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.

In and Around the Acer Aspire 1410 Acer Aspire 1410: Performance
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  • Mugur - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    Mine is a little different: 1.3 Ghz cpu, 3 GB of RAM and Bluetooth... Reply
  • Aloonatic - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    There seem to be quite a few versions of this notebook out there. Seems like you've got the same version as me (sans BT). You from the UK too?

    I'm assuming that this is an American only version, like the other duel core version of the 1410 that was knocking about a while ago. Is it really that hard to give products clearer/more distinct product numbers/designations?
    Reply
  • ET - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    I thought Anandtech decided to get away from these synthetic benchmarks. I know these Intel graphics are still crap, but I'd rather get an fps score from WoW with medium or low details, because that's something that actually tells whether this laptop may be used for some gaming in a pinch. Reply
  • DaPeezi - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    Hey Guys - If you like the Aspire 1410 please check the Lenovo x100e in some time. It also has a 1366 x 768 Pixel Screen on 11,6" and it is non Glossy. Also It´s capable of 1080p Full HD YouTube Playback.

    Its an AMD Based Plattform with the "MV-40" - also seen before in an EEE PC. Performance therefore is quite similar of course. The Main Advantage is the good Quality of Screen, Keyboard and Chasis for a low price - here in Germany 400€ incl. tax (19%) - would mean about 430$ I think.

    You get a Single Core AMD Processor @ 1,60 Ghz (which can be undervolted for powersaving quite a bit), 2 Memory Slots for up to 4GB RAM and the - quite strong - HD3200 IGP. There are 3 USB Ports, a Cardreader and a VGA Port - unfortunately no HDMI

    I bought it for myself a few weeks ago and use it every day. Battery Life is depending on use and varies for me between 3 and 8 hours, but haven´t checked with a testing tool jet.
    Reply
  • whatthehey - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    Anandtech reviewed a system with an MV-40 a while back, and performance was really quite poor. Oh sure, it was faster than Atom, but as this article shows beating Atom is nothing to be proud about. It's particularly not worth boasting over when you can only last 1/3 as long in battery life. There are a few reviews of the x100e out there, and the consensus is that with the 6-cell battery you shouldn't expect more than 5 hours at best. More likely 3-4.

    http://www.liliputing.com/2010/01/lenovo-thinkpad-...
    http://netbooked.net/netbook-reviews/review/lenovo...

    If you think the 1410 is only mediocre at 5-7 hours (internet to idle), the x100e would be far worse. $450 isn't a horrible price, and Lenovo's build quality can't possibly be as bad as Acer, but the lack of HDMI makes it a no-go for portable HTPC and AMD's HD 4200 (3200?) isn't fit for gaming either. It would probably handle HD YouTube a bit better than the Acer.

    Personally, I wouldn't get a laptop that can't last at least 6 hours on a charge when brand new -- preferably 8+. A year down the road and you might still be able to get 5-6 hours out of it.
    Reply
  • jaydee - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    Where's the MV-40 review? I've been looking for a MV-40 vs Atom comparison for awhile and had no idea Anandtech did one. Search shows up with nothing... Reply
  • synaesthetic - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    MV-40 doesn't compare very favorably to any of the Intel CULV processors, even the SU3500. The dual-core Athlon Neo L335, though, is mostly comparable to a Celeron SU2300 (but performs slightly worse).

    I've seen overclocked Atom N270s get higher passmark scores than the MV-40...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    jaydee:

    I looked at the MSI X610 here:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2852

    It's not quite the same, as MSI tossed in an HD 4330 instead of going with discrete graphics, but that just means performance with a normal MV-40 (in gaming) will be lower than the X610. Battery life on the other hand should improve somewhat, but it's still going to be a big step down from CULV battery life.
    Reply
  • svojoe - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    I have been reading about how CULV's essentially negate any use of a 'netbook' for a year now and unfortunately I'm still not sold.

    I had a eeepc 8.9" a while back and I upgrade to a HP mini 311 (ION) last year and I haven't looked back. And even after reading this article I still see no compelling reason to jump ship. I paid less than $400 for the mini 6, 7 almost 8 months ago?? it has a 1366/768 screen, It can do light gaming and multi-media leaps and bounds better than this acer. Infact the only area's this CULV is substantially better than the ATOM is in isolated cpu benchmarks.

    I'm not saying the atom is all that and the kitchen sink, its sloooow but I am saying the atom + ION is just amazing for what you pay for. My mini has become my primary laptop. It is my mobile office. It does office apps/internet, hdmi video outs 1080p to my tv and plays fallout3. This acer is costs the same is 7-8 months newer tech and still can't do that. Battery life aside (which is only marginally better)

    I feel that your comments directed at non-ION netbooks (as you mentioned) are spot on. But some people are just excited about a sub $300 tiny, internet thingy.

    Nvidia really stirred things up with the ION, they essentially created another class of ultra portable. The ION graphics allow the atom to perform higher than any IGP intel has by far. If I could find a CULV + ION that would be a different story, of course now its going to cost another $50-70? so now we are almost at $500, and back into 'real' laptop territory with better graphics.

    I felt at the time that a ION + ATOM was the sweet spot for "trying to pack it all into the smallest cheapest package" And it still looks like it is.
    Reply
  • alphacheez - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    I looked at this notebook last month when the 9 month old replacement battery on my 12.1 Dell Latitude D410 died and I didn't want to shell out $60-70 every 9 months on such an old machine.

    My decision was basically down to either the AS1410 or eeePC 1001p. I chose the 1001p for a number of reasons including the high-contrast matte display (though lower resolution), lighter weight, smaller form-factor, lower cost (I got the $295 model), and better battery-life. The main advantages of the AS1410 were the higher resolution (but lower contrast, poorer viewing angle) display, faster processor, and HDMI out.

    I don't have an HDTV and my desktop monitor has it's digital input hooked to my desktop full time so that makes the HDMI out less of a bonus. I'm very reticent to have a glossy display on a mobile computer as I do sometimes use them in situations that would cause a lot of glare and I value a good contrast ratio (something my old Dell was seriously lacking). Battery life was a big sticking point for me since I don't want to have to carry a power adapter with me all the time as I'd had to do with the Dell seriously limiting it's portability.

    In day-to-day use I notice that in situations requiring a lot of CPU horsepower the 1001p's N450 setup is slower than the old Dell, but in most everyday tasks like quickly switching between many applications the HT (SMT if you prefer) of the Atom seems to make the experience more fluid and snappy which counts for a lot. One annoyance is the glossy bezel and trackpad button; everything else on the 1001p is matte or patterned so the glossy on those pieces (where you'd least want glossy) is pretty frustrating, the trackpad button has a silver mirror finish that would be excellent for gathering fingerprints for forensic evidence. I do enjoy the multitouch gestures and tend to use "tap-to-click" on the trackpad.

    In the end I'm glad I went for the 1001p and don't think the benefits and tradeoffs of the AS1410 make it worth the extra $100 (30%).
    Reply

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