on October 24, 2011
This 11.6" 1.0Ghz [1.33 turbo] netbook packs a punch for its size and low power consumption. The AMD C-60 mobile dual core processor runs well enough to play videos without skipping and efficiently enough to stay charged for as much as 7 hours. I opted for this model over the earlier 722-454 version for several reasons: its dual core processor, 2GB of RAM installed/ upgradable to 4GB, and 320GB hard drive.
If you're still not sold on a netbook over a tablet or standard laptop read on.
Tablets are still recreational devices, fun, chic in cafes, but they're still mostly for playing games and looking busier than you actually are. They have a few practical features, but all require a keyboard, which is an extra expense, and conveniently included with a netbook! If you do a lot of writing, typing, or work related proposals and editing, the DataViz optional word processor for Android tablets won't replace MS Office. It has limited functionality and frequently crashes without auto-saving. If you're thinking about an iPad or AirBook, remember, you're buying into a complete product line of computers, music, videos and applications which are virtually useless on non-Apple devices. If you buy one Apple product, you have to buy them all. This is great for some, but expensive for most.
As I said, if you're comparing this netbook to a traditional laptop, this model doesn't require you to make a lot of sacrifices in your performance expectations. Just remember, netbooks don't have CD/DVD drives, no 10-key, and smaller screens. One complaint I have with this model is that it's missing a built-in bluetooth antenna. Irritating, but easily remedied with a low-profile USB dongle in one of the three available USB ports, which is more than on most netbooks. I would recommend spending the extra $25 to upgrade the RAM to 4GB when you purchase it. It's very easy to install yourself--no under the keyboard poking around required. There's a single philip's head screw in the middle of the bottom plate, unscrew it, slide forward and you'll find the single DIMM looking right at you. Anybody who played with shape blocks as a kid can figure it out. All in all, this is a good buy for 329.99. It's cheaper than most tablets and standard laptops and you can use it for actual work out of the box, no extra $50 keyboards required. Please reply if you have any other questions I can answer.
on October 31, 2011
I recently started looking at Netbooks when I first saw a Toshiba NB505 in a local store and almost purchased it. Fortunately I decided to look into them a little more before buying one. Like all computers two of the most important components for me are the processor and the ram. The Acer Aspire One AO722 is one of the few netbooks offering a dual core processor, up-gradable memory and Windows 7 Home (not Starter).
After being scared off by reviews from other netbook products (including some from Acer) complaining about long boot up times, slow performance etc.. I decided to try this unit. So far it has exceeded my expectations in every way (keeping in mind that it is a netbook and not a mini-laptop). In fact several times I have found my wife favoring it over her newer HP laptop. Right out of the box (with 2GB of Ram) it was streaming Netflix video with no hesitation, skipping or jerking. I have since upgraded the Ram to 4 GB and it still performs super. As for speed it boots to the windows login screen in 30 seconds or less and including typing in my password windows is open and fully functioning within 45 second of powering the unit on (neither my desktop or my wifes laptop can boot up that quickly).
Windows 7 Home (not Starter)
Dual Core Processor
320 GB Hard Drive
Long Battery Life
Epresso Black Finish easily shows fingerprints
Speaker volume not very loud - even at full volume
Some noticeable keyboard flex while typing - although does not effect performance
All in all a great netbook for a good price. Like all netbooks just keep in mind that it is a netbook (limited multi-tasking)and not a miniature laptop. Use it accordingly and I am sure you love it. Buying your first netbook is confusing and a bit overwhelming but it is hard to see where you could go wrong with the ACER AO722.
on October 16, 2011
I was very happy with my 10.1" Asus 1001P-PU17 but I cracked the screen while on vacation and need a replacement fast. While browsing Amazon I noticed this Acer was a bigger screen, more RAM and a bigger HD (320GB vs 250GB Asus) another big plus was Windows 7 Home Premium instead of Windows starter for just a few dollars more than the Asus sell for. I am extremely happy with it so far. It is actually lighter and thinner than the Asus and the battery life is about 6hrs (which is less than the Asus so that is the one compromise I made). The screen is very crisp and Netflix looks really clear. Highly recommended and this time I bought accidental protection for $25 through Safeware. The only negative is the glossy case - I would have much preferred something textured that does not show smudges.
on November 10, 2011
I'll get straight to the punch--this is the best all-around netbook available. It's the perfect combination of price and performance. Battery life is as good as advertised and the screen is crisp. However, while it performs admirably right out of the box, I have some tweaks you can make to turn this into a real road warrior.
