Review Acer Aspire One 722 Netbook
Raindrop. After the smaller One 522, a larger alternative in the Acer Aspire One 722, also equipped with an AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics, shows up at our office. Is it a sensible range expansion or will the waves that it causes subside quite fast?
The Taiwanese company now also has an updated version of its largest 11.6 inch netbook representative available as the Acer Aspire One 722. Alike the previously reviewed Acer Aspire One 522, the test device comes along with a 1 GHz weak AMD C-50 Dual-Core APU (accelerated processing unit) together with incorporated AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics unit. Other key data, such as a 2 GB DDR3 main memory, a 250 GB hard disk capacity and the usual interfaces, have been maintained.
The netbook shows modernizations in the area of case and display. The latter now has a resolution of 1280x720 pixels (HD Ready) and a glare type surface at a typical size. The prior model still had the finer resolution of 1366x768 pixels in a 16:9 format.
The device is in the usual price range for such a configuration at a recommended retail price of 349 euros, including added value tax. However, it's tagged with a slightly lower price than its predecessor.
Matching the updated innards, Acer has also revamped the exteriors and now bids a fresh design. It looks a bit friendlier with its rounded shape at first glance. The all-over black color is also convincing. Apart from the high gloss surfaces, it is a coherent bundle that is loosened up by the display lid's raindrop texture. In addition to the black alternative, the device is also available in blue, red and white. However, the correlating German product websites are not available so far. The workmanship and finish basically make a good impression. But the plastic components' partly unclean transitions in details on our test device are reason for complaint.
The case isn't absolutely convincing in terms of stability. Slight pressure is already enough to induce visible yielding in the center. This gives the keyboard a very spongy impression. The display lid, on the other hand, is fairly rigid and only allows a marginal distortion. Stronger pressure from the outside produces slight pressure marks on the picture in a turned on state. However, this should hardly be the case during routine use. Two fragile-looking, tightly pulled display hinges provide a good hold. In addition to the pleasant opening angle of 150 degrees, the evident teetering remains to be a small minus point.
The case's bottom is pleasantly open and allows the user fast access on hardware. The large maintenance cover can be pushed open after removing only one screw. There is a slot for a DDR3 main memory, as well as for the memory medium underneath it. Place for a second RAM bay would be available, but the necessary slot hasn't been soldered. Consequently, the maximum that can be inserted is 4 GB of DDR3 RAM. Moreover, there is also an empty slot for a PCI Express mini card. However, no UMTS module can be retrofitted since there aren't any antennas. A small solid state drive (SSD), such as Intel's SSD Serie 310, would perhaps be a feasible option.
Nothing has been altered in the scope of interfaces. The usual standard without any extras such as USB 3.0 is given. Among others, there are three USB 2.0 ports, a multi-format card reader and a modern HDMI jack for transmitting video and audio in high quality. The available ports are distributed over the case's left and right side. Nevertheless, we would have welcomed a positioning concentrated more on the rear and a USB 3.0 port. The front and rear are void of interface options since the case is beveled at the front, and the 6 cell battery takes up the place at the rear.
The image isn't broken by the communication options and the usual standard for this price range is given. Apart from the latest WLAN standard 802.11n and Bluetooth 3.0 +HS support, you have to live without gigabit Ethernet. The Atheros AR8152 only supports the transmission with 10/100 MBits. This standard is sufficient for most users and not a major point of criticism.
Opening the box quickly disillusions because only the most necessary supplies for immediate use are included. In addition to the netbook, there is the 6 cell battery with 49 watt hours, printed documentation and the 40 watt adapter. In return, the interchangeable connectors for various countries are a highlight. However, only the connector for the respective country where the order was placed is included and other adapters have to be bought optionally. The software bundle includes useful programs such as Office 2010 Starter, Adobe Reader and Skype in addition to Microsoft Windows Home Premium (64 bit) operating system. But, with exception of a few driver programs (keyboard, touchpad, etc.) there is also a lot of freeware and Acer software, which isn't really needed.
Acer also grants a warranty period of 12 months, including International Travelers Warranty (ITW), on this netbook. A look at other manufacturers shows that a 24 month warranty is standardly granted in the B2C division (business to customer). You can choose among a 24 or 36 month warranty period for a price between 45 and 89 euros (RRP).
The floating keyboard (FineTip keyboard) is the measure of all things in Acer's netbook sector and also used in this refresh. The typing feel, as well as its characteristics are the same as in all other netbooks from the manufacturer. However, the subjective impression can differ depending on the single user. In this case, the key drop is fairly short and the pressure point isn't clearly palpable. A drawback is the spongy surface towards the center, which could affect typing. The important keys have a sufficient size, whereby they get narrower at the edges. Acer should have perhaps used the TimelineX range (3830TG, 4830TG, 5830TG), with its chiclet style keyboard, as a paragon. Other manufacturers have recognized this trend and implement it.
