16 January 2009

Evaluating the Acer Aspire One

My Acer Aspire One arrived Wednesday afternoon. The box was unbelievably small...so small I thought there was no way a computer was IN there! It's cute as a bug's ear, but how did I end up with one?

I've been looking for an extremely portable and, dare I say, throw away solution for high school journalism students. I am currently advising the yearbook staff at the high school where I teach and I've found that sometimes students would do a little better if they had a laptop with them while on assignments. We do have 15 HP laptops, but they are high end. If they get dropped, they will die. If they get stolen because of carelessness, I can't replace them. However, if students had a netbook they could easily take it with them and a loss, while I certainly don't want that, would not be financially devastating for any of the parties involved.

I learned about the Acer America's Seed Unit Program from Richard Bryne's blog Free Technology for Teachers. Basically, Acer wants their netbooks in schools, so they are allowing schools and their techie folk to try them out for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, one has the option to purchase the computer at a discount. I decided to see if I could get one. I was contacted by phone within two days and had the computer in four more days after that. Pretty impressive!

The model is no slouch with and Intel Atom processor, 1 GB DDR2 RAM and a 160 GB hard drive. It runs Windows XP Home and has an 8.9" CrystalBrite screen (the kind that just loves fingerprints). Setting it up on the home wireless network was pretty easy and the battery life is fabulous. It's small enough and light enough that I can just drop it in my bag and carry it with me wherever.

Over the next month, I'll be writing more about my first experience with a netbook. I'm looking forward to it.