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Review Acer Aspire One D150 Netbook

The Emperor's new clothes.

Even though the Eee PC from Asus probably has the highest profile among the mini-notebooks, the title of the most sold netbooks goes to Acer with the Aspire One A110. With this however, the staff for the 10 inch follow-up model, the Aspire One D150, is set especially high. Particularly the competitors have lined up well with numerous models in the 10 inch category.

Acer Aspire One D150

With the title "Aspire One A110L ", Acer sent a netbook into the arena last summer which has helped the manufacturer to unpredictable growth rates. The "L" in the name referred to Linux as the operating system. With increasing circulation of the netbook the wish for a more common desktop also increased, to which Acer complied with the A110X configured with Windows XP.

Besides the somewhat refreshed version of the 9 inch netbook in form of the A150 (L or X), in which now a somewhat more voluminous hard disk and optionally also a UMTS module is found, Acer presented in the frame this year's Cebit in Hannover the Aspire One D150, a further netbook in a 10 inch format.
In the meantime Linux has been dismissed. The netbooks have moved far away from the original niche position, in which the tinkerer liked to take the Windows alternative. What now counts on the netbook market is exclusively the broad mass, and they obviously also want a bigger display.

Case

Acer decided to give the mini-notebook a new case with the change to the 10 inch format. Although the base unit turned out fairly flat, the Acer Aspire One D150 makes a comparatively big impression. The reasons for this are the immensely protruding battery out of the case as well as the rubber feet in the front area, which elevate the Aspire One far above the base.

Acer sets optically on a kind of "sandwich-design", meaning in a closed state the notebook shows itself completely in white while the insides, so the keyboard and the display casing, are kept in black. The display lid presents a glossy finished surface, which is surprisingly resistant to fingerprints and smudge. It looks different on the inside of the notebook on the black display casing. Every handling to adjust the viewing angle leaves its marks here.

Fortunately, the rest of the case surfaces were omitted from this high gloss finish. In the area of the wrist rests they even tried to imitate a brushed metal surface by means of a fine fluted structure. This works optically, but they can't hold a candle to real metal components, as they have been built in to Asus' current edition of the Eee PC (Eee 1002HA), from the feel. The whole case issues a more unsophisticated plastic flair, anyhow.

At least in regards to stability the chassis leaves nothing to be desired. The base unit, as well as the screen show an excellent winding stiffness and, above that, present themselves also particularly resistant against the effects of pressure impact. The Aspire One D150 can be picked up and carried around at all corners and edges without hesitation and without even the slightest creaking.

The display hinges have also turned out very exemplary. They don't only seem to be sturdy but they also hold the screen with a good amount of resistance in place but also allowing a readjusting of the opening angle with only one hand. As to the opening angle: This is restricted to approx. 140° which should lead to restrictions in use, though. The reason for this restriction is the protruding battery on the back side and for which a rubber lip has been fastened to the bottom edge of the display in order to prevent a thrashing when opening too recklessly.

Connectivity

The Acer Aspire One D150 bids not more and not less than what an average current netbook should have in regards to connectivity. A VGA-out for connecting an external monitor, a LAN connection, microphone and headphone socket and a total of 3 USB ports count to this. A multi-cardreader is also found in the D150.

The placement of the ports is quite alright, considering the reserved space available. Especially those placed in the back area of the side edges, the more permanently occupied ports, like power supply, VGA-out and LAN, have to be positively mentioned.

Front side: No connections
Front side: No connections
Left side: VGA, LAN, USB, audio ports, Multi-Cardreader
Left side: VGA, LAN, USB, audio ports, Multi-Cardreader
Back side: No connections
Back side: No connections
Right side: 2xUSB, power socket, Kensington Lock
Right side: 2xUSB, power socket, Kensington Lock

A module from Atheros (AR8121/AR8113/AR8114 PCI-E Ethernet Controller) takes care of the cabled network connection. The wireless unit also comes from Atheros (Atheros AR5007EG Wireless Network Adapter) and supports the common standard 802.11b/g.
The availability of Bluetooth depends on the chosen model. If it's at all present, Acer uses a Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) module.
According to Acer the D150 should also become available with a UMTS/HSDPA module. Up till now there aren't any such models available.

Acer shows themselves a bit stingy when it comes to the granted basis warranty. This is ex-factory merely 12 months, but for that an international protection is included. The guaranty can be extended to up to three years, though. The Acer Advantage warranty extension for 36 months required for this adds up to about 40.00 Euros and can be therefore almost called a deal.