1. Swap out the 2GB stick for a 4GB stick. This is the cheapest and easiest fix. 4GB memory sticks run about $20-$25, and accessing the ram (and hard drive) is very easy. There's one small screw on the back that holds on a slide-off cover. Beneath the cover, the hard drive and ram are easily accessible. Just make sure you have the right size screwdriver, as the screw is easily stripped.
2. Swap out the stock 5400rpm hard drive for a Solid State Drive. Yes, they're expensive, but the performance benefit is significant. I opted for a 64GB Crucial M4, which runs about $120. After re-installing the OS, there was about 47GBs of space remaining. Windows 7 gives it a score of 7.7 out of 7.9. SSDs greatly reduce the boot time, time to launch applications, and time to go in/out of sleep. The lack of moving parts also means increased battery life.
3. Complete a clean install of the OS. As expected, there's some unnecessary bloatware. A fresh install will eliminate the bloat and give a slight performance boost. All the necessary drivers are available on Acer's website. You'll need to install drivers for the ethernet port, wireless card, touchpad, and webcam. The touchpad is functional without the driver but its scrolling performance isn't that great until you install the driver. You'll also have to install "Launch Manager" to use Acer's built in keyboard shortcuts for turning on and off wi-fi. I would recommend downloading them BEFORE you do a new OS install, as the LAN and wireless card will not function until the driver is installed. Just toss them on a flash drive and have them available after you install the OS.
The netbook was great before the changes. After, it's simply amazing. I NEVER expected this type of performance from a so-called netbook. I initially purchased it for grad school (class notes, papers, etc...) but its quickly become my daily driver. I was getting just over 5 hours before I made the tweaks. Now I get 7+ easy on the "balanced" power setting. I still get just over 5 on "high performance." A couple other misc. items:
-As noted by others, the outer panel is a fingerprint magnet. So what.
-It's virtually silent. My first laptop, a Pentium 4 behemoth from 2004, sounded like a jet-engine prepping for takeoff.
-Don't be fooled by the low (1Ghz) clock speed. This thing cruises for most everyday tasks. That said, don't expect to sequence the human genome on it.
-Some people report issues playing HD video, both 720p and 1080p. I have not had any issues, even before I made the upgrades. Netlfix HD, Hulu HD, and Youtube HD all perform wonderfully. I watched the whole first season of "The League" in HD without any hiccups. The 1366x768 resolution screen is excellent.
-After upgrades, it goes from hitting the power button to the log-in screen in about 30 seconds. It goes in/out of sleep in about 3 seconds.
-Intermittent use on the "power saver" setting nets 10+ hours of battery life. I've been able to leave it unplugged and check my e-mail, facebook, etc... from morning to night without having to charge.
Final thoughts...If you're willing to spend a little extra on upgrades, and you aren't expecting to play Crysis on it, this netbook is probably one of the best values available. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments. I'd be glad to help if you have questions about upgrades, performance, etc...
on December 9, 2011
I had never considered buying a Netbook before, but this little baby performs very well. I love the screen. 11.6 inches is just right. The full size keyboard is also great. The full 64-bit version of Windows 7 is also very nice to have.
If I have any complaint, it would be that the sound through the built-in speakers is a little weak.
I decided to upgrade from 2GB of RAM to 4GB as many have suggested. I knew this would improve performance and help with battery life as well, since there would be less hard disk thrashing. I visited the Acer website and found that this computer supports up to 4GB of PC3 8500 RAM in a single DDR3 memory slot. I opened the back cover and found that it was using 2GB of PC3-10600 RAM. So I found myself in a dilemma. Do I purchase 4GB of PC3-8500 or 4GB of PC3-10600? The 8500 has slightly lower latency but also slower data throughput than the 10600. But if the netbook only uses the 8500 clock-rate, then it shouldn't matter which one I get. The scientist in me decided to buy both kinds and benchmark the performance of each. Here is my experiment:
Baseline - Acer netbook with original 2GB of PC3-10600 RAM
Upgrade 1 - Acer netbook with 4GB of Kingston PC3-8500 RAM (cost $20)
Upgrade 2 - Acer netbook with 4GB of G.Skill PC3-10600 RAM (cost $20)
I ran two different benchmarks in each case:
Benchmark 1 - Windows Experience Index, Memory Score
Benchmark 2 - PCMark7 Basic Score
. . . . . . Benchmark 1 . Benchmark 2
Baseline . . . 5.1 . . . . 626 PCMarks
Upgrade1 . . . 5.2 . . . . 668 PCMarks
Upgrade2 . . . 5.2 . . . . 648 PCMarks
I ran the tests several times and the PCMark7 results changed a little each time, but generally with similar results. Looks like the netbook memory clock rate is set at the 8500 timings (1066 MHz) and does not increase to 1333 MHz in the presence of 10600 memory. The results also indicate that the PC3-8500 Kingston memory outperforms the PC3-10600 G.Skill memory, but only slightly. Seeing that prices for the two are the same, go for the PC3-8500 RAM.
