Top positive review
34 people found this helpful
on April 11, 2012
April 11, 2012: I just bought this netbook from a local retailer and I'm quite impressed so far. I spent most of the first evening removing the baitware, bloatware, crapware, and crippleware that comes with every new PC. I got rid of Norton and installed MS Security Essentials. I either removed manufacturer's and retailer's custom software, or stopped it from loading. I also installed the full MS Office 2010 package, which I need for work. I have a 2 GB RAM module on order, and I'll update my review when I install that. Windows 7 Starter is limited to 2 GB of RAM. Even with just 1 GB of RAM, I haven't notice any issues. But, I'm sure doubling the RAM will help. Installation may be a bit of a challenge, but others have done the upgrade. Keep in mind this notebook is essentially an Acer Aspire One AOD270, especially when looking for instructions on how to upgrade the RAM. There are some youtube videos that will help. I also plugged a 4 GB SDHC Class 10 card in the card slot for RAM ReadyBoost. If I'm missing anything essential by having only Windows 7 Starter, I haven't noticed it yet. Once cleaned up and properly configured, it boots and runs fast enough for the netbook that it is. Keep it simple. By the way, my Gateway netbook (manufactured in Feb 2012) came with a 320 GB hard drive, vice the 250 GB advertised and shown on the box.
Every PC is a compromise. More features and capability mean larger size, more weight, greater power consumption, and higher cost. I was considering a tablet, but I must have a real keyboard for what I do. I'm also concerned that most tablets have little upgrade potential, and batteries that probably can't be replaced by the owner. A main limitation with any netbook is the reduced vertical screen display. But, that's a compromise to stay within the 10 inch diagonal display area. When shopping for a compact, carry-anywhere PC, identify your "must-haves" (like a keyboard and replaceable battery), and those things you can live without (like game-playing and videos). You can stuff this computer in a small carry-on bag, open it up in the middle seat on an airplane, and use it on the tray table. I haven't used it on battery power for very long, but battery life looks to be close to advertised. Once configured properly, this netbook offers a tremendous amount of capability in a very small, lightweight, easily portable, and inexpensive package.
April 16, 2012: My 2 GB RAM arrived today, and I installed it in about 15 minutes. Remove the battery. Then partially remove the keyboard. There are five plastic tabs along the top, and one on each side (at the Tab and Back Space keys) holding the keyboard on. I used two .010 feeler gauges to push back the tabs and carefully pry up the keyboard. The keyboard is a tight fit in the chassis, and it's a bit of challenge to slip a tool between the keyboard and the chassis to free it. There is no real need to completely remove the keyboard, but there is a micro plug and socket connecting it to the motherboard. Once the keyboard is free, there are five screws that are marked "Door" under the keyboard. Three are at the top, and two are at the bottom. Remove the screws. Then there is a small rectangular opening that is marked "Door Release" at the lower right hand under the keyboard. Once all five screws are removed, insert a small screwdriver or other small push tool in the rectangular opening and push the bottom panel, or "door" loose. There are several plastic tabs around the perimeter also holding the door in place. Turn the computer over, and carefully pry the door off. Once the door is off, you'll see the RAM module at the upper left. Push back the two prongs holding the RAM module in place, and the RAM module will pop up. Remove and replace the RAM module. Make sure you're grounded or not statically charged, so as not to zap the RAM! Replace the door, snap it back in place (press the door edges under the tabs around the perimeter), replace the screws, turn the computer over, and replace the keyboard. Be sure to snap the keyboard back under all the tabs at the top and sides. This may require some force to make the keyboard lock in place and lie flat.
I replaced the battery, booted the computer, and it reported 2 GB RAM. The CPU and RAM Meter desktop gadget previously showed about 70-80 percent of the 1 GB RAM was in use even at idle. With 2 GB of RAM, the usage dropped to 32-35 percent at idle. One GB of RAM may be just enough for most usage, but I like having 2 GBs for the extra margin! All in all, this is a pretty easy job, compared to other PC upgrades and repairs I have accomplished. The most important part is to be careful when freeing the keyboard.
It's too bad the computer didn't ship with 2 GB of RAM. The 1 GB and 2 GB RAM modules are priced the same. I suspect it's a deliberate Intel and/or Microsoft limitation to make you want to upgrade to a more expensive processor and/or operating system.
August 29, 2012: For grins, I replaced the 320 GB HDD with a 256 GB SSD. Removing the keyboard a second time went much faster. I simply slid a .010 feeler gauge around the top and sides, and pried up the keyboard. I removed the 5 screws and popped off the back panel. The hard drive pried out pretty easily. I installed the SDD. I had previously cloned the new drive using an external USB hard drive adapter and Macrium Reflect Free software. I put everything back together, and the computer booted right up, with all my previously installed programs working. Hard drive performance, as reported by the Windows Experience Index went from 5.7 to 6.9. Overall system performance is still 3.2, dictated by the graphics. I don't really recommend this upgrade, since the benefits versus cost probably don't justify it. All in all, this is an easy PC to upgrade the hardware.
One of the major big box retailers has been selling the Acer equivalent of this PC for $200. That's really a bargain! You might also consider the Acer 11.6 inch netbooks. I've seen them advertised for $280. They have full Windows 7, 64 bit. I recently purchased a Nexus 7 tablet, and I'm really pleased with it. But, the Acer/Gateway 10 inch netbook still probably offers the best capabilities for the money, espcially at $200!