A Review of the Acer Aspire One 533 Netbook

Acer’s featherweight Aspire One 533 Netbook is fitted with the Atom N457 chip and boasts the quicker DDR 3 ram chip, so it is no slouch. The Aspire 533 uses the same 250 GB hard drive as its predecessor and features Intel’s 3150 graphics card. Our test machine shipped with Windows 7 Starter edition.

The latest offering from Acer is a nice looking machine, it’s shiny cabinet available in four colours, and unlike many other notebooks with a shiny surface this one doesn’t seem to attract fingerprints. If it does become a problem, however, there is a cleaning cloth included in the box.

Size and weight

The 533 weighs in at 1.25 kg making it a light enough to carry for long periods at a time, then as it is barely an inch thick it will fit into an attach a case, or at a push, a large handbag. Although the 533 is fitted with a 6-Cell battery, it does at the rear so the underside of the unit is not completely flush, but we can’t really complain too much about that as it feels sturdy and robust, particularly the screen hinge.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The trackpad on this Acer is quite generous as it is slightly raised its easy to find with the fingertips. An unusual feature is the vertical scrollbar added to the right of the trackpad, though in practice we found this limited in its value.

If we were using this Netbook for real instead of just testing it we would probably want to add a cordless mouse for better control, but we usually would with most notebooks anyway. The buttons on the 533 are combined in one button bar which, while looking slick, was not particularly easy to use. The keyboard is almost full size and the mottled finish on the keys makes them ideal for typing. The keys are well spaced and feel very solid but they are quite flat and sometimes a little indistinct when trying to touch type.

There are some handy function buttons that make it easy to adjust settings such as screen brightness without having to wade through any menus – a clever and useful time saver.

Display

The CrystalBrite backlit LED screen has a 1024 x 600-pixel resolution making it sharp and bright, but it also has anti-glare properties.

We didn’t find this particularly true when we tested it; although it was visible by more than one person due to its wide viewing angle we couldn’t determine any antiglare or anti reflection property, certainly not in daylight conditions. The ubiquitous web cam is fitted into the lid.

Connectivity

The Acer is well appointed and has three USB 2.0 ports in addition to fast Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth.

Battery strength

Battery life is always an issue with notebooks, the manufacturers claim is often being wild exaggerations of the reality; however in this case the eight hours claimed by Acer for its six cell battery was actually quite accurate, and we regularly had more than seven hours continuous use from the 533 in test conditions.

The AC adaptor included with the 533 is very compact and offers shorter charging times, both of which we think are excellent selling points.

Verdict

The Acer aspire 533 is an excellent machine; it is lightweight, compact and features a fast processor, a generous hard drive, an excellent keyboard and truly remarkable battery life.