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Acer Aspire One 751h review: Acer Aspire One 751h

Acer Aspire One 751h

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
5 min read

The definition of a Netbook keeps getting fuzzier around the edges, with displays growing from the original 7-inch designs, and the selection of CPUs expanding to include Intel, AMD, and Via. If we are to take 12-inch systems such as the HP dv2 and Samsung NC20 as Netbooks (we've so far let them slip in under the wire), than an 11.6-inch model is a sure thing.


Acer Aspire One 751h

The Good

Big (for a Netbook) 11.6-inch display; great keyboard.

The Bad

Slower version of the Intel Atom CPU makes even basic tasks annoyingly laggy.

The Bottom Line

Acer's 11.6-inch Aspire One AO751h might usher in a new standard for Netbook sizes, but the slower-than-usual processor can lead to frustration.

We found the slightly larger chassis of the $379 Acer Aspire One AO751h-1545 to be an excellent compromise between size and usability, and we could see this becoming a popular choice. The catch is that Acer has decided to use the 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520 as its CPU, instead of the faster (and much more common) 1.6GHz Atom N270 version.

It doesn't make for a huge difference in raw performance, but in an already pokey Netbook, and powering a higher-res 1,366x768 display, it made the Aspire One AO751h just slow enough to be noticeably annoying--so much so that we got frustrated with it on a regular basis.

Interestingly, Acer is working on a potentially much faster 11.6-inch system with an Intel ULV processor, purportedly to be called the Acer Timeline 1810T.

Starting with a body that reminds us the newest generation of slimmed-down Netbooks, such as the Asus Eee PC 1005HA and the Acer Aspire One D250, and stretching it to accommodate a larger display, Acer has managed to create a system that's nearly as thin and attractive as the very expensive ultraportables of old (if only old in laptop industry terms). Our matte gray and glossy black review unit had a buttoned-down, businesslike feel, as opposed to the bright colors used on some of Acer's traditional 10-inch Netbooks.

The wide, flat keys are similar to what you'd find on Apple and Sony laptops--or current Netbooks from Asus. The keyboard extends nearly edge-to-edge, so there's enough room for full-size Shift and backspace keys, as well as dedicated page-up and page-down keys. The touchpad, however, was surprisingly small--it's usable, but we're currently partial to the oversized one on the Toshiba NB205.

The 11.6-inch wide-screen LED display offers a 1,366x768 native resolution, which is a nice upgrade from the typical 1,024x600 found in most Netbooks. On the larger 11.6-inch screen, it gave us enough desktop real estate without making text and icons too small to read. Sony is moving in the same direction and is planning to offer 13x7 displays in the upcoming 10-inch Vaio W Netbook.

You won't find any high-end extras in the Aspire One AO751h's ports and connection--not even Bluetooth. Hypothetically, the larger body could make it easier to include ExpressCard slots, although for less than $400, there's only so much one can expect.

What we did expect, however, was a relatively typical Netbook usage experience. That means a system that can perform basic chores--Web surfing, e-mail, some productivity apps, light multimedia--with a minimum of fuss. Instead, thanks to the slower 1.33GHz Z520 version of Intel's Atom CPU (instead of the usual 1.6GHz N270 version), actually using the Aspire One AO751h proved to be a frustrating experience.

Achieving Netbook satisfaction requires a fairly modest set of expectations, but even with that in mind, the AO751h was sluggish when compared with other similar systems. In our benchmark tests it fell well behind N270 and N280 Netbooks, and in anecdotal use it felt just slow enough to be aggravating. While the actual differences can be measured in seconds, we still felt like tossing the thing out of a window a few times.

Juice box
Acer Aspire One AO751h Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.35
Sleep (10 percent) 0.56
Idle (15 percent) 7.76
Load (15 percent) 15.26
Raw kWh 26.01
Annual energy cost $2.95

The Aspire One AO751h ran for 6 hours and 24 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, using the included six-cell battery. That's an impressive score, and one of the best we've seen for Netbooks. However, this requires a bulky extended battery that sticks out from the back of the system.

Acer includes an industry-standard one-year parts-and-labor warranty with the system. Support is accessible through a 24-7 toll-free phone line (the number is hard to find--it's 1-800-816-2237), an online knowledge base, and driver downloads. Acer seems to have taken a few steps backward, however, in its Web-based support. You'll have to navigate a confusing array of menus to find useful information (and the site keeps asking for your serial number)--although the driver downloads are laid out nicely by model number.

Jalbum photo conversion test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

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.

System configurations:

Acer Aspire One AO751h-1545
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 8MB Mobile Intel GMA 500; 160GB Seagate 5400rpm

HP Mini 110
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Seagate 5400rpm

Toshiba Mini NB205
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Toshiba 5400rpm

Yukyung Viliv S5
Windows XP Home SP3, 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z520, 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz, Intel GMA 500 24MB Intel GMA 500 , 60GB Samsung 4200rpm,

Asus Eee PC 1005HA
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 224MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Hitachi 5400rpm GMA 950, 160GB Fujitsu, 5400rpm


Acer Aspire One 751h

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 6Performance 4Battery 9Support 5