So it turns out that Acer Aspire One is a bit of a hot topic and many people arrive at this blog looking for information about the Aspire One. They must then be a little disappointed when all they find is this post. It saddens me that so many people might visit only to leave unsatisfied.

i got one of those...

i got one of those...

Because of this I feel an obligation to provide something more useful for those hopeful google searchers. So here you go:

Before you buy.

So you’re thinking you’d like one of those mini laptops but you’re not sure which one. Let’s get one thing straight. You’ll make a choice, and hopefully you’ll be happy with that choice, and you’ll be especially happy because it was your choice and in the end you won’t know how you could have ever chosen differently (perhaps). But you’ll never be sure.

Perhaps you’ve even decided that you’ll go for the Acer Aspire One over the other options (eeePc, MSI Wind, Advent etc) because it has a better keyboard than the eee and costs much less than the Wind (or something). Good so far.

But then, there are numerous versions of the Acer Aspire One – which to choose?! Here you have to balance a few things: cost, need, and that old beast, irrational consumerist desire.

For me, my need wasn’t extreme and so cost was particularly important. Furthermore, my irrational consumerist desire was tilted heavily towards lowcost and simple (handy, that).

But what about you? You have prices between £180 and £300. Then you have to choose between Windows Xp and Linux. Linux is considerably cheaper, will boot up and shut down more quickly, but may well be less familiar to you. Also, to extend its functionality requires a little bit of geekery.

After that, you have to make a storage choice. Do you want a 120 gb hard disk drive (HDD) or an 8gb solid state drive (SSD)? From amazon the 120 gb drive will only cost you £20 more, but also .25 of a kilo in weight. Best choice if you don’t mind about the weight, and you want to store video/ music/ pictures etc. I don’t think speed and reliability differ much. Also, if you choose XP, you’re going to be better off with more than 8gb of space.

Now do you want 512mb ram or 1gb of ram? Those with the money and an affinity for Windows probably will go for 1gb. 512 is plenty for linux and all that I wanted it to do.

Finally (why so many choices?) choose your colour. White and blue are the main options, though I think in some places you can get brown and pink. The colour choice will be down to irrational consumerist desire. Oddly the white models are cheaper, but I was willing to pay £19 more for a blue one, the same in every other respect. Stupid, I know.

I opted for A110 Ab – That’s Linux with 8gb storage, 512 mb ram, and blue. Why? It mattered to me that it cost less that £200 pounds, I wanted to give linux a try, and I didn’t want to carry round (lots of) pictures and music and video.

I think I made the right choice for me. I’m sure you’ll do the same for you. The Linux distribution it ships with is great – light and fast – but be aware that if you start tweaking it you’ll have to invest some time and you might come up against some minor glitches and problems that the stability of Win Xp had helped us forget about.

So you’ve bought a linux model, now what?

If you opted for XP, great, have fun. But if you opted for linux, the following might be useful.

The following sites provide a wealth of information about how to role up your sleeves and get a bit geeky with your Acer Aspire One (AA1).

Top Ten Tweaks (a great place to start)
Top 30 Hacks (including tweaks)
aspireoneuser blog and forum (plenty to read through if you have the time)
macles* (massively useful and comprehensive blog about the AA1)

So that you can:

  • install firefox
  • install thunderbird
  • access the advanced menu
  • sort out the noisy fan
  • tweak to speed up the hard drive (SSD only)
  • get a proper desktop and not the fisher price one it comes with
  • The AA1 ships with this desktop. A bit noddy for you?

    The AA1 ships with this desktop. A bit noddy for you?

  • install skype
  • install the vpn client
  • upgrade to openoffice.org 3
  • add your own desktop background
  • play chess

Apply a nice shiny grown-up desktop...

etc etc

ok. enough of this geekery. I hope this has been of some use to someone. And now back to my usual blogging.