Input Devices

The keyboard turns out more generous than in many 9 inch devices but in comparison to the most renowned 10 inch netbook competitors, the Acer Aspire One has the smallest keys. The offered figure keys turn out slightly smaller than those of the Asus Eee PC 1002HA (17x16mm) and even considerably smaller than those in the Samsung NC10 (17x17mm), measuring 16.15 millimeters.

In the practical test a fairly acceptable text input was still possible but it took a certain amount of accommodation time to get the inevitably high error rate in the beginning under control.
The typing feel was characterized with a more slight pressure resistance of the keys and a palpable, almost seemingly jerky pressure point. It was also obvious that the keyboard let itself be partly pushed in, which didn't further affect the use of the notebook in a negative way.

The offered touchpad of the netbook couldn't really convince. On the one hand, the surface of the mobile mouse substitute could be a bit more gliding-eager and on the other the correlating key bar didn't offer any typing comfort what so ever – completely barring of the creaking noises at pressing the key. The narrow key was hard to hit and needs a very high pressure in order to react. There is also a dead zone in the middle of the key bar. To use the pad with only one hand proved to be difficult if not impossible. Actually, we reached for an external mouse very quickly in the run of the tests in order to dodge any further ordeals…

Touchpad
Acer Aspire One D150 Touchpad
Keyboard
Acer Aspire One D150 Keyboard

Display

The 10.1 inch WSVGA display bids, with a resolution of 1024x600 pixels, the netbook typical desktop. For simple office applications and surfing in the internet this suffices but you have to chum up with having to scroll a lot, particularly in the vertical area. In the meantime, many websites, as well as applications are intended for the common 1280x800 WXGA format, making it hard for netbooks to a part.

We could surprisingly top Acer's stated 180-nit display brightness in our tests. Our test sample of the Aspire One gave a maximum of 239 cd/m2 in the brightness test. The netbook cut off most excellently in view of illumination as well: 90.8%.

227
cd/m²
225
cd/m²
225
cd/m²
226
cd/m²
226
cd/m²
217
cd/m²
239
cd/m²
229
cd/m²
223
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 239 cd/m²
Average: 226.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Black: 1.51 cd/m²
Contrast: 150:1

The built in screen showed, beside these excellent determined results, also weak points. One of them is the only mediocre contrast of the display. With a black value of 1.51 cd/m2 the, according to Acer, "high resolution" screen reached a maximum contrast of 158:1.

The reflective "Acer CrystalBrite" display also can't be counted as a strong point. In adverse light conditions, as they are especially unavoidable at outdoor use, glossy display surfaces are the cause of strong reflections. Especially for mobile netbooks, with which you would like to be on the go in public transportation or simply want to surf a bit in the next park, this is a significant disadvantage in our opinion.

In regards to the viewing angle stability, the WSVGA doesn't present itself very generous particularly in the vertical field. Image distortions have to be counted with already at a slight deflection from the optimum, perpendicular viewing angle. You have to struggle mainly with increasing reflections in the horizontal viewing area.

Performance

The newest edition of the Intel Atom CPU, which has been developed especially for netbooks, has made it into the Acer Aspire One D150. The Intel Atom N280 chip has a Front Side Bus of 667 MHz (N270 – 553 MHz), 512 KB L2 cache and has a clock rate of 1.66 GHz. Therefore it's more efficient than the forerunner chip, the N270.

The integrated Intel GMA 950 graphic chip set, which is also used in most netbooks of the competitors, takes care of the graphic needs. An advantage of this graphic solution is primarily the low energy consumption with a maximum of up to 7 watts. The cooling load of the chip turn out equally low, which is particularly good for compact netbooks.

A minimal advantage of the Intel Atom N280 CPU in comparison to other models with the N270 CPU and GMA 950 graphic shows itself in the 3D Mark 2001 benchmark test. The N280 chip can note an increase of approx. 5% in the CPU-heavy 3D Mark 2001.

3D Mark 2001
3D Mark 2001

There can also be a right passable performance increase in comparison to the N270 chip in the Cinebench R10 benchmark noted. The new Atom chip can improve itself considerably, particularly in the Single-Core Rendering test. This is an increase of, believe it or not, 100% with 567 points. In return the result in the OpenGL Shading test stays behind the expectations.

