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on July 13, 2011
Netbooks have never really thrilled me mainly because of processor limitations and cramped keyboards but I decided to give the Acer D257 a shot mainly because my local Walmart was pushing the out the door for less than $230 to make room for a new supply coming in (odd since mine is date stamped for less than a month ago).

From the outside first appearances will tell you it's a netbook just like any of the others out there, but looks are deceiving.

Your first hint that something is different is in the top lid design. What appears to be a ripple design is actually embossed and can be felt when running your hand over it. For those of you that like to put cover stickers on top, you can kiss that idea goodbye.

Most will immediately notice the weight, or lack thereof. With the 3 cell battery installed my postal meter shows it coming in at 2 pounds, 3 ounces. Add another 8 ounces if you opt for the 6 cell battery (and you probably will, more on that later).

You've seen the specs before -- 1.66 Intel Atom processor, 1GB RAM, VGA port, card reader, 10.1 inch TFT screen, Windows 7 Starter, 3 USB ports, blah, blah.

Again this is deceiving but even I didn't spot the differences until I started using it. The first difference is the DDR3 1GHz RAM. Most other units tone down their RAM to either 800HMz DDR2 or use slower DDR3 variations.

And this does show in performance, but it's still a little light. 2GB is more appropriate but I'll discuss that issue later. Due to issues with upgrading RAM I went ahead and installed a 4GB flash card in the slot and told Windows to use it as extra RAM.

Overall, RAM usage stayed in the 60 to 70% range when surfing and/or watching videos. This doesn't leave much horsepower for anything else but what else do you plan to do on such a small unit?

The second obvious difference is the processor. Yes, it's an Atom dual core, but it also appears to support hyperthreading, something that is usually lacking. I discovered this upon installing the desktop widget that monitors the CPU. Instead of showing dual cores, it shows a quad core setup. This means it rarely pegs 50% CPU usage and is usually down in the low 20% for most work.

As an experiment I installed Corel WordPerfect and Dragon Naturally Speaking. The latter program is famous for making computers with low specs cry uncle and I added Corel just so Dragon would open it, too (thereby creating a double whammy stress on resources). My previous netbook would give up an die about the time I opened Dragon.

This Acer didn't. Dragon and Corel opened up just fine and, in fact, I'm using both right now to dictate this review.

As for video playback I received another pleasant surprise with this unit. My previous netbook couldn't and wouldn't play any video above 240p and was choppy at that level.

Although this unit defaults to 360p you can go ahead and crank it up to 720p without hesitation or stuttering. Rather impressive, although the Windows score is rated at 2.0 because it lacks 3D and some video support (those in the know ignore this figure anyway).

As for speed, it's just as quick as my Lenovo laptop with 7 Professional and 8GB RAM, but Starter undoubtedly has something to do with this. Without all that extra Aero jazz and background interference, Starter is bound to be a little quicker.

Oddly, it does boot to a usable desktop within 1.5 minutes or less, about half a minute quicker than my Lenovo.

But speed and video capability do come at a price. Battery life is somewhat abysmal, especially with the 3 cell battery. It can and does conk out after about 2.5 to 3 hours and the purported claims of 4 hours must be at idle while doing nothing; however, my 6 cell battery returns nearly 8 hours of time on a charge. The really adventurous can get a 9 cell battery that alleges 12 hours of use but also adds nearly another pound to the package.

For those opting to travel with the plug keep in mind that Acer still uses the standard power cord and users have to attach the power plug assembly for their country. In the U.S. this is a standard two prong connector but using one power cord with different connectors means extra bulk. In fact, the power assembly weighs nearly 3 times as much as the battery and could easily be smaller.

Users wanting something different can also find versions running MeeGo Linux or Android along with Windows but I haven't been able to get more than one OS to run at any given time. Most in the U.S. at this time appear to be Windows based although EBay does have a few international versions with different OS.

