Notebookcheck

Review Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb Netbook

Konrad Schneid (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 05/03/2012

New model, old performance? The Acer Aspire One D270 offers the latest Intel Atom processor generation based on Intel's Cedar Trail platform. For EUR 300, the buyer even gets a notebook with Bluetooth 4.0 that only a few notebooks feature. Is it great progress or just big names for Acer to put on its list?

Hot on the heels of Acer subsidary Packard Bell's Cedar Trail netbook offering, Acer itself has released the Aspire One D270. The Cedar Trail launch was postponed, reportedly due to driver issues, and as a result the Cedar Trail chips only support DirectX 9 - not DX10.1 as originally claimed by Intel. This shouldn't be a big deal, as Cedar Trail's GMA 3600 graphics lacks the muscle to handle DX10 games anyway.

The new D270 looks much like older Aspire One netbooks - only the specs have been upgraded. Acer uses the new Intel Atom N2600 processor at 1600 MHz. The Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3600 graphics card is integrated on the processor die. As with the Intel GMA 500, it is based on a core licensed from PowerVR (SGX 545).

The 10.1 incher sports a non-glare screen with a maximum resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It unfortunately has no USB 3.0 support - a standard feature on modern machines - but it does feature the latest Bluetooth 4.0. Read on to find out how the D270 compares to the rest of the netbook competition.

Case

The case hasn't changed compared with the Acer Aspire One 522. It's available in  blue, red, green and black. The design on the display lid reminds us of the ripple created when a drop falls into water. It's fairly sturdy, only bending under high pressure. However, there are some sharp edges around the ethernet jack to be wary of.

The fairly wide open angle of approximately 150 degrees is noteworthy. We noticed a slight teetering after adjusting the display hinges. The netbook's bottom gives pretty limited access to the innards - only the battery can be easily removed. Like the Aspire One 522, the keyboard has to be taken off to get deeper inside. Consequently, upgrades are more hazardous than they really should be.

Connectivity

The D270 offers the usual minimal interface diversity common to all netbooks: HDMI, 3x USB 2.0, and headphone and microphone jacks. USB 3.0 is nowhere to be found, but you do get the latest Bluetooth 4.0.

Left: Power adapter, LAN, VGA, HDMI, USB 2.0
Left: Power adapter, LAN, VGA, HDMI, USB 2.0
Right: Memory card reader, line out, line in, 2x USB 2.0, Kensington lock
Right: Memory card reader, line out, line in, 2x USB 2.0, Kensington lock

Communication

The D270 includes a bog standard 10/100 Realtek PCIe ethernet controller and Broadcom 802.11n wifi module. However, a real highlight is the cutting edge Bluetooth 4.0. BT 4.0 introduces a low energy protocol stack, and range has been increased to up to 100 meters. A UMTS module isn't available in this price range, unfortunately.

Scope of Delivery

Besides the netbook, a matching power adapter and a 6 cell battery is included in the scope of delivery. As usual, netbooks come with the bare minimum.

Warranty

Acer offers a standard 12 month warranty (pick-up & return). A warranty extension will cost you at least EUR 69 ($91).

Input Devices

Keyboard and Touchpad
Keyboard and Touchpad

Keyboard

The D270's keyboard exploits the entire width of the netbook. As with previous models, it has a rather short key drop requiring moderate pressure. The arrow keys are tightly packed and could have been bigger, but overall the D270 is comfortable to type on.

Touchpad

Acer still relies on the Synaptics touchpad (V7.2). The touchpad is separated from the wrist rest with a slight indent. Navigation is trouble-free; even multi-touch gestures are detected properly. Compared with the Acer Aspire One D522, the corresponding click bar no longer has a roughened surface but the pressure point is still crisp.

Display

The Acer Aspire One D270 is equipped with a 10.1-inch LED screen. The screen (model name MS_0001) supports a netbook-standard 1024 x 600 pixels in an approximate 16:9 aspect ratio. In contrast to the Acer Aspire One 522, the screen is AR coated and thus more suitable for outdoor use. A small webcam is built into the display. VGA and HDMI are available for connecting external monitors.

A measurement with the Gossen Mavo Monitor recorded a decent maximum brightness of 225 cd/m2 and average brightness of 215.4 cd/m2. We saw no difference between battery and AC power, and brightness appeared constant across the screen.