on November 6, 2011
Typically when using a netbook, you are giving up the performance and features of a full sized netbook. However this netbook is at the top if its class when it comes to netbooks, and its capabilities are nearing those of a full size laptop. This netbook features a dual core high end netbook processor with integrated ATI graphics utilizing 256MB dedicated RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, has 2GB RAM standard, a 320GB HDD, and 1366 X 768 resolution screen. These specs are actually approaching the specs of a regular notebook.
Today I, purchased two of these netbooks today at Target. Sale price of $198, then 5% off using a Target card, and another 5% off for using a Target pharmacy rewards coupon. So I scored each one for $178. A tremendous deal. I set them both up today, one for my 9 yr old daughter to do basic learning activities and simple paper writing on, and one for my wife who travels from clinic to clinic and wanted something super light.
I am impressed. Even out of the box, with the standard 2GB of RAM, this machine seems more than adequate to do basic tasks. It certainly does web browsing, email, Microsoft Word and Excel with ease and no hesitation.
Like others, with the price of RAM so cheap, I'll be installing a 4GB RAM SODIMM to get that little bit of extra performance. Which brings up another point, this netbook is EASILY upgradeable. The entire back cover comes off with one screw. Easy access to the RAM, HDD, and even an empty mini PCIe slot.
Update 25 Nov 2011:
It has been 3 weeks now since I have had this netbook. No complaints so far. I did the RAM upgrade, which has increased performance a small bit. The biggest performance improvements were to uninstall all bloatware and the antivirus that it shipped with. I installed Microsoft Security Essentials which is a lightweight basic antivirus/antimalware product provided free by Microsoft.
I decided I wanted integrated Bluetooth. Since the chipset used for the original wireless WiFi is Atheros, I decided I should find an Atheros solution to thwart off any possibility of compatibility problems. A search on the internet for mini PCIe Atheros came up with some listings on Ebay. The one I settled on is an Atheros AR5B195 Wireless + Bluetooth Half Mini PCI-E Card for $21 including shipping.
The combo WiFi/Bluetooth card arrived a few days ago and I installed it. It was a very simple procedure to remove the existing wireless card (open the case, pop off the antennae leads, remove the hold down screw) Reverse the procedure to install the new card. The new card also has two antennae connections. WiFi and Bluetooth share the antennae.
Two sets of drivers are needed. The Atheros Bluetooth drivers can be found on the Acer Aspire One AO722 drivers section. The Atheros WiFi drivers were a bit hard to find. I tried several different ones before I had success. The successful driver was a Dell DW1702 wireless card driver. R301705.exe. The driver did not want to initially install probably because the driver package was looking for a Dell machine. So what I did was go to the device manager, pick the network device not working (our new Atheros card) and install the driver by hand by pointing to the Dell driver directory. Voila, the driver installed. As soon as the driver was installed, wireless was again available.
Everything appears to be working fine. I can now use a Bluetooth mouse without a dongle!
Update Dec 14, 2011
Microsoft has just released Silverlight 5 which utilizes GPU acceleration. Now Netflix is actually usable! HD content appeared to be missing frames, but SD content plays fine.
on October 25, 2011
I was initially looking at the 722-454 version, but had a difficult time finding it locally in the SF Bay Area. Upon a visit to family in the Vallejo area I happened to find one at the local Target store but saw the 722-473 in the case with the 454's. A quick comparo of the features sold me on the 473 at $299 vs. $259 for the 454. So if you are looking for the best price on one of these, it seems Target has the online guys beat by about $30 and is a local buy with easy refund/exchange in any Target store if anything goes pear-shaped.
