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Customer Review

on May 9, 2012
Have been quite impressed so far. Soon after purchase, I re-partitioned the hard drive and installed Ubuntu ([...]) and have been very happy with the results. Ubuntu is happier in the available 1 gigabyte of memory than Windows 7. Since most of my work is online (Google Docs, Zotero, Thunderbird e-mail, Amazon shopping!) the faster and more secure Ubuntu and Google Chrome browser does almost everything I need. For a test, I pulled up and Amazon Instant Video and it seemed to stream fine.

While the summer heat is not yet in full force, I've not had any problems with cooling fan noise as some have reported elsewhere - I have to place my ear next to the vent to tell if it is running. The keyboard is a bit small, but I am adjusting to it and can type *much* faster than my iPad-toting friends. The size of the keys is not really the problem, as my wife's much smaller fingers are still learning the slightly different layout - but the keyboard is still quite good for this price-level. I usually plug in a mouse (another productivity advantage over tablets), but have found the touch pad quite usable. The touch pad auto-disable-while-typing feature works fairly well, but it is still nice to have the keyboard shortcut to quickly disable the touch pad.

I cringed a bit when I realized I had ordered the glossy screen version, and *might* have shelled out the extra $30 to get a matte-finish screen, but so far had no problems with reflections and am pleased with the crispness of the display. The screen height is, however, the biggest shortcoming of this netbook. At only 600 pixel high, I have had several times where dialog pop-ups would extend down off the bottom of the viewable area with no apparent way to get to the lower controls. This happens more in Ubuntu, but plagues Windows too. Sometimes, the arrow or tab keys resolve the issue, but some form of larger virtual desktop area would be nice (or just more vertical pixels!). I have found myself employing the F11-full-screen mode of Chrome to see more of web pages.

Some of the YouTube un-boxing videos showed an included neoprene sleeve to protect the netbook during transport, so I was a bit disappointed that one is not included with this one. In practice, I rarely carry just the netbook alone, so the sleeve would not be all that useful. My wife was thrilled that she could just stick the netbook in her purse as she boarded the airplane for a week of grad school classes in New York.

I give it 5 stars for what it is as an under $300 netbook. My main netbook is still my (now discontinued) Dell Duo, but for about half the price, this Acer holds it's own as it is lighter and has at least twice the battery life. So for taking notes in class or meetings, checking e-mail and looking up web information, this netbook is a great deal for the money.
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