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Acer Aspire One 532h-Intel's Pine Trail Platform
This one is a brand new netbook by Acer, a brand that has the credit of being one of the earliest adopters of Intel’s new Pine Trail system, which, in the case of netbooks, mainly comprises the new Atom N450, and a new chipset called the Intel NM10. In this category Intel really has eaten up the market, thus we are raring to go here, and see exactly in which areas of performance, be it CPU heavy task, battery life or even aesthetic form, inhibits some change due to the adoption of the new Pine Trail.
We have quite a regular sized netbook here, just a tad thinner on average at 0.99 inches thickness. The weight is also slightly lighter than average, at about 1.08 kgs. The lid is glossy with a deep blue finish, sparsely strewn with some pixie dust. The internal wrist rest too sports this uniform attire, thus overall making the product look quite classy, with subtle charm. The keyboard is end to end and it’s a chiclet style, though the Enter key is not full sized, plus arrow keys as usual are a little cramped. Touch typing on a chiclet keyboard is personally a bit tougher.
The touchpad is nicely done here with a contoured, black matte finish, while the button is similarly colored in the deep metallic blue. It's got a separate scroll zone, has a keyboard centric position and is a dual touch pad. This Acer model has the entire tiny LED indicator set on the bottom panel, lined up on the touch pad’s left.
As for connections we have the same old suite of 3 USBs 2.0, a memory card reader, D-Sub out, Ethernet (10/100) in and last but not least a stereo audio in (mic in and headpone out).
System specs and Software
This system contains the new Pinetrail platform for netbooks, with Intel Atom N450 (1.66 GHz, 512KB cache) processor and NM10 Chipset. Integrated graphics is by the GMA3150. The RAM is 1GB DDR2, and HDD is 160 GB. The guys at Intel claim a serious reduction in power consumption and increase in thermal efficiency, but not so much an increase in performance. Thus we will run benchmarks in our next section, to see all that.
The screen is a 10.1 inch WLED one, with a native res of 1024 x 600. Battery is regular 6 cell Li-ion strip. For the software, we have plain old Win XP SP3 preinstalled with our model, a watered down version of McAfee security and also a MS office trial version, but I don’t think that’s an official addition.
This is our First PineTrail review, so unfortunately we don’t have another similar test result to compare. We will check it with an HCL Me Atom N270 based, also another Dell Mini 10V. We will review the new ASUS Pinetrail model very soon and compare it to that then.
The results are not really too different from the N270-based platform, at least in these CPU benchmarks. Intel did not really claim better performance, so that’s fine. But, having said that, some real world results are still slightly above the recent weighted average.
We really want to see battery life, so we tested using Battery eater pro and received a result of 5 hours 11 minutes to completely juice out the battery, and this is on a fully loaded process. In a real world, net browsing, MS office using scenario, we got about 8 hours 28 min. These are good ratings, except the Dell Mini10V actually had about 8 hours 40 minutes of usage, which is slightly more than this.
Audio encoding was done using 8 Flac files converted into 192 Kbps MP3s. This again took a healthy 510 seconds which was faster than the rest.
File compression test included compressing 432 files with a total file size of 210 MB, using Winrar. We achieved that in 178 secs, slower than HCl Me’s 164 seconds. Finally we timed a File copy, yielding the following results - A set of multiple files sizing upto 2 GB wrote at about 26 MB/s - now this is healthy rating.
At a price of Rs.19,776, this netbook comes at a very slight premium to the price in this category, but since it’s a new technology with weighable improvements in battery life, and also slight improvements in CPU heavy performance tasks, we can rightfully state that the price is warranted, and also have a feeling it’s going to be one of the lower priced ones when more PineTrail models come out. It’s a good first impression of the new tech. As of now this one is recommended for sure, except that the keyboard is not so spectacular, run your hands once on it to see if it suits you.