Acer 3G Chromebook
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List Price: £229.99
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Acer 3G Chromebook – UK
Acer 3G Chromebook – USA
I had originally planned on purchasing the Acer D250, after being deeply impressed with the one my daughter bought last year. However after further reading, I instead went for the new D260. With the new Atom N450 processor it consumes considerably less power than its predecessor and also has the advantage of having Windows 7 installed ,instead of the older Windows XP.
When it arrived I was amazed how neat the D260 is, being only 24mm thick. Also impressive is the shiny gloss finish casing (mine is black). Admittedly this does attract fingerprints, but Acer include a cleaning cloth. And despite being smaller than the older D250, the keyboard is actually larger and very easy to use. What also is impressive is the LED backlit LCD screen which gives true daylight colours compared to conventional LCD screens that have fluorescent back-lighting. With this screen, whites are true white and very bright, and being backlit with LED’s should ensure greater reliability, as LED’s last for decades in comparison to fluorescent back-lighting which do have a tendency to occasionally fail.
If you have been reading some of the reviews on the internet, you may be expecting this machine to have dual booting including Google Android installed as an alternative OS. However this option is only available in the USA. The UK model only comes with Windows. However I did install Ubuntu netbook mix which is free on the internet and this runs superbly on this little machine and is a great fast alternative to Windows as well as having the advantage of being immune to malware and viruses.
I also upgraded the memory by removing the 1gb ram and replacing it with 2gb. Admittedly, 1gb is sufficient for most uses, but I always prefer a larger memory as this cuts down on wear and tear on the hard drive, as well as speeding things up especially when using multiple applications. However I should warn you that installing new memory on this machine is not easy. I was expecting just to open a little flap under the machine to gain access, but being a netbook, I had instead have to prise off the keyboard, remove a ribbon cable, 8 screws, and then remove the lower cover to gain access. So I don’t recommend this option for those who are not technically minded. However if you wish to upgrade the memory, then you will find instructions available on youtube.
General performance is good. From a cold start, Windows 7 boots up in 1 minute 7 seconds, and Ubuntu boots up in 55 seconds. Video runs fine up to 480p without any juddering. And while true 720p/1080p HD is not possible, just remember there is no real advantage of HD video with a 10″ screen!
As for Windows 7 starter, this is a nice little operating system, and is ideal for netbooks. My only gripe is that it assumes you are not going to use an external DVD drive to play DVD films, and if you do attempt this, it prompts for you to pay extra to download the necessary software codec. Instead I opted to download media classic 123 player for free, and this does the job perfectly.
If you do decide to go for an external drive, I recommend the Samsung SE-S084 DVD writer which is also available from Amazon and is great value. It is important that you buy a DVD writer, and not just a CD writer with a DVD ROM as you will need this to make the recovery disks when you first use the machine. Acer recovery only allows you to burn to DVD’s and not CD’s
The machine also comes with trial versions of McAfee and Office 2007, both of which I immediately uninstalled and replaced free with AVG and Open Office. It also come with a built in webcam and microphone, and of course has wi-fi.
All in all, a great little netbook. I gave it four stars instead of five, only because of the difficulties I had installing the extra memory
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I have read the other comments and so thought I would add a few of my own. This listing shows the battery life as 4 hours because it is only a 3 cell battery supplied. Look at other Amazon listings for the D260 with a 6 cell battery for much longer life. Also, the Windows 7 starter edition uses up more power than the Windows XP version which also results in less battery life. In fact the Windows 7 starter package appears to have very little going for it other than it being a relatively new OS (less battery life, more money, can’t change background, doesn’t play DVD’s on an external DVD drive without upgraded software). On the plus side it will be supported by Microsoft for much longer but with XP having been around a long time you would hope that any bugs would have been ironed out by now.
I bought the D260 with Windows XP and a 6 cell battery and love the machine (and battery power is excellent) and would rate that 5 stars. This listing gets 3 stars as it has Windows 7 starter and only has a 3 cell battery.
I am rather disappointed with your presentation of Acer D260. In the original write-up (and still in your ) it’s calimed that the netbook had up to 8 hors battery life. It’s not the case – now you are telling us it’s up to 4 hours (In fact up to 3 hrs if I’m lucky…) and it’s slow. If I can, I would like to return it. Otherwise oredering and the delivery were fine.
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