Acer Aspire One D257 review- a solid 10 inch netbook right now

Andrei Girbea May 19, 2012 Reviews 11 Comments

Acer mini laptops have progressed a lot during these last years, the Taiwanese company becoming one of the most important computer manufacturers in the world. Aside from the regular notebooks, which are currently one of the best-selling products in their classes, Acer caught the attention of computer enthusiasts with its line of ultraportable and strong netbooks, not necessarily by offering the best products in the class, but more with their excellent pricing policy, lately backed up by better and better build quality and features.

The latest addition to this line of mini laptops is the Aspire One D257, a netbook which packs some pretty impressive technical specifications, while remaining portable, elegant and affordable. In the following lines we will review the AOD257 and tell you all there is to know about it. The tested version is the one available in stores in Europe and there are some minor details from what you might get in your country, but more about these in the post.

First of all, let’s take a look on the product’s technical specifications:

  • 10.1-inch display with 1024 x 600 pixels resolution and glossy finish
  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N570 CPU
  • 2 GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 2.5-inch HDD, 320 GB, 5400 rpm
  • Wireless N, Fast Ethernet
  • 3 USB 2.0 ports, VGA, microphone and headphones, card reader, webcam 0.3 MPx
  • 6 cell 47 Wh battery
  • Linpus Plus Meego OS
  • dimensions 7.3 X 10.2 X 1 inches
  • product weight 2.6 pounds

So pretty standard, except for two things: it comes with 2 GB of memory by default and Linpus Plus Meego OS. The two are actually related, as most 10 inchers only offer 1 GB of RAM only because that’s how much you can get on Windows 7 Starter device in stores (you can however later upgrade it to 2 GB), because of Microsoft’s restrictions and regulations.

Acer Aspire One D257 - the new 10 incher from Acer, now sleeker and more powerful

Acer Aspire One D257 – the new 10 incher from Acer, now sleeker and more powerful

You should know however that in your country the Aspire One D257 might be sold with Windows 7 Starter, only 1 GB of RAM and probably a smaller 250 GB hard-drive, which puts in pretty much on par with all the other 10 inchers in terms of specs and features.

Design and exterior

One of the things Acer managed to do with its line of netbooks is to offer compact, thin and sleek devices, while featuring pretty good performances as well. That is the case of the AOD257 also, a netbook that measures only 1 inch in depth and weighs 2.6 pounds (with a 6 cell battery included), which is pretty good even for a 10-inch mini laptop.

As far as the actual design goes, the lid cover features a unique water ripples pattern that is bound to turn some heads. On the flip side though, the glossy finish remains a problem, the case being the perfect magnet for fingerprints, scratches and dust, especially on this Black version. So if you want a D257, I do suggest going for one of the other color options available (there are a few lively ones).

The sides and the bottom suffered a minor redesign from the previous versions of Acer 10 inchers. On the sides that ports have been rearranged and on the back we get more cooling vents.

Front and right side

Front and right side

Back and left side

Back and left side

Opening the lid you’ll encounter a slightly redesigned palm-rest, which is now matte and rounder on the edges.

The video review will tell you more about this little fellow.

Keyboard and trackpad

The Aspire One’s keyboard is for generations the same and is bound to annoy once again. That is because the keys, which are pretty well sized, are not ideally spaced and are completely flat, making typing accuracy a bit of the problem at first. On the other hand, the keyboard is pretty comfortable once you get used to it, and that almost makes up for the spacing problem.

The keyboard is decent, but keys are rather flat and not properly spaced

The keyboard is decent, but keys are rather flat and not properly spaced

As far as the trackpad is concerned, this has changed from the old Aspire One models and is now better individualized from the palm-rest area and pretty comfortable to use. However, the trackpad, which is placed a little under the palm-rest’s height level, is again not perfect when it comes to accuracy and goes a bit crazy from time to time. Also, Acer placed the click button on the lower edge of the laptop, so it’s quite easy now to press this one by mistake when using it in bed or on the sofa and leaning it to you belly.

Display

The Aspire One D257 features a 10.1-inch screen with 1024 x 600 pixels resolution, which is pretty standard for a 10-inch netbook right now. The viewing angles are not bad, but the glossy finish will make it pretty difficult to use when in contact with direct sunlight or other strong light sources.

On the other hand, the bezel around the screen is thinner than what you get on other 10 inchers and the display itself can lean back to almost 150 degrees on the back, which is most useful on a portable device like this one.

The screen is glossy, but at least can lean back a lot

The screen is glossy, but at le

Hardware, software and performance

The new Acer product comes with the most powerful hardware platform Intel has on netbooks so far, featuring a 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N570 processor, GMA 3150 graphics, 2 GB of RAM and a 320 GB hard-drive. So we got the fastest Atom based processor for 10 inchers and 2 GB of memory by default, which is something you don’t get on devices bundled with Windows 7 Starter.

