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Acer Aspire One 532h-2326 review: Acer Aspire One 532h-2326

Acer Aspire One 532h-2326

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
6 min read

Acer has become one of the most successful purveyors of Netbooks by relying on a simple premise: price beats everything. While HP, Dell, and others give lip service to low-end models while upselling you toward $500 Netbooks, the Acer Aspire One series embraces its $299 roots proudly.


Acer Aspire One 532h-2326

The Good

Solid Netbook for less than $300; great battery life.

The Bad

Few frills; lackluster touch pad.

The Bottom Line

The Acer Aspire One 532h-2326 is just as good for basic tasks as Netbooks costing $100 more, making it a solid sub-$300 option.

The very first Aspire One Netbooks looked and felt cheap, even if they had the same Windows XP/1GB RAM/Intel Atom combo as the competition. The newest version, the Aspire One 532h-2326, keeps up with the latest standard specs, such as an Intel Atom N450 CPU and a larger 250GB hard drive, to make it competitive with recent Netbook entries like the Toshiba NB305 and Asus Eee PC 1005PE.

The current Aspire One has a decent keyboard, multitouch touch pad gestures (which you'll probably never use), and excellent battery life without a bulky battery. Add another $70-$100 for a system from another PC maker, and you can expect better construction and maybe Bluetooth. Add $100-$200 and you move into the realms of HD displays, faster processors, and Nvidia Ion graphics. But for the rock-bottom price of $299, it's hard to beat this bargain basement box.

Price as reviewed $299
Processor 1.6GHz Intel Atom N450
Memory 1GB, 800MHz DDR2
Hard drive 250GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Intel NM10
Graphics Intel GMA 3150 (integrated)
Operating system Windows 7 Starter
Dimensions (WD) 10.2 x 7.3 inches
Height 0.8-1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 10.1 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 2.7/3.1 pounds
Category Netbook

With many Netbooks teetering on bulky kickstand-style batteries, we were pleased to see the Aspire One present a fairly slim profile. The six-cell battery does bump out a bit from the rear of the bottom panel, but the system is still less than 1.5 inches thick in the back, and less than 1 inch in the front. Our review unit was clad in an all-over glossy midnight blue, which looked fine from a distance, but was extremely fingerprint-prone.

The current Acer Aspire One keyboard is a far cry from the tiny finger-cramping keyboards of last-generation Netbooks. It has wide edge-to-edge keys, and decent-size versions of Shift, Tab, and other important keys. The corners of each key are rounded, rather than square, giving it a mod look. Other Netbook makers, such as HP and Toshiba, have moved to flat island-style keys, using slightly smaller key faces with more space between them. Those are a little better for touch typing, but the Aspire version is still one of the best $299 Netbook keyboards we've seen.

The touch pad is where the system's budget origins peek through. It's not as tiny as some we've seen, but it's built directly into the glossy wrist rest, with only a faint overlay of patterned dots to demarcate it. There are a handful of MacBook-like two-finger gestures available, but the touch pad is generally too small for them to be useful. The left and right mouse buttons are represented by a single thin rocker bar instead of separate buttons. We dislike that in a Netbook at any price, and encourage all Netbook-makers to include decent-size left and right mouse buttons.

The 10.1-inch wide-screen display offers a 1,024x600-pixel native resolution, which is standard for a budget Netbook. More expensive 10- and 11-inch models bump that up to 1,366x768 pixels, but we've never seen that in a Netbook costing less than $399.

  Acer Aspire One 532h-2326 Average for category [Netbook]
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 3 USB 2.0, SD card reader 2 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Expansion None None
Networking Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive None None

For less than $300, we're pleased to see the faster 802.11n Wi-Fi standard. Bluetooth is missing, but that's understandable for an entry-level system. If you need more bells and whistles, check out Dell's Mini 10, which starts at around the same price, but offers several incremental configuration options, including 3G mobile broadband.

The important thing to note about the current crop of Netbooks powered by Intel's new 1.66GHz Atom N450 processor is that they all offer excellent battery life, but roughly the same middling performance. That means you could spend $299 or $499 on a Netbook, and it would run just as fast (although the more expensive one might have an HD screen, better construction, Bluetooth, or other extras).

That said, as long as you remember our standard Netbook admonitions about keeping one's expectations modest, the Acer Aspire One performed about as well as any in its class. We've seen a handful of more powerful Netbook-size systems with dual-core Intel Atom or AMD CPUs, but they're much more expensive (relatively speaking).

Juice box
Mainstream (Avg watts/hour) Acer Aspire One 532h-2326
Off (60%) 0.35
Sleep (10%) 0.49
Idle (25%) 5.84
Load (05%) 15.05
Raw kWh Number 21.65
Annual Energy Cost $2.46

Annual energy consumption cost
Acer Aspire One 532h-2326
HP Mini 5102

The Acer Aspire One ran for 7 hours and 9 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, using the included 6-cell battery. That's excellent, but not unexpected, thanks to the very efficient new generation of Intel Atom CPUs. Still, it's among the longest-lasting 2010 Netbooks we've seen, second only to the Asus Eee PC 1005PE.

Acer includes an industry-standard, one-year, parts-and-labor warranty with the system. Support is available via phone (not a toll-free call) or through a series of somewhat confusing Web pages, offering an online knowledge base and driver downloads. There's also an entirely separate site for Acer Aspire Netbook support at http://netbooks-us.custhelp.com/, with a list of frequently asked questions.

Jalbum photo conversion test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire One 532h-2326
HP Mini 5102

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

Acer Aspire One 532h-2326
Windows 7 Starter; 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 250MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 3150; 250GB Seagate 5400rpm

Asus Eee PC 1005PE
Windows 7 Starter; 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 251MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 3150; 250GB Seagate 5400rpm

HP Mini 5102
Windows 7 Starter; 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 248MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 3150; 160GB Seagate 7200rpm

Toshiba Mini NB305-N410BN
Windows 7 Starter; 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 250MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 3150; 250GB Hitachi 5400rpm

Sony Vaio Eco VPC-W212AX
Windows 7 Starter; 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 250MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 3150; 250GB Seagate 5400rpm

Asus Eee PC 1201N
Windows 7 Starter; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N330 Dual-Core; 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM 2050MHz; 256MB Nvidia ION; 250GB Hitachi 5400rpm

Acer Ferrari One
Windows 7 Home Premium; 1.2GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core L310; 4096MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 384MB (Dedicated) ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200; 250GB Seagate 5400rpm


Acer Aspire One 532h-2326

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 7Battery 9Support 6