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Acer Aspire One AO522 review – is AMD the future for netbooks?

By Mark , updated on June 4, 2014

Acer is known as a company who delivers good netbooks and laptops at affordable prices. And the Acer Aspire One AO522 is no exception, as it’s part of the Aspire One series, which is the company’s entry level series, aimed at those looking for medium to high performance for as cheap as possible.

This Acer netbook packs some very good features, both in terms of performance and design, and can cover most of the needs you’ll have in a day’s work (or fun).

For starters, you should know that the netbook has a 10.1 inch display, with a 1280 x 720 resolution, which is the native resolution for 720p playback. This  comes in close conjunction with the processor, which is a ultra low power consuming dual core chip, the AMD Fusion C-50 (or Ontario).

The AMD Fusion line was released by AMD with netbooks in mind. The chips take in less power than most other processors (even less than its main contender, the Intel Atom line) and deliver very good performance, both for usual tasks and video playback.

The Acer Aspire One AO522 has a black plastic finish

The Acer Aspire One AO522 has a black plastic finish

The Ontario C-50 is a dual core, 1 GHZ APU (accelerated processing unit) and has on board HD graphics, namely the ATI Radeon 6250 chip. The integrated graphics card supports HD playback and is compatible with DirectX 11. The hardware line up is completed by 1 GB of DDR3 RAM and a rather slow 250 GB, 5400 rpm hard disk drive. In terms of connectivity, there’s Wireless-N Wi-Fi, which offers much better performance than previous Wi-Fi versions. The Wi-Fi adapter is compatible with 802.11n routers, while older versions worked with 802.11g. What you actually get with this type of technology is five times the performance and twice the range in comparison with the previous one.

The keys are big enough for comfy typing, while the touch pad supports multi touch gestures

The keys are big enough for comfy typing, while the touch pad supports multi touch gestures

The Aspire One AO522, which you can buy from Amazon for $329.99, comes with a 1.3 MP HD web cam, which you can use for high quality video calling over the internet, both with friends and business partners. The web cam has a 1280 x 1024 resolution, offering crystal clear image and the ability to save pictures from video calls. If the 10.1 inch display is not enough for you, you can output 1080p video on a larger display through the HDMI port on the netbook.

Additionally, there are 3 USB 2.0, a VGA output and a multi card reader, in order to access pictures and documents from different storage devices fast and safe. Battery wise, the 6 cell juice maker is said to hold for about 6 hours on a single charge, but this depends heavily on what you’re doing with it and which OS version you use.

The keyboard of the Acer Aspire One AO522 is 93% full size, which means that it’s very close to the set up of a big keyboard. You won’t have problems working with it, thanks also to the FineTip buttons, which are larger and easier to press. The touch pad supports multi gesture operations, like pinch and zoom and swirl, making photo and video management much more intuitive and simple.

As other cheap netbooks, this one will attract a fair amount of fingerprints, as the lid is very smooth and shinny. The operating system om the  AO522 is Windows 7 Starter, which doesn’t offer all the features of Window 7, but it’s there to keep the price down. Also, the maximum amount of RAM that Starter supports is 1 GB, so in order to upgrade your RAM, you should do the same with the OS. Bundled together, there’s Microsoft Office Starter 2010, which you can use for basic office tasks. If you want the full version, you’ll have to spend more on a activation key from Microsoft.

Bottom line, the Acer Aspire One 522 is on the of the best netbooks on the market right now. Not much different than other Acer mini laptops on the outside, but a lot different inside, as it houses AMD Onterio hardware. And this makes it actually faster than a standard 10 inch netbook with Atom, especially when dealing with graphic apps like multimedia content and even some old games. Don’t expect wonders, it’s still a low power computer and will be able to handle so much, but the faster hardware and the good price should be enough to make the AO522 quite popular, as it is for sure a device we would recommend right now in its class.

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Mark is an Editor here at tlbhd.com . He's studying Screenwriting and Production in "sunny" London and in his spare time, he works as an IT editor for a couple of mobile publications, like this one.

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