The Acer Aspire One D270 packs in the latest Intel Cedar Trail Atom CPU, and sells at just 300 euros. Driver issues mean the Cedar Trail processors only support DirectX 9, and not DirectX 10, yet since the integrated GMA3600 GPU lacks the power to run DirectX 10 games anyway, this shouldn’t matter. The new Aspire D270 resembles the old Aspire One notebooks – and is available in red, blue, green, or black, featuring a ripple pattern on its lid and angular edges. It’s pretty robust, and a wide opening angle of 150 degrees is useful, although there is slight teeter, which is especially inconvenient on netbooks, given that their compact format makes them liable to movement while perched in the lap.
For computational power it outperforms the Asus Eee PC 1015B, and other AMD C-50 netbooks but the D270 can feel slow under full load – page loading can be slowish with lots of browser tabs open and office programs can take a second or two to open. HD movies run smoothly but most modern games are unplayable – the graphics processing power just isn’t there.
The speakers give a slightly hollow rendering, and bass notes are almost absent, though maximum volume is good enough for casual listening. The AspireD270′s 6-cell 49Wh battery delivered a magnificent 8:24 of moderate use – WiFi broswing, the occasional video clip, medium brightness settings.
Port-wise the Acer D270 offers the usual netbook baseline of interfaces – VGA and HDMI connects, three USB-2 ports, and audio jacks. Now that USB-3 is becoming a standard feature on notebooks, we might have hoped it would be included, but unfortunately not. An Ethernet jack is joined by WiFi and low-voltage Bluetooth 4 with a range of up to 100 meters.
The keys give shortish travel, which means the stiffer the pressure point the better; however average feedback means that although the D270 is comfortable enough to type on, extended typing sessions are not recommended. It’s all a bit cramped, with the smallish keys liable to typos.
The Synaptic touchpad is slightly recessed, and multi-touch gestures are well supported. The click bar offers a crisp pressure point, which helps avoid problems of accidental cursor movements when clicking the mouse buttons, as the edges of the finger brush the trackpad’s surface. This was a major drawback to the mousepad on many earlier netbooks thanks to the close proximity of mouse buttons and mousepad surface, and thankfully is resolved with the Acer Aspire D270.
The 10.1-inch 1024 x 600 LED display sports an anti-reflective coating, making the D270 amenable to outdoor use. A small VGA webcam is incorporated into the display bezel.Average brightness is 215 nits, and no dimming when the D270 is running on battery power. Weak black values of 1.4 nits give a poor contrast ratio of 160:1. But for all that the screen renders clear and sharp, and in normal use will be fine – just don’t expect to be wowed by vividly-displayed graphics or movies. For that the Asus Eee PC 1015 might be a better bet, with its black value of 0.36 its contrast ratio is a stunning 828:1, the best of any netbook. Viewing angles on the Aspire D270, as with most netbooks, are limited.
All in all, the D270 is fit for basic Office duties, surfing, and light multimedia use. Battery life is excellent, and the matte screen makes outdoor use possible. For 300 euros it isn’t a bad purchase, but for our money we would want either a faster N2800 CPU or USB-3 functionality.
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