[Nottingham] Acer Aspire One A150 'blog'

Martin martin at ml1.co.uk
Tue Jan 13 12:22:54 UTC 2009

OK, so I've got one:

# Acer Aspire One A150 Netbook

# 8.9" Acer CrystalBrite™ TFT LCD
# Operating System: Linpus Linux Lite version
# Processor: Intel® Atom™ processor N270
# Memory: 1024MB RAM (2*512MB Configuration)
# Storage: 120GB SATA Hard Disk Drive
# Connectivity: Wireless LAN b/g, LAN: 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet
# Webcam: Integrated 0.3Mp Acer Crystal Eye webcam
# I/O Interfaces: 3 * USB PortsPort, 5-in-1 card reader (SD), (MMC),
(RS-MMC), (MS), (MS PRO), (xD), SD™ Card reader for storage Expansion
# Battery Pack: 3 Cell (3 Hours Battery Life)


Except that I quickly got a 512MB RAM ZG5 version manufactured 2008-07
for £199.99 (the last of the January 'sales'?)

There is a lidded recess underneath for a (not installed) 3G module.
(How much are 3G modules?)

No bluetooth but you can easily add a USB bluetooth device for as little
as £2. Some are available that are not much bigger than the USB
connector itself.

The N270 CPU runs hyperthreaded to give the appearance of two CPU cores.

You get a mains adapter, a plastic protective wallet, and a recovery DVD
included (note that there is no DVD drive on the netbook).

First impressions were:


I did the usual check that the battery was locked in place and plugged
in the mains adapter and switched the mains power on to start charging.
The red AC power battery charge light lit up. I then switched on the
netbook itself whilst still charging.

It booted up into a setup sequence where you select/set what language,
password, and the time & date.

The password must be alphanumeric only! The error message for anything
else entered is unhelpful. I guess the password is for root or the local
user but I've not needed to use it so far. There's no indication what
the password is for.

After selecting the timezone, and date and time, with the next click the
screen went blank!

And stayed blank. The power light was still on but the thing was
unresponsive. I held the power switch down for a reboot and it rebooted
back into a blank screen... Switched it off and had a brew...

Repowered later as a check before taking it back and... It took a long
time to boot up, and with much disk activity, but the Linpus screen
eventually appeared.

So it DOES work after all.

The default is for an American keyboard (misplaced @, # & ~ for
example), easily reselected in the settings. The applications selection
is clear and clean. And that's it. It simply works with a limited but
very good selection of applications:

Web: Firefox, Messenger, Aspire One Mail (looks like a streamlined


Media player, photo editor, a few games, webcam utility;

File browsing;

And there is a settings "control panel".

The screen and keyboard are very good. The sound is crap through the
integral speakers but adequate to be useful, but not for HiFi music.
Headphones are required for that. The wireless simply works but it can
get hung for an overly long time on a failed connection attempt.

There are three power schemes for "High Performance", "Balanced", and
"Power Saver" but nowhere to select which is actually used. It seems to
be always set to "Balanced".

The Live Update was very very slow (about two hours to update). So slow
that I had to keep prodding a shift key to avoid the netbook timing out
into standby. Is the Linpus update server overloaded?

The 'keep it simple' looks good but it is a little too simple for my
taste. Also, feedback is lacking. If an operation isn't instantaneous, I
like to see what is happening and see how far along for progress. Also,
where do you get any indication of network activity?...

I soon found to do a "run command" to call up bash for a good old
fashioned text terminal. The usual Linux bits were under there - very
good for any development work.

Overall, very good. Almost boring in that it is pretty much as can be
expected. The 9" screen and similarly sized keyboard hits a good sweet
spot for ease of use versus convenient small size. The finger-pad and
side buttons are fine. The webcam is pretty good despite the mere
0.3Mpixels. It simply works. Certainly a very good improvement over the
days of such as the Libretto!

For my choice to include lugging lots of data around, the 120 GByte HDD
is a must. For just mobile web, email, and office docs then I'd go for
one of the SSD versions.

The extra SDHC card slot is a very nice touch...

And what next...

A little more testing to see how Linpus shapes up and then:

Mandriva 2009 install (dual boot) onto an SDHC card (allow the HDD to
stay idle?);

1.5 GBytes RAM
But read the following comments for that blog first. So why is the
sodimm slot so hidden? A removable access panel should have been easy.


Hope of interest,


Martin Lomas
martin at ml1.co.uk

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