Cinebench R10
Cinebench R10

The result in the SiSoft Sandra CPU Arithmetic benchmark test and the performance at SuperPi (calculation of Pi) confirms the executed performance increase. Slight increases of the Dhrystone and Whetstone results are confronted with a considerable computing time reduction in the SuperPi benchmark test.  The up-and-coming competition of Via, the Nano U2250 CPU, positions itself very good, becomes obvious and stays with the single results only slightly behind Intel's new Atom CPU.

Benchmark Dhrystone/Whetstone - SuperPi
Benchmark Dhrystone/Whetstone - SuperPi

We also tested the performance during playing a HD video. A trivial studdering every now and then was noticed in playing the HD demo clip of "Coral Reef". The Acer One D150 cut off a bit better in the direct comparison to the Nano CPU from Via (Samsung NC20).

Our test device of the Acer Aspire One D150 was equipped with a 1024 MB RAM of the type DDR2 PC5300. Acer states the maximum storage allocation to have a total of 2 GB. Only one RAM slot exists for an eventual upgrade, though. The employed 1 GB bar has to be completely replaced in this case.

A definitive farewell is bidden to a Mini-SSD as a bulk storage "savings-variant" now. Currently, a 160GB sized hard disk in a 2.5" format is used in the One D150. The data medium from Western Digital (WD1600BEVT) rotates with a velocity of 5400 rpm and reached in the HDTune benchmark test constantly good transmission rates and with 17 milliseconds an equally adequate access time.

System info CPU
System info CPU
System info Chipset
System info RAM
System info RAM
System info GPU
System info GPU
System info HDD
System information Acer Aspire One D150
3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE3197 points
3DMark 03794 points
Help
Cinebench R10
 SettingsValue
 Rendering Single 32Bit567 Points
 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit877 Points
 Shading 32Bit288 Points
WDC Scorpio Blue WD1600BEVT
Transfer Rate Minimum: 32.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 64.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 52.7 MB/s
Access Time: 17 ms
Burst Rate: 63.6 MB/s
CPU Usage: 4 %

Emissions

System Noise

In the frame of our tests, we could observe a somewhat unpleasant characteristic of the D150 in the low-strained office mode (internet, text input). The fan always started up for a short period regularly, just to reduce its velocity right away again. Generally the volume stayed unproblematic and in a quiet field (33.4 dB(A)) but the perceptible soundscape was almost a bit nervy, especially in particularly quiet surroundings. Absolute silence could only be perceived from us in a completely unstressed idle use in energy savings mode.

The noise level indicator climbed to a maximum of 38.2 dB(A) under constant load, all the same a very notable level for a netbook. You'll have to chum up with the more pulsing soundscape in practical mode.

Noise Level

Idle 29.4 / 29.4 / 33.4 dB(A)
HDD 30.5 dB(A)
Load 35.4 / 38.2 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The development of the maximum surface temperature under load turns out very untypical for a netbook. After several hours of constant CPU load and of the graphic chip we could note a moderate warming up of the upper side of the base unit as well as an, under certain circumstances, already problematic heat development on the bottom side of the device.

We could measure a maximum of 52.1°C in the area of the fan on the bottom side under load. For use on the thighs this is already too much. The keyboard stays with a maximum value of 39.8°C within an acceptable range.

Fortunately, the observed temperatures in the practical WLAN mode, meaning internet-surfing and writing texts, turned out to be less dramatic. The bottom side heated up to 41.7°C in this state.

Max. Load
 39.8 °C37.6 °C32.9 °C 
 38.7 °C36.7 °C33.3 °C 
 32.2 °C34.4 °C31.4 °C 
Maximum: 39.8 °C
Average: 35.2 °C
40.1 °C42.3 °C49.3 °C
40.4 °C40.5 °C52.1 °C
32.3 °C32.4 °C33.0 °C
Maximum: 52.1 °C
Average: 40.3 °C
Room Temperature 21.5 °C

Loudspeakers

The employed loudspeakers turn out very much worth hearing for netbook conditions. They bid even at a good maximum volume a clear sound. The more minor sonority can be coped with. Those who are into voluminous bass enjoyment should use high quality headphones or feed the audio signal over the 3.5mm socket directly into their hi-fi system.

Battery Life

Readers Test
Maximum battery runtime (BatteryEater Readers Test)
Classic Test
Minimal runtime(BatteryEater Classic Test)

The optically very large constructed 6 cell battery refers to an attractive efficiency in regards to its technical data, too. The mobile energy source with a capacity of 59 Wh, which has an energy consumption of merely approx. 10 watts in idle mode, leaves hope for a generous mobility of the Acer Aspire One D150.