Also, contrary to belief, Starter is not completely stripped. It does come with Windows Media Player (some reviewers state it doesn't) and you can open more than 3 programs at once (that was an old MS limitation). True, you can't change the desktop background but I'm usually busy doing other things to look.

So, cutting to the chase here are the good points:

* Lightweight. Sub 3 pounds with 6 cell battery and barely over 2 with standard 3 cell
* Thin. I swear it can't be more than an inch thick
* 250GB HDD instead of the usual 160GB
* Oddly quiet. I have to strain to hear the fan running most of the time. Usually netbooks are noisy and even the HDD is quiet in this unit
* Wireless includes N. Most stop at G.
* It can sense with the power connector is loose and will beep to let you know it's not connected all the way (but only if the connector is still making partial contact).
* Dual core processor with hyperthreading is unique. Most stop with just the dual core and leave it at that
* DDR3 RAM, although limited to 1GB, is sufficient for the tasks I've put it through
* Unique cover design
* Solid construction with no creaking or cracking and limited screen flex
* Decent performance, especially video
* Cheap compared to tablets that are taking over the market. $240 for an ultraportable is nearly unheard of and a similar computer just 10 years ago from Dell or the like would have set you back $2,000.
* Keyboard that is actually pleasurable to use. I rarely had a mistype.
* Mouse/trackpad with the same pinch and squeeze features found on Apples. At least Acer got away from previous designs with the buttons on the side. While these finger movements may seem minor, they do come in handy for when screen print is small.

Not everything is perfect and there are flaws:

* Bottom firing speakers mean tinny and muffled sound
* Even Acer is confused with this model. The website states it's a single core model when it's actually dual core (and, yes, I did get the right model variation).
* No HDMI port for those desiring such nor is there Bluetooth capability
* Changing RAM or hard drive requires the removal of 6 screws on the bottom (2 of which are covered by the rubber feet), removal of the keyboard, yet another 6 screws and a metal plate. Screw any of these up and you're out of luck.
* Quirky battery life, at least with 3 cell. Prone to dropping a half hour after just a couple minutes use so it's really difficult to gauge when you need to find an outlet or call it quits.
* The two right side USB ports and next to each other. Fat dongles need not apply
* Surefire fingerprint magnet on the cover although keyboard surfaces are roughly finished
* Incredible amount of bloatware including anti-virus and Microsoft Office trials plus 22 Acer games that had to be removed.
* My unit is date stamped June, 2011 (the 19th to be exact) and today is the 12th of July so why did I already have over 250MB of updates waiting in the pipes?
* Watching videos turns up the heat to the point the bottom is really hot. Since most of the vents are bottom firing you can see where this presents problems. Adding the bulk of the 6 cell battery elevated the rear end and kept the heat done somewhat.
Overall, I give this unit a high rating but those interested might want to act quickly. Netbooks are a dying breed and may be replaced by tablets in the near future (might also explain with the prices are dropping, too).
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on November 26, 2011
I got this on Black Friday this year for a very good price...however, even at almost 40% off the retail price, I cannot recommend this laptop to anyone.

Right out of the box, the laptop would freeze up every 2-3 hours for no reason, no error message, no blue screen of death. Did I get a defective one? Nope. A google search for "acer d257 freeze" will show you that this is NOT an isolated incident, and the common theories among owners are either a wireless adapter issue or cooling issue is causing the crashes.

Updating drivers and BIOS did nothing to help my problem. Removing all the bloatware and upgrading to Windows 7 Professional did not solve the problem. Apparently, the only working solution people have found is to install linux (which further supports theories that this is a driver issue). I love Linux, but that is not an acceptable solution. This laptop has been out since June, it is disappointing that no update or patch has been released on Acer's website to fix this problem.

Given how common this problem appears to be, Acer should never have released this onto the market without the proper testing. People have reported complaining about this, having it sent back to the manufacturer and returned several weeks later only to STILL have the same problem. While everything else is almost perfect with this laptop, repeated crashes are simply unacceptable.