There's Linpus Meego OS on our test unit, and it's far from ideal

There’s Linpus Meego OS on our test unit, and it’s far from ideal

Cause indeed, Acer’s new netbook comes with the Linpus Plus Meego operating system and not Microsoft’s system. This is a light and cheap (free?) operating system meant for low-power computers like this one, but it is still in a development stage and will surprise you with some very annoying glitches. One of these regards the audio and video application, which in short… does not work. The codecs that should allow you to run audio and video content on this app are missing and installing them is… well, pretty much impossible, as far as we have managed to find out (see the review for more details). And yes, I’m not a Linux user, but I guess many of you aren’t either and don’t want to have to go to “the Console” in order to make things run smoothly on your laptop, right?

I’m not saying that Linpus Meego is not an operating system with potential and some qualities (it turns on and off pretty fast and adds to the battery life), but in our opinion, it’s better suited for a secondary light OS next to Windows and not as the primary OS, especially with its problems and glitches.

But you can always install Windows on the netbook and save some trouble… Not to mention that on most countries I’ve seen the Aspire One D257 offered with Windows 7 Starter and only 1 GB of memory by default, like all the other netbooks are.

Battery life

The 6 cell 47 Wh battery featured by Acer’s new netbook should offer an autonomy of about eight hours, if we are to believe the producers’ official statements. However, giving that we know better than that, we tested the battery and we came up with an autonomy of about 6, 6 and a half hours on a daily average use, while running Meego.

This will probably decrease towards 5-6 hours if you install Windows on the netbook, which makes the AOD257 decent, but not impressive compared to other 10-inchers right now. For example, the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM is capable of lasting around ten hours on a single charge, while the Samsung NF310 offers a battery life of up to seven hours.

The 6 Cell 48 Wh battery get you around 6 hours of life on average

The 6 Cell 48 Wh battery get you around 6 hours of life on average

Heat and noise levels

I’m not sure if this has anything to do with Meego and improper drivers, but Acer’s new netbook has some heating and noise problems. At least the version we tested did. Even playing an YouTube 10-minute HD video clip makes the mini laptop annoyingly noisy and hot enough on its bottom to become uncomfortable to hold on your knees, which is something we don’t want on any machine, but especially not on a netbook that should be comfortable to use while on the go.

While this is a serious problem, we are almost sure that it has something to do with the same old operating system and the lack of some drivers to control the processor’s cooling. We are not positive, however, and there is no way to be positive unless you install Windows and compare the differences. So if any of you guys actually have a Windows 7 Starter D257 around, I’d love to hear your feedback on temperatures and noise.

Pricing and availability

The Acer laptops, while not being the fastest, the strongest or the most reliable on the computer market, have always impressed with their excellent quality/price ratio. The AOD257 is not an exception from this rule, being highly competitive in terms of pricing.

You can find the AOD257 10-inch netbook online for about 289.99 dollars (but that’s the Windows 7 version, with 1 GB of memory and 250 GB HDD), available in aquamarine, white, black or burgundy red. The 3 Cell battery version goes for around 20 bucks less.

That’s a tad cheaper than its most important competitors, as the Asus EEE PC 1015PX, available for $299.99 (here’s our review for this one), or the Samsung NC110, (selling for some extra 25 bucks), both running on a similar configuration.

However, the strongest competitor for Acer’s new netbook could prove to be its kin, the Aspire One Happy 2, which is in fact identical to the D257 in every aspect and comes with a smaller 4 hour rated battery, starting at $259 bucks. That’s 40 dollars less than the laptop we tested here and is available in yellow, pink, light blue and orange.

The cheerful Aspire One Happy 2 is perhaps the biggest rival for the D257

The cheerful Aspire One Happy 2 is perhaps the biggest rival for the D257

Wrap-up

While it can’t be called a perfect device, having some faults and weak points, the number of strong points overwhelms these and make the AOD257 a possible best-seller in our opinion. The netbook packs a strong hardware configuration for a device of its size, features a very original and good-looking design and also comes at a pretty competitive price.

On the other hand, we can’t completely overlook the minor problems, as the glossy finish, glossy display or the not-really-ideal keyboard and trackpad. Or, in our case, the glitchy OS, but like I said, for most of you this should not really be a problem, as Acer decided to bundle the D257 with Windows 7 Starter on most markets.