216
cd/m²
225
cd/m²
217
cd/m²
210
cd/m²
224
cd/m²
215
cd/m²
200
cd/m²
216
cd/m²
216
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 225 cd/m²
Average: 215.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 224 cd/m²
Black: 1.4 cd/m²
Contrast: 160:1
Outdoors with the Acer Aspire one D270
Outdoors with the Acer Aspire one D270

We measured a weak black value of 1.4 cd/m2, which results in a just as weak contrast of 160:1. This isn't unusual for netbooks, unfortunately, but the non-glare screen is still fairly useful outdoors - reflections are low, and text and graphics are clear.

Notably, Asus Eee PC 1015B has a black value of 0.36 cd/m2 and a contrast of 828:1 - the best values we've seen on a netbook.

Viewing angles: Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb
Viewing angles: Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb

You needn't fear your neighbor reading off your screen on the D270 - viewing angles are as poor as we've come to expect from most most netbooks. The picture distorts quickly with any deviation from an ideal angle, especially vertically.

We took several pictures of the distortion from different angles using the same shutter speed and aperture in a darkroom.

Performance

The D270's primary upgrade is the 2-core/4-thread (with Hyperthreading) Cedar Trail Atom N2600 processor at 1.6 GHz and a low 3.5 watt TDPIntel's PowerVR SGX 545-based GMA 3600 graphics is integrated on the CPU die and runs at 400 MHz. It supports MPEG4 Part 2, VC-1, WMV9 and H.264. 

We had to wait for a long time for the first notebooks using the Cedar Trail M platform, reportedly due to massive driver problems. In the end, Intel withdrew DX10.1 support and now only claims DX9 compatibility.

The D270 also sports a 5400rpm Western Digital 320 GB hard disk and 1GB memory.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ RAM
System info CPUZ RAM SPD
System information: Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb

Processor

We used Cinebench R10 to check the processor performance of the Acer Aspire One D270. As expected, the netbook places itself in the lower third of our benchmark database. With 531 points in single-threaded rendering, the netbook is superior to N550-equipped offerings like the HP Mini 5103-WK472EA (516 points), but inferior to N270 devices like the Asus Eee PC S101 (577 points).

The Acer Aspire One D270 manages 1548 points in Cinebench R10's multi-rendering test - about 25% slower than systems with AMD's E-350 processor, such as the HP Pavilion dm1-3180eg (2080 points).

Netbooks with an AMD C-50 processor, such as the Asus Eee PC 1015B, (1336 points) lag behind our test device.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
531
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
1548
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
828
Help

System Performance

We analyzed the Aspire One D270's system performance with Futuremark's PCMark Vantage and PCMark 7. The system refused to work in the "TV and Movies" section of PCMark Vantage. Consequently, the netbook only managed 1133 points making a fair comparison impossible. 

With 668 points, Acer's netbook finds itself at the far bottom of our benchmark database in PCMark 7. Even the older Acer Aspire One 722 netbook with an AMD C-50 processor and a Radeon HD 6250 hit 747 points. Only netbooks with an Atom N570 processor, such as the Asus EEE PC 1015PX (580 points) are weaker than our test device.

Subjectively, the netbook feels slow an unresponsive. Office apps take a long time to open, page loading is sluggish especially with multiple tabs open, and more than basic multitasking is all but impossible.

3.2
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
3.3
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
4.5
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
5.6
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
3.2
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark 7668 points
Help

Hard Drive Test

The D270 uses a 320 GB, 5400rpm Western Digital WD3200BPVT-22JJ5T0. The drive manages an average transfer rate of 33.7 MB/s in HDTune, making it one of the slower netbook drives. The 10.1 inch HP Mini 5103-WK472EA, for example, comes with a Toshiba MK2556GSY (250 GB, 7200 rpm) and scores 82.9 MB/s in the same test.

Adding an SSD would certainly help performance, but as noted above the D270 is awkward to work in: only experienced upgraders should attempt to modify the factory hardware.

WDC Scorpio Blue WD3200BPVT-22JJ5T0
Transfer Rate Minimum: 0.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 75.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 33.7 MB/s
Access Time: 30.3 ms
Burst Rate: 27.4 MB/s
CPU Usage: 10.6 %

Graphics

Since the Aspire One D270 only supports the outdated DirectX 9, we had to omit 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11 in our graphics benchmarks. The D270 scored 772 points in Futuremark's old 3DMark 05 benchmarking software. For comparison, the Radeon HD 6250-equipped Acer Aspire One 722-C52kk pulled 2656 points.

3DMark 06 results are even more dire: the D270 scores 276 points - not as bad as GMA 3150 machines like the Asus EEE PC 1015PX (164 points), but far below the AMD Radeon HD 6250 netbooks like the Asus Eee PC 1015B at 1480 points.