The touchpad has been revised and is now clearly separated from the wrist-rest. This input device is sufficiently sized with dimensions of 82x43 millimeters (w x h) and a useable surface diameter of 9.2 centimeters. Navigating is easily possible thanks to the slightly corrugated surface and multi-touch gesture support. The mouse keys are underneath a glossy rocker and thus their use isn't optimal. Two separated keys would have been subjectively more agreeable.
A small retrograde step has been made in the terms of the screen. The glossy AUO (model:B116XW03 V2) only bids a native resolution of 1280x720 pixels in a 16:9 format at a diagonal of 29.5 centimeters, so 11.6 inches. It still supports the HD Ready standard, but the immediate predecessor, Acer Aspire One 721, could serve with a higher resolution of 1366x768 pixels. You don't have to scroll as much horizontally while you're surfing with 1280 pixels in the width, but there is no harm in having a higher resolution for pleasant working in most cases. A possibility to increase this convenience is connecting an external monitor via the VGA or HDMI out. A Full HD display can be addressed this way without problems.
The screen's built-in LED backlight not only allows a slim build, but a bright illumination as well. The netbook is within the usual midfield with a maximum of 216 cd/m2, respectively an average of 203.6 cd/m2. The entire surface's even illumination of 89 percent has to be rated positively. We didn't notice a visible brightness difference or clouding.
The other measurements confirm the low-cost TN screen image. The black value of 1.25 cd/m2 is slightly increased and a saturated black reproduction isn't possible. Dark background pictures make a slightly gray impression subjectively. Another reason for criticism is the resulting poor contrast (164:1). The device isn't suitable for professional picture editing because it doesn't cover the sRGB reference color spectrum. However, we must point out that no low-priced netbook conceived for customers could score in this field yet.
Outdoor use isn't the One 722's favored field of use despite the netbook's mobile alignment. The screen's glossy surface along with the average brightness and contrast rates make working in sunlight almost impossible outdoors. Working in a shady place is still possible with restrictions. A direct light source from the back should generally be avoided, even indoors.
The limited viewing angle stability isn't surprising either and points to a low-cost display solution. The reproduction remains stable even in narrow angles horizontally without changes. Contrarily, fading and inverting quickly develop during vertical movements (closing) on our used reference picture.
Apart from the fresh design, the real innovation is the updated innards by AMD. The core components are made up of an AMD C-50 accelerated processing unit with a clock rate of 1 GHz and two cores (dual core). This component is an entry level solution from AMD that is currently finding a new home in more and more netbooks and wants to challenge the Intel Atom platform. In contrast to the Intel Atom N550, the APU however lacks the virtual multiplying of cores (Hyper Threading) and consequently multi-tasking power. The Intel CPU also has the lead in the nominal clock rate with a positive difference of 500 MHz (1.5 GHz).
Another major bonus point of the new APU is the incorporated AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics with a fast core clock of 280 MHz and DirectX 11 support. The fact that Acer currently doesn't have an Aspire One 722 model with the stronger AMD E-350 APU and stronger AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics in its supply is a pity. For example, Asus offers the Eee PC 1215B netbook with this solution for 499 euros (RRP).
The first tests in our benchmark course deal with the processor's performance. The C-50 APU achieves satisfactory 1264 points in Cinebench R10 Multi-Thread Rendering (32bit) and thus moves in the familiar netbook range. The Intel Atom N550, as the opponent, occasionally scores better averagely and achieves 1415 points in this test (difference +10.7 percent). A further performance gain can be accomplished thanks to the 64 bit operating system. However, the Intel processor is ruled out because these configurations are only equipped with Windows 7 Starter (32 bit). In plain English, there is a difference of 8.8 percent (1264 to 1386 points) between the 32 and 64 bit application in our test device.
The Aspire One 722 only achieves weak 0.38 points in Cinebench R11.5's CPU benchmark (64 bit) and is thus at the lower end of our database. A comparison with the stronger AMD E-350 APU with a clock rate of 1.6 GHz is worth it although there aren't many available. This component achieves 0.6 points in the Acer Aspire 5253 and has a lead of about 33.7 percent on the C-50 APU. Overall, a rather weak processor performance that is also noticed in routine use as slow opening windows and longer boot times.
|3DMark 2001SE Standard||6230 points|
|3DMark 03 Standard||4249 points|
|3DMark 05 Standard||2656 points|
|3DMark 06 Standard||1411 points|
|3DMark Vantage P Result||423 points|
|3DMark 11 Performance||186 points|
The AMD Radeon HD 6250 can set itself apart from the Intel counterpart in the synthetic benchmarks' 3D performance. However, real gaming fun doesn't evolve. Subnotebooks with a dedicated graphics card are recommended for ambitions that go in this direction. Futuremark's 3DMark06 confirms this with a score of 1411 points at a resolution of 1280x1024 pixels. The result is in the lower third, as expected. However, the difference to the Intel GMA 3150 in the Atom N550 CPU is striking. This combination accomplishes only 144 points in the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM and has to admit defeat with a difference of 89.8 percent.