The netbook reached a decent runtime of 293 minutes even under load in the BatteryEater Classic test (max. display brightness, WLAN on, energy savings profile). The maximum awaited battery runtime, determined with the BatteryEater Readers test (min. display brightness, WLAN off, energy savings profile), turned out just as impressive. The netbook reached 566 minutes which equals approx. 9.5 hours.

That this value can't really be reached in practical use seems obvious. But the Aspire One could fully convince in practical WLAN use (surfing) with 425 minutes.
Caution should be applied at the individual battery configuration, though. Beside the most efficient 5 Wh version in our test configuration, there are also a 6 cell battery with a lower capacity of (49 Wh) and a compacter 3 cell battery (24 Wh) available for the Acer Aspire One D150.

Power Consumption

Idle 7.6 / 10.1 / 11.2 Watt
Load 16.8 / 20.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 26min
WiFi Surfing
7h 05min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 53min

Verdict

We were also very curious about how the successor of the up-till-now worldwide most sold netbook would look like and especially where it's going to position itself in comparison to its, in the meantime numerous, competitors. Now the time has come and our overall impression turns out somewhat divided.

On the one hand, Acer delivers a very compact and also robust chassis, but for which only plastic components have been applied effectively on the surface. The rivals often show cases of magnesium and aluminum parts. No question, the stability of the Acer D150 is right, but the material impression of genuine metal is something else. Imitating a brushed aluminum structure at the wrist rests doesn't help here very much, either.

One decisive factor in a netbook is doubtlessly the display. Apart from only a few exceptions, all devices play in the same league in regards to resolution. So the second criterion would be the display brightness, which Acer fulfills completely to our satisfaction with over 200 cd/m2. It looks different with surface finish of the display, though. How can a reflective glossy display be justified in a ultra-mobile netbook? It can't be for the brilliant colors in the studdering playing of HD videos…

One step forward has been made in the configuration of the Aspire One D150 with the Intel Atom N280 CPU. This does turn out to be more efficient on the whole than its direct predecessor (N270). Possible competitors, like for instance VIA's Nano U2250 chip, can also still be held at a distance.

A critique point in our test sample was the conduct of the fan in office mode. We could perceive pulsating ventilation here, which generally stays quiet but can become irritating in especially quiet surroundings after a certain time.
Surprising were also the possible high case temperatures under load which partly correlate to desktop replacements or gaming notebook levels.

THE uncontroversial trump card of the Acer Aspire D150 is the given battery runtime. The netbook supplies the competitors with proper respect with more than up to 9 possible hours. The device is minimally heavier than many potential competitors with its 1350 grams but in view of the good battery life you can very well live with this.
Generally, it has also become necessary, in the meantime, to study the netbooks closely to find out which device covers the individual needs of the user best, even if the prices are very attractive, as before. The offered packages are just too different, even if they often show  identical specifications on the surface.

Acer Aspire One D150
Acer Aspire One D150
Acer Aspire One D150
Acer Aspire One D150
Acer Aspire One D150
Acer Aspire One D150
Acer Aspire One D150
Acer Aspire One D150
In Review: Acer Aspire One D150
Samsung NC20

