In many ways, the Acer Aspire One is like the little sibling of MSI’s Wind. Besides sporting the same Intel Atom N270 processor running at 1.6GHz, 1GB of RAM, and Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics, the two netbooks share a similar look and feel.
The difference is that the Acer has a slightly smaller form factor and an 8.9-inch screen, while the Wind’s screen is 10.1 inches. In our benchmarks, the similarities continued: The Aspire One performed nearly identically to the Wind in almost all of our tests, chugging through the Photoshop script in just 729 seconds, a second faster than the Wind. It also lasted a few minutes longer in the battery drain test—not surprising, given its smaller screen.
The One’s keyboard is the same size as the Wind’s, but thankfully it doesn’t employ the latter’s irritating reversal of the Ctrl and Function keys.
The touchpad feels like it’s covered with the same paint as the rest of the machine, which meant we couldn’t tell just by touch whether our fingers were on it. Acer also decided to put the mouse buttons on either side of the touchpad instead of below it, which makes pointing and clicking awkward.
One big advantage the Aspire One has over the Wind is its 120GB hard drive, which is 50 percent larger than the MSI machine’s drive. Also, the screen is glossy, while the Wind’s is matte. The choice between reflective and matte is largely a personal one, but we prefer the lesser of the two glares.
In a fair fight against the Asus Eee PC 901, the One clearly emerges as the victor. And, though it has flaws that the MSI Wind doesn’t share, the One has a significant advantage over even that model: It’s $150 cheaper, despite its much larger hard drive. In our opinion, that $150 buys it a bit of slack.