$379 Acer Aspire One 722-BZ608 reviewed: Affordable, portable 11-inch laptop

What do you call an 11-inch laptop with a faster-than-Atom processor that still feels like a Netbook at heart? We ponder Acer's ultraportable new Aspire One.

While it may feel like Netbooks have dropped off the face of the earth in the post-iPad era, inexpensive 10- and 11-inch laptops still lurk out there, although they're changing with the times. While many Netbooks used to be and still are Intel Atom-based, with minimal processing capabilities and hovering around $299, a few 11-inch laptops have emerged with more powerful AMD-based processors and onboard graphics.

We've reviewed several of these ultraportables with E-350 APUs, such as the HP Pavilion dm1z and Lenovo ThinkPad x120e. The $379 Acer Aspire One 722-BZ608 has an AMD APU (the company's name for a CPU/GPU combo), but it's a slower one: its AMD C-50 processor isn't as fast as the ones in the HP Pavilion dm1z and its kin. It's still a better experience than you'll find on an budget Atom machine--maybe not in terms of raw speed, but in terms of two far more important factors: its included 4GB of RAM and its superior handling of streaming video.

A larger 11-inch screen, a full-size keyboard, and lots of memory and hard-drive space (4GB and 500GB, as much as you'd find in a larger laptop) add some value to this Acer Aspire. With a hard drive large enough to hold big music, movie, and photo collections and a processor fast enough to play streaming HD video from Netflix and Hulu without a hiccup, this is a premium Netbook (or ultraportable) that truly lives up to the "premium" part. Except, consider this: for a little more, you could have an even faster and better-built 11-incher with a far superior AMD E-350 processor.

Read our review of the Acer Aspire One 722-BZ608.

 

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