Futuremark's system benchmarks are a good possibility for a brief, preliminary performance verdict. The total bundle at hand achieves a result of 1582 points in PCMark Vantage. Thus, it is again in the lower third of our database. In addition to the comparatively weak components, the installed memory medium also contributes massively to this. For example, the HP Mini 5103 or the Samsung NF210 are on a comparable level. The new PCMark 7 confirms this result and the Acer Aspire One 722 finds itself among its kind (Asus Eee PC 1015B, Eee PC 1215B).
|PCMark Vantage Result||1582 points|
|PCMark 7 Score||747 points|
The netbook bids enough memory for the most important data and even more with a gross capacity of 250 GBs. The Toshiba MK2559GSXP is in the average midfield with a work speed of 5400 revolutions per minute and a SATA II bus. The maximum read transfer rate of 80.8 MBs per second (CrystalDiskMark) and the rather slow access rate (AS SSD) confirm this placing. A hybrid drive or a pure-bred solid state drive with a construction height of 9 millimeters is recommendable for more power. However, transfer via SATA III isn't supported.
Small fan, low noise level. The Aspire One netbook can be categorized this way in the field of system noise. We could measure between 30.5 and 31.5 dB(A) in idle mode at a distance of 15 centimeters. The fan was occasionally deactivated in this time. The memory medium and the use during load were within limits although the noise level increased. The consistent level of 34.7 dB(A) and the fan's rapid speed decrease after finished load is pleasing.
30.5 / 31.3 / 31.5 dB(A)
||31.6 / 34.7 dB(A)|
min: , med: , max: Voltcraft SL-320 (15 cm distance)
The good impression of the previous paragraph can't be kept upright in terms of temperature development. The exteriors already heat up noticeably in idle. Nevertheless, the subjective impression of the maximum 32 degrees Celsius can be described as lukewarm. The temperature increases during load and a peak of up to 43.7 degrees Celsius are recorded. Temperatures in this range are clearly noticeable and a longer use on the lap could get unpleasant. On the other hand, the wrist-rests and the keyboard stay fairly cool and the ergonomics aren't affected.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 36 °C / 97 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F, ranging from 21.6 to 53.2 °C for the class Netbook.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 43.7 °C / 111 F, compared to the average of 36.6 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 28.1 °C / 83 F, compared to the device average of 29.8 °C / 86 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (32.9 °C / 91.2 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.3 °C / 84.7 F (-3.6 °C / -6.5 F).
There is one stereo speaker on both the left and right beneath the wrist-rest. Their sound quality is sufficient for simple podcasts since the high pitches are reproduced clearly and even high volumes don't create distortions. Since it basically lacks deep pitches and basses, playing music or movies with them isn't recommendable. The 3.5 mm stereo jack or the HDMI out allow connecting high quality, external solutions. Both options could ensure a flawless transmission in a sound test.
The energy saving components inside and the included 6 cell battery are to ensure netbook typical runtimes. The power supply is big enough for this with a capacity of 49 watt hours (Wh), or 4400 mAh, even if other manufacturers partly offer a bigger alternative. The BatteryEater tool bids two standardized tests that estimate the upper and lower limits with the Classic and Reader's test. The possible span between 3 hours and 15 minutes up to a maximum runtime of 10 hours and 42 minutes convinces and is within an acceptable range for this hardware configuration. In addition to both of these extreme assessments, the test "surfing via WLAN" provides a practical scenario. A still good 6 hours and 34 minutes are possible remote from the power outlet in pleasant display brightness and enabled WLAN adapter with the included battery.
The low consumption rates match the given runtimes. The netbook remains modest with a maximum of 9.5 watts in idle. Thus, it is partly better than configurations with an Intel Atom N550. Logically, the consumption increases during load and the incorporated AMD Radeon HD 6250 is noticed during this operation. A maximum of 17.3 watts are needed, whereas the difference to the Intel CPU is now slight. The consumption in a deactivated state or standby doesn't show irregularities.
|Off / Standby||0.1 / 0.2 Watt|
|Idle|| 7 / 9 / 9.5 Watt|
15.9 / 17.3 Watt|
Key: min: , med: , max: Voltcraft VC-960
The Acer Aspire One 722 finishes off the netbook portfolio with the latest AMD C-50 APU and incorporated Radeon HD 6250 Grafik. In terms of performance, the given bundle is nothing new and the Intel opponent should be preferred for pure office performance. The fresh design, the standard scope of interfaces and the easy extendability are bonus points. The lack of case stability in the center area, the usual scanty scope of delivery and glossy display are on the flipside. In contrast to the predecessor, Acer takes a retrograde step and only offers 1280x720 pixels instead of 1366x768 pixels, like in the smaller representative, Acer Aspire One 522.
Apart from the positive qualities, such as the low emissions in idle mode and a quiet cooling system, the temperature development during load and the mainstream stereo loudspeakers have to be criticized. It is however overall a passable offer from Taiwan. We would have liked to see the stronger AMD E-350 and thus an advantage over the 10 inch alternative, as well as a longer warranty period for 349 euros.