Acer Aspire 1551 11.6" Notebook Review - HotHardware

Acer Aspire 1551 11.6" Notebook Review

6 thumbs up


As we mentioned in the introduction, the Acer 1551-5448 is no ordinary netbook. The grid-like top panel is far nicer than the standard glossy shell that adorns most of its competitors. It just feels more sturdy, more rugged, and honestly, it's just a breath of fresh air. Netbook design has stagnated somewhat lately, and it's great to see a company still investing time and effort into changing things up for end-users. The top shell is still plastic, as is much of the body, but it definitely feels more rigid and less pliable than some others that we have used.


Port wise, the 1551 is on par with other netbooks in the field. Along the left edge, there's a USB 2.0 port, an exhaust vent for heat, a full-size HDMI port, AC input socket, and a VGA port. Along the right edge, there's a 3-in-1 card reader, audio in/out ports, two USB 2.0 sockets, a Kensington lock slot and an Ethernet port. 

    

The underside is fairly standard, with a slight bump along the rear for the 6-cell battery to be inserted. On the front edge, you'll see three LED lights for sleep/on, power and Wi-Fi. 


Once you open the screen, you'll notice something new and something old. The display, an 11.6" WXGA panel, is surrounded by a very glossy black bezel, and the display itself is extremely glossy. This is unfortunate given just how fingerprint resistant the rest of the machine is; in fact, it just magnifies how badly the screen and bezel pick up prints and dust. There's a webcam atop the bezel, as well as a few rubber bumpers along the edges to keep the keys from smashing into the panel while closed.

    

Now, for the "new" part. The keyboard, palm rest and trackpad are all huge upgrades compared to most netbooks. The slick, non-glossy palm rest feels nice to the skin in use, and the trackpad is smooth (not textured), which we prefer. It's not an oversized pad, but the fact that it supports multi-finger gestures really boosts productivity. Two-finger scrolling worked like a charm, for example. Also, the left/right mouse buttons had a great amount of travel, which is hard to find on a netbook. Acer really nailed this implementation. 



The keyboard itself isn't exactly the "chiclet" style that is used on so many Asus netbooks these days. These keys essentially go edge-to-edge, enabling each key to be large (for a netbook keyboard, anyway). We loved the keyboard here. It was probably our favorite netbook keyboard to date. We experienced minimal typos and the learning curve coming from a full-size keyboard on a 15.6" notebook was basically nonexistent. Kudos on this, Acer!

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Acer has been using AMD Neo CPUs in their netbooks for a while now.  This one looks like an updated Acer Ferrari One netbook without the Ferrari trim.  A newer CPU and newer (and slower) GPU.  HDD range is the same, keyboard layout is the same, ram is the same, OS is the same.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking this thing.  It comes in about $200 less, while it should perform faster in everything but games.  Well worth the money.

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Yes, it's a decent machine. I tested it out as well. It does need a stronger GPU but Zacate is coming for that.

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And seeing as Acer is such an AMD fan in their netbooks, I'm betting their one of the first out the gate with a Zacate netbook Dave.

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Id' say you're probably right there, mh. :)

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The specs aren't bad, but why a HDD spinning at only 5400 rpm ?...

Henri

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Overall, it's a nice little PC.

As to the low battery life, it will only be a short time before you can buy double sized batteries on E-Bay for it. I got one for my HP laptop that was 1/3 the price of a regular one from HP and had twice the number of cells in it. The factory original battery had died, and not long after I recycled it, HP came out with a 'free battery replacement' program for my laptop. The 'double-stuff' battery works really well though.

BTW: The  3D-mark performance chart says 'lower scores are better', but maybe should read that higher scores are better.

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That's pretty standard for thin and light, lower cost machines these days, Infinity. I don't see how a 7200RPM drive would take cost up that much but I suppose, when you talk about notebook drives, where on the fly head parking is required to mitigate shock and vibe damage (and areal density is much lower), the cost model definitely scales up much quicker than desktop drives.

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Errr Dave, I think you mixed me and  mh up.

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Like the review... puts my X340 to shame in performance and battery life, but that's what happens over the course of a year. Also, these low end, <=$500 notebooks are perfect for students to use in class! (I can vouch for that)

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