3D Mark
3DMark 032018 points
3DMark 05772 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
276 points
Help

Gaming & Video Performance

After recording poor (but not unexpected) 3DMark results, we tried to test performance with actual games. However, most games refused to start or crashed repeatedly. Although F1 2011 didn't crash, the game didn't even come close to being playable. The netbook only managed 12 frames per second - for the record, 30 fps is usually considered the minimum for acceptable play.

HD videos, at least, run without problems. The image only stuttered occasionally when watching movies on YouTube. In another test, we connected the netbook to an external monitor with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels via HDMI. 1080p Youtube videos on this monitor proved too much for the D270 - CPU utilization spiked to 100% and the video stuttered badly.

HD video (1080p) via external monitor
HD video (1080p) via external monitor
low med.high ultra
Mafia 2 (2010) -1fps
Fifa 11 (2010) -1fps
Dirt 3 (2011) -1fps
F1 2011 (2011) 12fps
Fifa 12 (2011) -1fps

Emissions

System Noise

The small, built-in fan of the Acer Aspire One D270 is hardly audible in Office use. Our measured rates were between 31.6 dB (A) and 31.8 dB (A). The netbook also remains pleasantly quiet under load. Our measured maximum was a very good 33.3 dB (A) - noticeable, but not distracting.

Noise Level

Idle 31.6 / 31.6 / 31.8 dB(A)
Load 31.7 / 33.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The D270 idles practically at room temperature. We measured a maximum of 26.5°C on the top, while the bottom also stayed fairly cool with a maximum of 29.3°C.

Even after running at high load for several hours, we measured a maximum of 29.4°C on the top and 34°C on the bottom - still very cool. The processor ran consistently at 1600 MHz without downclocking.

Max. Load
 28.7 °C28.2 °C26.6 °C 
 29.4 °C29.3 °C27.1 °C 
 26.3 °C28 °C24.5 °C 
Maximum: 29.4 °C
Average: 27.6 °C
31.5 °C33 °C33.9 °C
30.6 °C32.7 °C34 °C
26.3 °C29.1 °C31.6 °C
Maximum: 34 °C
Average: 31.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  30.3 °C | Room Temperature 19.5 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The built-in speakers are typical netbook fare. Decent treble, but nonexistent bass. Max volume, at least, is enough for personal listening. Of course, external speakers can be connected via the HDMI port or the 3.5 mm jack.

Battery Life

Power Consumption

Intel specifies a TDP of 3.5 watts for the installed Atom N2600 processor. We measured a maximum power consumption of 7.5 watts from the wall under light load (vs. 12.2 watts in the older Acer Aspire One 522). Even under heavy load, we measured only 10.3 watts (Acer Aspire One 522: 22 watts). These measured rates are absolute peak values which should yield great battery life. The included 40 watt power adapter is more than sufficient.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 5.9 / 6.8 / 7.5 Watt
Load 9.0 / 10.3 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime 

One of the most important criteria in netbooks is battery life. The D270 has a fairly standard 6-cell battery rated at 49 watt hours which we put to the test with BatteryEater.

We ran Reader's test first, using Energy Saver mode with Bluetooth and wifi disabled and brightness at minimum. The netbook lasted a solid 9 hours and 36 minutes in this test.

In a more realistic test, we enabled wifi and set the brightness to 150 cd/m2 to simulate normal surfing behavior. The netbook lasted 8 hours and 24 minutes.

The low power consumption during load is impressive and is reason enough to perform the BatteryEater Classic test. For this test, we selected the high performance profile, enabled both wifi and Bluetooth, and set the brightness level to maximum. The result was remarkable: The Acer Aspire One D270 ran for 5 hours and 44 minutes. For comparison, the Acer Aspire One 522 shut down after only 3 hours and 21 minutes in this test. The Acer Aspire One D270 even delivers the same performance on battery power as in AC mode - not bad!

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 36min
WiFi Surfing
8h 24min
Load (maximum brightness)
5h 44min

Verdict

The Acer Aspire One D270 won't impress anyone with its performance. Intel's new N2600 processor is only slightly faster than the old Atom N550 - enough for basic Office work, web surfing, and music and (standard definition) movies, but that's about it.

The D270 does score a win with its impressive battery life, particularly under load (344 minutes). Other major benefits include Bluetooth 4.0, great thermals and noise levels, and a non-glare screen with just enough brightness to be functional outdoors.