After less than 24 hours, killer deal or not, I returned this.
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on October 23, 2011
The computer is OK and working fine except that the battery is not holding the charge. I can charge it fully, store it and the next day the battery is dead. I tried to recalibrate it by fully charging it and letting it drain completely and then charged it again to no avail. I think I either got a bad or previously used battery. I would have given it five stars if not for the defective battery.
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on July 8, 2011
this is a great netbook and defnitley a steal at the price and insted of me going on on and on about my peryosonal things i do ill just give you a pros and cons list


- Nice keyboard
- Good Feel
- windows 7 starter easy to use
- Really Fast
- Nice and Bright
- better than my sister Toshiba that she paid 50 more dollars for
- a lot of storage
- light weight
- best deal out there
- nice speakers

(note all or most can be dealt with fairly easy)

-Glossy Screen show finger prints
- no product manual for it
- 1 1/2 hour tops battery life
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on November 21, 2011
I just bought this at walmart, because it's the only mini laptop they had and I really needed one. I have owned dells, gateways, HP's, Compaqs, Sonys just for the record, and this computer works just as good as the top brands. This computer is awesome, its very thin, and works quickly, I don't game or anything, I just use it for general purposes, and for work... I love it, The style is great and the price was great for all It comes with... I am satisfied, but I still wish it had a CD drive... These mini laptops are awesome, there very lightweight and have a sleek style, and they work great, I work at a computer place and I'm constantly using this computer to download drivers, software and other things... I am a happy customer...
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on June 22, 2011
I went back and forth between different models until I got sold on the AOD257 for the processor. It ships with a 3 cell battery, that was the first "oops" for me, but it is clear in the description that they use that one, so that was my fault. I think the basis of my dissatisfaction with this unit rides on my assumption that they'd keep the good points of the previous models and move forward with improvements. Going from a 6 cell to a 3 cell isn't an improvement.

Neither is making the memory hard to upgrade. Acer doesn't even show this model on their support website, and when I got through to a chat guy, he said they don't recommend users upgrading the ram. Previous models had a nice little hatch where 4 screws later you had a 2 gig, this one appears like I'm going to have to pry the keyboard off and get to it that way. I wouldn't know, since there are no schematics or manual online or shipped with it.

My innermost box was crumpled up a bit. There wasn't a lot of extra room or padding in the box, but it might have been that way before shipping. The computer was ok, but it did make me worry. Sound is tinny, quiet, and has a little distortion to it but sounds much better in headphones. Red cover shows fingerprints pretty easily, but unless you're on the lam, it doesn't really matter. The battery is hard to remove.

That said, it runs ok so far. Starts quickly and is very light. Power button takes a firm push, probably a positive. The screen seems bright and clear and the colors are rich.

I'm sure I'll like it, but it's going to bug me until it has the full 2gig of ram.
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on August 27, 2011
I'm not terribly tech literate and this is the first netbook I've ever owned, so I'm afraid I can't compare it to anything in this review, but I love my AOD257. I thought I'd probably still use my (old) pc most of the time, at home, but love my netbook so much, and have become so accustomed to the smaller keyboard, that my PC has mostly become my stereo these days.

The only criticism I have (and it might be something that I just don't know how to do) is that I'd like to be able to turn off the touchpad when I'm using a mouse, as I sometimes accidentally hit the touchpad with my thumb and end up doing something I didn't mean to do.
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on January 2, 2012
This review is intended for the Acer D257-13404 Netbook.

My model has the single core Intel Atom N455 1.66GHz processor, 250GB HD, and a 3 cell battery. I got got this specific one on Black Friday as a midnight doorbuster for about $157. Based on that price I think this is worth 5 stars.

