV with USB input: Samsung USB 2.0 8x DVD Writer External Optical Drive for Mac and PC SE-S084D/TSBS (Gloss Black); I have the last model of this player and have this new one on order. It can write to dual layer DVD’s according to it’s specs, which makes backups a lot easier.

F. A 16gb (the sweet price/capacity spot) SD card or USB thumb drive is very useful for transferring files from desktop to netbook and vice versa. You may have an older, lower capacity SD card from a camera you can recyle here. I strongly recommend an SD card over a thumb drive, if you are going to buy one, since it won’t stick out as far from the side of the netbook case and is thus less likely to be torqued accidentally. Prices these days for an SD card by itself or a MicroSD card WITH the necessary adapter for use in the full-sized slot on this machine are so close that I recommend getting the MicroSD card, with adapter, so you can use it in more devices. (I broke my own rule by getting two 8gb Kingstons MicroSD’s Kingston 8 GB microSDHC Class 4 Flash Memory Card SDC4/8GB so I could use one – in its “micro” state – for my music collection in a SanDisk Clip+ player.) I don’t recommend buying anything less than 4gb these days, the price difference with 2gb sticks are so low these days it doesn’t make sense.

G. You don’t need a second battery. Battery life is INSANE on netbooks, even on this dual core Atom (Intel JUST came out with this N550 which is designed for netbook, not nettop, use, it only consumes a bit more power than their single-core Atom).

H. Yes, replace McAffee (slows the machine down) with FREE Avira or FREE Microsoft Security Essentials.

I. Consider VLC as your personal video player. It handles more formats than Windows Media Player. Consider WINAmp as your music player if you encode your music in OGG Vorbis (Windows Media Player is a VERY user friendly experience if you want to encode in MP3 or Window’s own WMA).

J. YES, you can run iTunes on this. That’s great. Linux can’t, Android can’t.

So you see, this fine netbook is as defined by what you DON’T need as by what might be helpful. If it’s Christmas, buy one for yourself and have fun setting it up while the kids are playing Angry Birds on their new iPod Touches….

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Gorgeous., November 10, 2010 This product is very esthetically pleasing,The Sandstone finish has a very classy clean look.
The performance of this product with the windows 7 starter was good,7 Starter is a great choice for people that arnt fussy with there themes or backgrounds,Basic starter doesnt give the ability to change backgrounds or color themes.
There are softwares available that can do this for windows 7 starter.
Multi tasking on this is terrific,I can play a 720p video with vlc player and still surf the web without a hickup.
I did need to change a setting in vlc player to do this,But it was quite simple.

I installed Ubuntu on this with no major issues,It didnt read the wifi card at first,But after updates and installing the driver with the Ubuntu driver tool ,everything works and it was quite easy to do.
In Linux i can open two movies,,Thats rite 2 movies,Play solitaire and stream a youtube video on this.
For a netbook,Thats quite impressive.

Since i should post a fault or two,,My gripes would be that this is powerful enough for a full windows 7,,The Starter works well,But full 7 would just be better.

To replace or upgrade ram isnt simple as removing a cover,There are 4 screws under keyboard,Then a hole to pop back panel off,,Not exactly hard to do,But not as easy as most.

The ddr3 1 gig of ram is definitely enough ,But im a power hungry guy,So i installed a 2gig stick.
This is my 4th netbook and arguably my best.

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