In our SiSoftware Sandra tests, the Acer Aspire 1551-5448 showed fairly well, but when compared to the netbook competition out there, we'd say it did even better. AMD's chips tend to be great for netbooks, oftentimes feeling far snappier than Atom counterparts. This was again true here. The 1551 felt far faster in use than any of the Atom-based units we have used, even the new 1.8GHz D525 CPU. The 3D benchmarks showed the real weakness here; this machine is definitely not a gaming machine. Not that we would expect an 11.6" machine to ever be good at gaming (except for an Alienware
), but at least it was more than capable of handling HD multi-media playback. The 5400RPM was another weak spot; we would love to see how this machine would test if equipped with an SSD.
From a design standpoint, we love the Aspire 1551. The grid-style lid, comfortable keyboard, multi-gesture trackpad and sleek overall build make it one of our favorite mini notebooks to date. It's a refreshing change from the glossy machines that compete with it. Our only real gripe in the design is the overly glossy LCD and the glossy bezel that surrounds it. These tend to clash with an otherwise classy and understated vibe that we really enjoyed.
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The 1551 shows just how nice the K625 is as a CPU. There's definitely a price to be paid in the form of excess heat and noise, but it's a fair one in our estimation. We just enjoy how this netbook feels more like a standard low-end notebook in terms of performance. We aren't stuck waiting around for simple applications to launch as we are on Atom machines. The only downside is how much bloatware Acer loads on; you'll probably spend the first 15 minutes of ownership paring down what auto-loads of startup in order to streamline things (a security suite that pesters for activation is one that really irked us).
If you aren't concerned with gaming, and you can stomach the ~3 hour battery life, the Aspire 1551 is hard to ignore on the netbook landscape. It ships with 4GB of DDR3 memory, an IGP capable of handling 720p/1080p movie playback, a great GPU and a 64-bit OS. All for the same price as the Eee PC 1215N. If this had a matte LCD and a slightly more potent battery, we would give it our highest recommendations. The build quality is great, as is the overall user experience. The only caveat here is that CES is just 2 months away. CES almost always reveals a slew of new hardware, and if you're terrified of buying a machine that'll be outdated before you can blink...well, you get the gist. If you need a netbook soon though, perhaps for the holidays, the Acer Aspire 1551 is definitely worth considering.
Gets quite warm in use
- 5400RPM Hard
- Lackluster battery life