[Nottingham] Acer Aspire One A150 'blog'

Iain Moppett Iain.Moppett at nottingham.ac.uk
Tue Jan 13 12:46:58 UTC 2009

One happy owner of Apsire One A110AB (PC world £175, delivered free) here.

Live update - same issue here - got bored and went to bed - but it restarted where it left off in the morning.

Have updated to Firefox 3 and sun Java (see: http://macles.blogspot.com/2008/07/installing-firefox-3-on-acer-aspire-one.html and
http://macles.blogspot.com/2008/09/installing-sun-java-on-acer-aspire-one.html )

Also installed desktop menu: 

Desktop button
Behaviour tab
Show desktop menu on right click

Package manager now available so Gimp installed.

Has hung once on boot up.

Webcam works but recording sound doesn't.

Manages to produce ok iplayer playback, though a bit jumpy on full screen.

Overall - it does what I want / need / expect.



-----Original Message-----
From: nottingham-bounces at mailman.lug.org.uk [mailto:nottingham-bounces at mailman.lug.org.uk] On Behalf Of Martin
Sent: 13 January 2009 12:23
Subject: [Nottingham] Acer Aspire One A150 'blog'

OK, so I've got one:

# Acer Aspire One A150 Netbook

# 8.9" Acer CrystalBrite(tm) TFT LCD
# Operating System: Linpus Linux Lite version # Processor: Intel® Atom(tm) 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(tm) 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 Thunderbird);


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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