I’ve had an Asus EEE 1000h ever since they came out, but it was getting to be time to upgrade it – it was not a bad little machine, but the Atom processor was a bit underpowered, and that damnable right shift key always did bug me. I picked up an Acer Aspire 1410 with Bing cashback for about $370, give or take.
Man, netbooks have really come a long way. A quick run through:
Screen: 1366x768 vs. 1024x600 is almost twice as big, and makes a big difference. It’s glossy, which is kind of annoying, and I think the contrast is a little lower than on the 1000h, but nonetheless it’s really nice.
Keyboard: Full sized shift keys on the Acer! This far outweighs almost anything else. The smaller cursor control keys are kind of pain, but I’ll get used to them. Feedback is not as nice as the Asus but still pretty decent – I can type full speed on this keyboard.
Touchpad: Touchpad is good enough; at least there are two mouse buttons, which is one of the things I really wanted. It’s multitouch, but the drivers are a little choppy with the two finger scrolling – but I haven’t tried to fix it, either. The two finger to zoom in and out is surprisingly handy when browsing, to be honest, and I’m using it all the time.
Wireless: Wireless on my EEE 1000h was always a little glitchy at home (and would sometimes cause my router to reboot, for whatever reason), but was fine at work and at Starbucks. The wireless on the Acer 1410 works much better, and I haven’t had any problems.
Speaker: I frequently watch movies with the speakers on. The speakers seem to be just a touch softer than the EEE 1000h, but still pretty good. This tweaks thread has some tips on improving the volume of the speakers.
Processor: The new ULV chips are everything that Atom wanted to be. With the Acer I’ve been able to a) run Ubuntu under virtualbox, b) play full-screen 480p Hulu, and c) play full-screen Netflix, and it hasn’t stalled out on anything. Additionally, the 1000h would bog down when scrolling in Firefox (seriously), whereas this machine handles it fine.
I specifically looked for an Acer with the SU2300 (dual core) instead of the SU3500 (single core, slightly faster).
The machine only starts up the fan when doing flash video – fan noise is not too bad and significantly quieter than the EEE 1000h. The computer itself does not get very warm at all, which is nice.
VirtualBox was a must have, since I wanted to run Ubuntu but didn’t want to deal with the pain of partitioning and dealing with its peculiarities on a new machine. I had assumed that having the AMD/Intel virtualization mode was a big win, but it turns out that it really doesn’t help performance. Nonetheless, Virtualbox works fine. VT-x mode was originally turned forced off, and it was subsequently fixed in the BIOS; see this tweaks thread for tips on getting the new BIOS.
Battery Life: Hard to say, but looks like 5-7+ with this machine, whereas I was getting about 4 with the Asus 1000h.
Operating System: I run XP on most of my computers (and didn’t upgrade any to Vista), but the Acer came with Windows 7 Home Premium. It’s pretty and nice and performs well — I have no complaints.
What a difference a year makes. These new ULV chips are amazing.
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