Acer Aspire 1410: Single-Core CULV Takes on Atomby Vivek Gowri on May 6, 2010 1:31 AM EST
Acer Aspire 1410: Usability vs. Netbooks
So, what does the jump from netbook to “budget ultraportable” entail? We’ll get to the performance numbers in a minute, but for the moment, let’s just talk usability. There are a number of reasons the AS1410 is a far more useful and usable device than a netbook, but by far the most important factor is the screen.
Let me be straight with you, the 1410 has a pretty woeful LCD panel as far as quality goes. Inexpensive laptops have inexpensive LCDs. Color accuracy isn’t great, backlight bleed is noticeable in dark scenes, and the viewing angles are truly pitiful. But for all that, the little extra screen area and significant increase in real estate goes a long way in making up for the quality issues. Having 1366x768 means this behaves like most full-sized laptops out there. Windows 7 was designed for at least 768 vertical pixels, so you don’t feel like you’re being suffocated as you do on a netbook. None of the extra scrolling in system windows, a lot less scrolling in webpages and lists, and just overall much freer and less annoying to use.
Speaking of Windows 7, here we get Windows 7 Home Premium. Real Windows, not the cut down Starter edition nonsense they put on all the netbooks these days. The ability to change wallpapers is much appreciated. The bump from Starter to Home Premium is roughly a $30 upgrade.
The Core 2 Solo processor works well. In most basic tasks you don’t miss the second core; it’s really only in processor intensive or multithreaded apps that the lack of a dual-core processor is noticeable. It’ll handle anything you’d throw at a normal netbook and then some with ease. Just don’t try to push for HD Flash on it, because you actually do need the second core for that.
HD video playback through VLC or Media Player Classic works well, though some of the higher bitrate 1080p files can give you some frame drops. Outputting to an HDTV through HDMI works brilliantly, so the 1410 can serve as a mini HTPC in a pinch. Not that it’s ideal for that type of thing, but it can if you really want it to.
Honestly, in practice, it works like any full-sized laptop. The limitations of a single-core processor go away as soon as you start to use it and don’t rear their head often if you’re not pushing the system. The greatest part about all this is that the 1410 is so similar to netbooks in both form factor and price; a 0.3lb increase in weight and $50 is a small amount to sacrifice for such a drastic improvement in all-around usability and capability.