Specifications

Acer Aspire One D150
Processor
Intel Atom N280 1.66 GHz
Graphics adapter
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950, Core: 400 MHz, 6.14.10.4926
Memory
1024 MB 
, DDR2 PC5300, 1x1024MB, max. 2048MB
Display
10.1 inch 16:9, 1024x600 pixel, CrystalBrite TFT LCD, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel i945 GME
Harddisk
WDC Scorpio Blue WD1600BEVT, 160 GB 
5400 rpm
Soundcard
HD Audio
Connections
3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Headphones, microphone, Card Reader: Multi-Cardreader,
Networking
Atheros AR8121/AR8113 PCI-E Ethernet Controller (10/100MBit), Atheros AR5007EG (b g ), 2.0+EDR Bluetooth
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 33 x 185 x 260 ( = 1.3 x 7.28 x 10.24 in)
Weight
1.35 kg ( = 47.62 oz) Power Supply: 310 g ( = 10.93 oz)
Battery
59 Wh Lithium-Ion, 10.8V 5800mAh
Price
380 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows XP Home 32 Bit
Additional features
12 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The Acer Aspire One D150 mini-notebook is the first 10 inch netbook from Acer.
The Acer Aspire One D150 mini-notebook is the first 10 inch netbook from Acer.
The built in 10 inch display comes with a resolution of 1024x600 pixels and bids an excellent brightness.
The built in 10 inch display comes with a resolution of 1024x600 pixels and bids an excellent brightness.
The reflective display surface makes working with the device outdoors to an ordeal.
The reflective display surface makes working with the device outdoors to an ordeal.
Acer sets on the most modern technique of the market leader of processors with the Intel Atom N280 chip.
Acer sets on the most modern technique of the market leader of processors with the Intel Atom N280 chip.
The combination of Intel Atom CPU, Intel GMA 950 graphic and up to 2 GB RAM...
The combination of Intel Atom CPU, Intel GMA 950 graphic and up to 2 GB RAM...
...grant speedy operation cycles at run of the mill office applications.
...grant speedy operation cycles at run of the mill office applications.
Unfortunately, the fan made itself somewhat negatively noticeable under low load with its pulsating starts.
Unfortunately, the fan made itself somewhat negatively noticeable under low load with its pulsating starts.
The maximum possible temperatures under load turn out considerably to high for a netbook, too.
The maximum possible temperatures under load turn out considerably to high for a netbook, too.
Acer offers an enormously efficient energy source for the Aspire One D150 with the 6 cell, 59 Wh battery.
Acer offers an enormously efficient energy source for the Aspire One D150 with the 6 cell, 59 Wh battery.
The touchpad key couldn't really convince, which made the use of the Aspire One D150 very cumbersome.
The touchpad key couldn't really convince, which made the use of the Aspire One D150 very cumbersome.
This calls for a certain accomodation period in order to type texts reasonably error free.
This calls for a certain accomodation period in order to type texts reasonably error free.
The offered keyboard presents somewhat smaller keys than diverse competitors in the 10 inch netbook category.
The offered keyboard presents somewhat smaller keys than diverse competitors in the 10 inch netbook category.
After the retail hit A110L, a 9 inch device, the staff of standards on the D150 is set very high.
After the retail hit A110L, a 9 inch device, the staff of standards on the D150 is set very high.
The D150 shows a new case, which tries to distinguish itself from the broad mass through a sandwich design.
The D150 shows a new case, which tries to distinguish itself from the broad mass through a sandwich design.
While the netbook is kept in white on the outsides, the device is completely black on the inside.
While the netbook is kept in white on the outsides, the device is completely black on the inside.
Unfortunately, only plastic components have been used effectively in regards to the surface
Unfortunately, only plastic components have been used effectively in regards to the surface
The chassis presents an excellent stability, anyway...
The chassis presents an excellent stability, anyway...
...which also allows an intensive mobile use of the netbook without further ado.
...which also allows an intensive mobile use of the netbook without further ado.
The usual netbook fare of connections are found on the device.
The usual netbook fare of connections are found on the device.
A total of 3 USB ports, a VGA-out and connections for microphone and headphones count to these in the case of the Aspire One D150.
A total of 3 USB ports, a VGA-out and connections for microphone and headphones count to these in the case of the Aspire One D150.
Runtimes of more than 9 hours are possible with it.
Runtimes of more than 9 hours are possible with it.

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Pro

+Very compact and robust chassis
+Low-priced warranty upgrade to 36 months available
+Bright display with excellent illumination
+Good performance data of the Atom N280 CPU
+Adequate sound playing quality
+Excellent battery runtime
 

Cons

-Comparatively small figure keys
-Cramped touchpad keys
-Restricted outdoor suitability due to a glossy display
-Unpleasant soundscape in office mode
-High temperatures are possible to a part

Shortcut

What we liked

Just short of 40.00 for an extension of warranty of 36 months – that's something we'd like to see by some other models.

What we missed

Primarily, a matt, 100% outdoor suitable display. Hello dear constructors, a netbook would like to be used even at partly adverse light conditions on the go?!

What surprised us

Of course, the battery runtime. Acer did everything right here and put a very efficient battery in the case. Thank you very much.

The competitors

Should we really start to count them? Okay, at least the most important in the 10 inch category: Asus Eee 1002HA, Samsung NC10, Lenovo Thinkpad S10e, LG X110,…

Rating

Acer Aspire One D150
03/15/2009
J. Simon Leitner

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
80%
Weight
96%
Battery
100%
Display
82%
Games Performance
45%
Application Performance
65%
Temperature
74%
Noise
87%
Add Points
88%
Average
81%
87%
Netbook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Acer Aspire One D150 Netbook
Author: J. Simon Leitner, 2009-03-22 (Update: 2012-05-26)