The netbook-standard 10.1 inch screen, with its low 1024 x 600 resolution and poor contrast, is a crippling disability for all but the most basic of tasks. The onboard Intel graphics is another sore spot, particularly with the availability of far more capable E-series processors from AMD. Netbooks based on E-series chips, such as the Asus Eee PC 1015B, provide better performance at the cost of moderately lower battery life.

You know the tradeoff: if the standard limitations of a netbook - chiefly the poor, low-res screen and paltry performance, are deal-breakers for you, the D270 and Cedar Trail platform will do nothing to change your mind. But if you can live with those limitations, the D270 is an excellent contender for EUR 300 ($400 USD).

Read all 36 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading comments

Comment this article:

In Review: Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb
In Review:  Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb

Specifications

Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb
Processor
Memory
1024 MB 
, DDR3 SDRAM - PC3-8500 - 1066 MHz
Display
10.1 inch , 1024x600 pixel, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel NM10
Harddisk
WDC Scorpio Blue WD3200BPVT-22JJ5T0, 320 GB 
5400 rpm
Soundcard
Intel 82801GBM ICH7-M - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Card Reader: Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMediaCard (MMC), Secure Digital (SD), xD Picture Card,
Networking
Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller (10/100MBit), Broadcom 802.11n (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 24 x 256 x 184 ( = 0.94 x 10.08 x 7.24 in)
Weight
1.3 kg ( = 45.86 oz) ( = 0 oz)
Battery
49 Wh Lithium-Ion, 6 cells
Price
300 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Starter 32 Bit
Additional features
Webcam: Webcam

 

[+] compare
The 10.1 inch Acer Aspire One D270 costs around EUR 300.
The 10.1 inch Acer Aspire One D270 costs around EUR 300.
The power adapter features a plug-on system.
The power adapter features a plug-on system.
The touchpad is fairly small.
The touchpad is fairly small.
The user can only replace the battery without ado.
The user can only replace the battery without ado.
The Acer Aspire One D270 is available in various colors.
The Acer Aspire One D270 is available in various colors.
The display lid reminds us of a drop that falls into water.
The display lid reminds us of a drop that falls into water.
The screen is AR coated and manages a native resolution of only 1024 x 600 pixels.
The screen is AR coated and manages a native resolution of only 1024 x 600 pixels.
Regrettably, the 10.1 incher only sports the old USB 2.0.
Regrettably, the 10.1 incher only sports the old USB 2.0.
The opening angle of the netbook is quite wide.
The opening angle of the netbook is quite wide.
The battery with a capacity of 49 Wh supplies good performance.
The battery with a capacity of 49 Wh supplies good performance.

Similar Notebooks

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

» Review Asus Eee PC 1011CX Netbook
Atom N2600, 1.229 kg

Devices from the same Manufacturer

» Acer Chromebook 11 CB3-111 Review
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Celeron N2840, 11.6", 1.25 kg
» Acer Aspire E17 E5-721-69FX Notebook Review
Radeon R4 (Beema), A-Series A6-6310, 17.3", 3 kg
» Acer Aspire E15 ES1-511-C50C Notebook Review Update
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Celeron N2930, 15.6", 2.4 kg
» Acer Aspire Switch 10 Full HD Convertible Review Update
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Atom Z3735F, 10.1", 1.05 kg
» Acer Aspire V3-572PG-604M Notebook Review
GeForce 840M, Core i5 4200U, 15.6", 2.5 kg
» Acer Extensa 2509-C052 Notebook Review
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Celeron N2930, 15.6", 2.275 kg

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pro

+High battery performance
+Elegant design
+Bluetooth 4.0
+Suitable for outdoor use
 

Cons

-Weak system performance
-Poor contrast
-USB 2.0 only

Shortcut

What we like

In particularly the high battery performance during load convinces us completely.

What we'd like to see

A fast USB 3.0 port would be state-of-the-art.

What surprises us

The fairly low system performance

The competition

Asus Eee PC 1015B netbookAcer Aspire One 722-C52kk netbookAsus Eee PC 1015PX netbookAsus Eee PC R051PXMSI Wind U270-E4523W7HSamsung Chromebook Series 5Asus Eee PC 1215B-SIV006MNokia Booklet 3G 

Rating

Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb
04/12/2012 v2
Konrad Schneid

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
82%
Pointing Device
85%
Connectivity
70%
Weight
93%
Battery
96%
Display
75%
Games Performance
39%
Application Performance
59%
Temperature
93%
Noise
92%
Add Points
88%
Average
80%
87%
Netbook *
Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Acer Aspire One D270-26Dbb Netbook
Author: Konrad Schneid, 2012-05- 3 (Update: 2013-06- 6)