I also upgraded the 1GB RAM to 2GB for about $12. I couldn't set up and play around as much since I had to wrap it up for wifey for Xmas though. It actually turned out to be a great thing! The reason was this laptop had that notorious "Acer D257 Freeze". I didn't notice it when I changed the RAM and smoke tested things because I only left it on for a short period. I got a chance to really work this netbook once my wife opened her present up. I started loading iTunes and other software. I started experiencing random freeze ups. I thought it was the RAM at first and then maybe overheating. Luckily I was reading a past review regarding this freeze on Amazon so I did more searching. There were a few good tips regarding Wireless Lan driver updates. I did stumble on another search that reported a recent (December) BIOS update for this netbook. I downloaded and applied it (VERY EASY) and voila! It did the trick! I thought this netbook was a dud. After updating the BIOS to version 1.15 its been freeze-free! I was very relieved.

Its been running as a workhorse for internet browsing and watching Netflix for wifey. She LOVES it. It does all the things she needs to do so it becomes a perfect companion for her 17" laptop which is just too big to lug around. This thing is so light too and compact. The 10.1" is great for her watching youtube and Netflix. I even use it occasionally and its been surprisingly usable...I am usually on my i7 desktop. I can type on this pretty well too, something I was skeptical about (typing this review on this Netbook).

One con is that the integrated graphics driver will struggle on HD content. When watching Netflix content, just disable the HD stream option and everything works like a champ and the picture quality is still more than acceptable since its 10.1" screen anyway.

Based on the basic specs and bargain price, this Netbook is not a replacement for a desktop. However, it can handle more than just the minimum tasks and its pretty stylish. I plan on getting a second larger battery for longer travel and the best part is the total cost of battery and the memory should still fall around $200. My wife was ecstatic at her cute present and my expectations for this baseline netbook was exceeded. Just remember to set your expectations for Netbooks and you won't be disappointed.
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on December 2, 2011
Like others, I bought this on Black Friday for nearly 50% off. It is a great product for the price. That said, you would benefit greatly from a memory upgrade. 2GB of RAM for this laptop cost $13 at the time of this review. It made an instant improvement on the Acer One's performance.
Windows 7 Starter has its idiosyncrasies but is tolerable since it tends to err on the side of performance. Before the memory upgrade, the memory usage sat around 60-70% even under idle conditions. After the upgrade, it sits well below 40%. The laptop can bog down if you have a lot of browser tabs open while trying to install programs or watch videos. But the processors handle most loads rather well. Having a dual core hyperthreading Atom processor is quite remarkable for such a cheap netbook.

The keyboard is great for a netbook keyboard. The multitouch track pad is works rather well but it's no Mac. The screen looks great. The battery life is quite good for a small netbook (1.5-2.5 hrs, depending on work load).

This is a well designed machine and perfect for the traveler. For the price, I'm impressed so far!
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on November 29, 2011
I purchased my D257 at a department store on black Friday. I have been using it for approximately 4 days and this is my opinion thus far. First, build. I love the portability, plus the keyboard is not too small. Typing is comfortable. I have learned some short cut keys (such as F11) to make full use of the smaller screen. It comes with a 3 cell battery which is the smallest it gets for 10.1. Thus, the battery only lasts around 2.5 hours. But, I plan on upgrading to a 9 cell battery when the price is right. It does not have a cd player. There are no hidden annoyances (flashy lights, sounds, weird angles) about this netbook for me.

Second, the computer. You should know it has Windows 7 Starter. Which is a lighter version of regular Windows. Key differences being it has limited versions of word, excel, etc. And, it is not as customizeable(background changing, etc). However, I found a background force changer online which works great. Also, I have purchased a 2g RAM for around $18 which is on its way. Installation looks to be a bit more involved than the average RAM upgrade. Right now with the 1 gig RAM, the computer is not what I would call slow. Most youtube vids are smooth. I had windows music player going, browsing google chrome, calculator, and notepad open and it was chugging along fine. Back to Windows 7 starter, I have an additional computer for the word and excel stuff for school. So full windows isn't necessary for me here. But, I believe the cheapest upgrade right now is around $90.

All in all, very pleased with this laptop.
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