A slender netbook with a great display, but its battery life simply isn’t good enough to make a first choice for those working on the go
Acer’s newest 10.1in netbook is placed towards the budget end of the market, though for netbooks it’s a pretty narrow market admittedly, with hard disk size and build-quality being the main differences between the top and bottom. Acer’s success with the D260 is to build a cut-price netbook that still looks stunning.
At just 24mm high the D260 is slimmer than any netbook we’ve seen recently. Most of the laptop is slimmer still, but the six-cell battery creates a bulge at the far edge. To minimise its impact, the battery protrudes above the line of the keyboard as well below the base, with the lid shaped to fold neatly down around the upper bump. The lid also folds nearly flat, ideal for use on your lap in cramped conditions, such as most airline seats.
Although the dimensions should please everyone, the finish divided opinion in the office. For starters, the centre of the lid is emblazoned with Aspire One in big silver letters, which feels a bit naff. Behind this is a subtle grey 3D grid pattern, which doesn’t stand out overly against the glossy black lid. This is repeated, but more strikingly, on the palm rest and again on the glossy black panel that makes up most of the base. All this lends a more striking graphic element to what could have been a more sophisticated and understated design. It’ll appeal to some, but not all.
The display certainly didn’t divide opinion – it’s excellent. The bright LED-backlighting provides consistency into the corners of the screen. Colours are vibrant and contrast is good. Of course, it suffers from the same limited 1,024×600 resolution as other 10.1in displays, making everything feel rather cramped. Above the screen is a webcam for online video chat.
Unsurprisingly on such a slender netbook, the keyboard has little travel. The flat keys give you the maximum possible amount of space to hit, but make it harder to distinguish between them. It’s not the best netbook keyboard, but we wouldn’t be put off buying the D260 because of it. The touchpad is subtly integrated into the palm rest, your finger glides over the surface and there’s a big seesaw button below with a satisfying click. There are the usual three USB ports and a memory card reader, but no HDMI output for easy connection to a TV, with only a VGA connector.
Given its low price, it’s not surprising to find a small 160GB hard disk inside the D260. Most netbooks now use larger 250GB drives, though you’ll still need external storage if you want to store a large media library of videos , music and photos. This netbook comes with Windows 7 Starter for Small Notebook PCs, so you can’t upgrade the RAM over 1GB without upgrading the operating system.
With an Intel Atom N450 and 1GB of RAM, this netbook performs identically in our benchmarks to practically every other. It’s suitable for web browsing, office tasks, and simple touch ups to the odd photo, but little else.
The battery has 4400mAh battery is smaller than some, notably the 5900mAh example in Samsung’s N230. Its battery life in our light usage test was just under six hours, well short of what many, admittedly chunkier and slightly heavier, netbooks can manage. Whatever the reasons, the D260 wouldn’t be our first choice if working on the move is a priority.
One nice touch is the D260’s power supply. Not only is it very small, but the plug connector can be attached at any of four different angles. So you can always plug your netbook into a crowded multi-plug adaptor.
|Processor||Intel Atom N450|
|Processor clock speed||1.66GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Intel HD Audio|
|Viewable size||10.1 in|
|Graphics Processor||Intel GMA 3150|
|Total storage capacity||142GB|
|Optical drive model||N/A|
|Optical drive type||N/A|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||10/100|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|PC Card slots||none|
|Supported memory cards||SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Starter for Small Notebook PCs 32-bit|
|Operating system restore option||Restore partition|