At $450 the new dual core Acer 1410 is one of the best bangs for the buck you can get today in the netbook world. Here are the full tech specs:
- Processor: SU2300 dual core Celeron
- Speed: 1.2GHz
- Graphics: Intel GMA 4500MHD
- OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
- Display: 11.6″ 1366×768
- RAM: 2GB
- Hard Drive: 160GB
- battery life: 6 hours
- Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n
These specs are very impressive to say the least. With a dual core 1.2GHz processor and an Intel 4500MHD graphics processor this netbook has no problem handling almost any task you can throw at it, including the imfamous streaming HD flash video. Not to mention that it has a full-size keyboard as well.
This netbook is identical to the Acer Aspire One 11.6″ that I reviewed earlier, except for some beefier internals and different OS.
I am very partial to 11.6″ screens over 10.1″ ones because the 1366 pixel horizontal resolution prevents alot of side-scrolling when browsing the internet. The battery life of 6 hours is pretty good considering the dual core processor.
The 2GB of RAM along with Windows 7 home premium make this one of the best deals I’ve seen up to this point. You can get one for $450 from Amazon.
*update* Here is a performance comparison (between single and dual core models) performed by Brad from Lilliputing which will give you a better idea of the speed of the dual core processor:
The Acer Aspire 1410 with the SU3500 processor is significantly faster than a typical netbook when it comes to CPU-intensive tasks such as playing HD video, video games, or transcoding audio and video files.
The new model with the dual core SU2300 processor performed even better in some cases, but not in every test. For instance:
Video test (transcoding 2:22 file from uncompressed AVI to XViD):
- Windows Vista/SU3500 model: 2 minutes, 41 seconds
- Windows 7/SU2300 model: 2 minutes, 9 seconds
Audio test (Converting 30:03 WAV file to MP3):
- Windows Vista/SU3500 model: 1 minute, 10 seconds
- Windows 7/SU2300 model: 1 minute, 18 seconds
So while the new model was faster at transcoding video using VirtulDub, it was a little slower at transcoding audio using WinLame. It’s possible that your results may vary if you use different audio and video files, different codecs, or different trancoding utilities.
It’s worth pointing out that when I ran the same tests on a netbook with an Intel Atom N270 CPU, they took 2-3 times longer to complete. So both versions of the Acer Aspire 1410 blow away a typical netbook when it comes to this kind of CPU-intensive tasks.
When it comes video playback, the laptop can handle 720p or 1080p video playback fairly well. I felt like there might have been a few dropped frames here and there, but overall playback was smooth and pretty watchable.
The laptop could also handle HD Flash video from YouTube, something which most netbooks with integrated GMA 950 graphics choke on. What’s interesting is that standard definition video from online video site Hulu gave the Aspire 1410 a little more trouble than HD YouTube videos.
Some TV episodes and movies from Hulu played back flawlessly. But others were a bit jumpy. Overall, this laptop performed noticably better with Hulu video than the Windows Vista/SU3500 model and significantly better than most netbooks with Intel Atom processors and 1366 x 768 pixel displays.
But playback wasn’t perfect. So if you’re looking for a machine that can handle Flash video as well as local videos, you might want to spring for one of the higher end models or grab an NVIDIA ION powered netbook like the HP Mini 311.
Right now that ION graphics processor won’t help with Flash video, but Adobe is expected to release an updated version of Flash Player later this year or early next year that will support NVIDIA graphics, enabling 1080p Flash video playback on low power netbooks and notebooks.
I also ran my new set of benchmarks, which I plan to run on most new computers I test, at least until I run out of systems with different processors and graphics (There’s not much point in benchmarking yet another netbook with a 1.6GHz Atom N270 CPU, 1GB of RAM, 160GB hard drive, and so forth). Here are the results from the new benchmarks:
- Audio transcoding test: 36 seconds to transcode a 13:24 WAV file to MP3
- Video transcoding test: 3:56 to transcode a 4:34 file
- Folder copy: Between 0:55 and 1:05 to copy and paste 2186 files totaling 478MB (I ran this test several times)
- Folder zip test: 1:38 to create a 453MB ZIP file containing 2186 files
For comparison’s sake, the Asus UL30A, which has a dual core 1.3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 processor completed the audio test in 32 seconds, the video test in 3:22, the folder copy test in 10 seconds, and the folder zip test in 1:02. The UL30A is clearly faster, but not a lot faster.
On the other hand, the Asus UL30A received a Windows Experience Index score of 3.4 and had higher subscores than the Acer Aspire 1410 in almost every category. The Aspire 1410 got a 3.2, with the lowest scores concentrated in the graphics and gaming graphics areas.
As you can see for the price this is one fast netbook, at only $450.