It’s taken a good few months for Acer to finally summon the courage to release the Acer Aspire One D250 dual boot netbook running both Windows 7 and Android, but now the first laptop offering running Google’s operating system in the UK is on sale. How does Android handle making the hop to a full on PC platform? Read on and find out in our full Acer Aspire One D250 Android review.
Let’s get this clear from the get go: nothing has changed in the hardware inside the Acer Aspire One D250 since it first went on sale. The model we got from simplyacer is the same slimmish netbook with underpowered 2008 specs you’ll probably be able to recite off by heart by now: a 1.6 GHz Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, a 10.1-inch screen, 160GB hard drive and a cramped keyboard.
The software however, has changed. You’ll find Windows 7 Starter edition on the Acer Aspire One D250, which works comfortably on it so long as you don’t stray into the realm of power hungry photo editing. The big twist though is Android: Google’s mobile operating system until now only seen on phones and media players. You can choose to load either by default and flick easily between the two, so you won’t find yourself hammering the function keys on start up to decide which one you want to use.
Android hasn’t made an entirely smooth transition to the big screen on the Acer Aspire One D250. Using a mouse cursor instead of the mobile phone controls we’re used to with this OS is fine. Plus you’ve a choice of Android’s nippy browser or Firefox for full, working Flash support. However, you’ll find the inability to minimise windows easily a real pain, and on more than one occasion, Android crashed after shutting and opening the laptop lid.
Google’s core Android services, such as Android Market for easy app access and Google Maps are missing, which almost threatens to make Android redundant entirely on the Acer Aspire One D250 netbook. What’s the purpose of such a limited OS on a near fully fledged desktop machine?
Well, there is one big selling point for Android on the Acer Aspire One D250 netbook. This brew is limited and buggy, but boy, does it boost fast. On the model we tested, Android loaded up ready to go in just 11 seconds, compared to 80 for Windows 7. Want to quickly prep some emails on the train and jump online? No need to hang around using Android, leaving all your Eee PC using friends waiting around in envy.
When you look at it this way, with Android acting as an instant-on support OS, rather than a rival one, the Acer Aspire One D250 netbook is a fantastic deal. It’s great to have the option there, and it’s a nice enough value micro laptop without. Acer could do with tweaking Android to support more media formats and proper file management, but it proves there’s a future in Android on notebooks yet.