But so far this thing is fantastic! Easily streams Netflix without studder, boots quickly, and does the basic word processing, spreadsheet, net browsing, email functions I was looking for in a compact/light travel companion. One caveat is that I axed the installed McAfee security suite for the Microsoft Security Essentials and deleted most of the bloatware. It runs as smooth as my Quad-core desktop for basic tasks. So forget the overpriced/overhyped iFads and check one of these out. You will not be dissapointed if you keep expectations in line with what you are paying. For the $$$ spent, I think this is about a good a value as you will find out there at the moment.
on October 29, 2011
I bought this at Target, where it is only $299. saving me $29. It also has a great return/exchange policy. It was easy to set up and runs very nicely--much more quickly than I was led to believe for a netbook. I have already watched video (runs smoothly, no blips). I opted to download Firefox and removed all the extra programs. Avast antivirus is free and doesn't eat up my speed like the McAfee and Norton trials that are preloaded.
It's light and easy to throw in my purse to take with me. Now that my son is in high school and has projects and two online textbooks, we needed another computer. I used this as an opportunity to get a little netbook that I can tote with me everywhere. The display is sharp.
Love, love, love this netbook!
on December 6, 2011
This netbook is perfect for my needs. My needs were:
1 - Compact and lightweight
2 - full operating system
3 - long battery life
4 - keyboard
I toss this computer into my bag whenever I head out to school. It doesn't weigh me down and the entire chasis/frame is smooth; it doesn't have any plastic bits that protrude (which would potentially get snagged on something on the way in/out of my bag and/or break).
On this computer I've installed Windows 7 professional. I'm a student and needed to have access to things like excel, access, word, outlook, pdf documents and internet. This netbook has the horsepower to handle all of these tasks at once; at one point I had about 20 large pdf files open, excel, web browser and word and I was not noticing any significant lag time in switching windows.
I never bring the computer charger with me to school and regularly get between 6-8 hours of life out of the computer.
The keyboard is key for rapidly typing notes; a critical need for me.
Other items that make this computer an excellent purchase for my needs:
1- 11.6 screen size is the sweet spot for working on documents and using the computer for watching tv/movies.
2- The APU (c-60) is efficient for viewing HD content streaming from the internet
3- The trackpad has above average responsiveness and the multitouch features are useful
4- Small features - like the option to disable trackpad (with a simple keystroke) if needed and the ease of opening laptop to make upgrades (one screw and it's open for business) were things that I appreciate but didn't explicitly look for when purchasing
I've upgraded the RAM to 4GB (approx 20$) and installed a SSD (64GB - about 100$) - both enhance performance though the memory probably has a more direct effect.
Simply put - this computer was a perfect match for my needs and the current (approx. 320) price is excellent. However, the sale price (between 200-250) is beyond an excellent value for the dollar. This product has my full endorsement and any prospective buyers with similar needs/expectations should feel confident that this Acer is the right choice.
on December 10, 2011
Please read the follow up, after this paragraph: Bought for a gift, but I went in and setup, cleaned up junk and updated first so I got a little experience with it. For a netbook, it has very good power. Didn't ship with too much junk software, and overall feel of keyboard is good. The only gripe is that there is only ONE RAM slot, so I had to yank the 2gb out to put in the 4gb stick (23 bucks here on amazon). It has a space for the second chip, but not the holder. It did boot up slowly on the first run and updates were slower than a regular computer, but running the web and basic tasks were better than any other netbook I've worked with. The gigabit ethernet port is a nice touch, and Wifi worked perfectly. The larger screen is a plus, making it somewhere between a netbook and a small laptop (closer to a netbook) in performance, size and feel. Good choice for someone who wants a "baby laptop" and finds 8" netbooks too small.
Follow up: The screen quit working, but it works with an external monitor, two months old. Ok, it happens, just inconvenient. So I go to their website, fill out the form for a warranty claim and wait. Couple days later, I check up and it was closed out, no explanation. Can't call them, so I "chat" online with a tech, who basically tells me that they thought I must have cracked the screen so it wouldn't be covered, so they just closed the claim with no notification or explanation to me. They made me send TWO different photos of the unit, to prove I wasn't lying, all while in chat. Now, I'm an IT manager with over two decades experience, and I'm familiar with how to properly debug a system and fill out a warranty claim. This was a case of simply closing the claim hoping I would just buy another cheap system from them. IE: The company must be telling employees that this is the preferred way to deal with warranty on network: deny, then accept. Long story short, they are going to fix it, they are paying all transportation, and I am not likely to ever buy an Acer product again. Do not buy.