Acer AOD257: sleek, cheap and fast - a potential best-seller

Acer AOD257: sleek, cheap and fast – a potential best-seller

In the end, you’ll just have to ask yourself what do you value more: the cheap price tag and sleek looking body, or extra battery life, matte screen and maybe better keyboard. If you’re into the first options, the D257 Aspire One and also the Happy 2 lines can be your ideal picks. Otherwise, check out some of the other entries in our list of recommend 10 inch netbooks of the moment.

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About The Author

Andrei Girbea, aka "Mike", Editor-in-Chief at TLBHD.com. I absolutely hate carrying around heavy stuff, that's why I'm fond of mini-laptops and portable computers. I'm primarily using such devices and have been testing them for many years now. Get in touch in the comments section below.

11 Comments

  1. Rweeler September 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    you write your comment regarding music and video as a minor issue, swell, it’s not. Perhaps you should investigate a little more and try installing Ubuntu, or even better Xubuntu , these Linux versions are capable of everything and even run perfectly Irfanview , Winamp, Total commander installed under Wine. Meego is not ripe yet…. I tried it and uninstalled quickly….

  2. Soumik Sen September 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I am using this netbook. Feels great to have a powerful netbook. Dual core n570 performs pretty good. A limitation of this netbook is, though it has a DDR3 memory which means the frequency of RAM should be 1066Mhz approx, however we are able to utilize just 667Mhz of the 1066Mhz just because the processor supports maximum of 667Mhz.

    Thats something Acer tricked us with. DDR2 would have been a better option for this as it has maximum frequency of 667Mhz and thus the netbook would have been cheaper. ( Do refer to the difference between DDR2 and DDR3 RAM)

    Apart from this, as you had asked for any one who has installed windows 7 to comment upon the heat generated, well this netbook runs at a temperature of 47 degree Celsius when CPU is idle. Just for the record, the temperature in my Delhi, that’s where i live, is 28-30 degree celsius. The fan is pretty loud.
    When watching videos on youtube , the temperature is sure to rise upto 56 Degree Celsius. Im not sure if i should visit the Service Center..

    Readers, please write in your further observations…..
    Thankyou

  3. User12 October 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Really very Hot CPU with high noise level of cooling system. Standby – 60-65C, load – 70-80C. There is a small cooler and no radator inside. Very bad cooling system   ((( Using Win7 Ultimate with fresh drivers. But new CPU very fast – 1080p video H264 works fine.

    • Alfeuss January 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      base, main, high and what level 3.0 4.0? I have tried 1080p and get studdering?

  4. zaqxswcdevfrbgtnhymjukilop November 29, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Umm it comes with Windows 7 Starter in the USA…

  5. Julio Gondin July 24, 2012 at 4:47 am

    1} Hi Mike, I’m brazilian. Well, first of all congratulations on this video instruction – also visited netbooklive site in search for help. I bought an “Acer Aspire One D257-1879″ a few weeks ago and since then I haven’t had any rest (believe) trying to find drivers to run Windows XP.

    2} Any idea of how or where could I get these Windows XP drivers? (PS: Already installed Win XP and this machine works way…way faster and better…Windows 7 is a little heavy one and has a lot of incompatibilities.

    • Mike July 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Well, that’s complicated, as nobody offers supports for Win XP anymore… So, what is it that’s not working well on Win XP?

  6. Bernard Christopher April 6, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    hello,
    I have a acer aspire one happy laptop running starter windows,model aod 257.
    When I have a fully charged battery in place I have start up but after initial start the screen oscilates and million clors are projected on the screen, to rid this problem I need to take out battery before I can shut down. I am a eighty years young end user and have no answer of how to overcome this problem.
    I can run the laptop ok on mains but need for travel so need the battery set up. Would you please e mail me with a reply I would appreciate it.
    Thank you in advance

  7. Jesse Black April 13, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I have the d257. It came with windows 7 starter. I did not like it and upgraded to Kubuntu. Also just because you do not like Linux or use Linux make it a bad OS. I did beta testing for ms for years. I prefer to use Linux do to the speed and there is no if any viruses. So very happy with my Acer on d257 I use it for programming and also DVD authoring.

  8. Jocey Van Der Vaart August 20, 2014 at 12:06 am

    Mine came with Windows 7 ultimate and yes the fan is loud and it does heat up

  9. zen September 16, 2014 at 6:06 am

    I bought this gadget two years ago. I consider it now as Derick Rose of laptops. Quite impressive at first glance, but after 6 months of use, I found a lot of negative performances of this gadget. First, they say the LCD is already damaged, the screen is acting like a tv channel without a clear signal. Then the battery power is now very very low. Just 30 mins of use and it is already drained. Playing youtube is also sluggish plus you can reheat your coffee using the anterior panel after only 30 minutes of usage before it turns off. I’m sorry but not a good buy considering its price.

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