Netbooks are on-the-go machines built to accomplish basic computing tasks without weighing your bag down. Since surfing the net is one of the primary use of such PCs, all of them come embedded with a Wi-fi chip. In some countries, there have been a handful of models that have been sold with 3G adapters built-in. But most of these didn't really make their way into India, obviously as the country is just waking up to the 3G revolution this year. But this is GSM 3G we're talking of, while CDMA's competitive 3G technology (dubbed EV-DO) has been around in India for some time, providing users with theoretical speeds of up to 3.1 Mbps.
We'd tested the Olive Zipbook, a Netbook that had an EV-DO based wireless modem built-in. Although it was a pioneering attempt in the country, the device lacked the basic deliverables that are expected from a Netbook.
Today, we have the Acer AOD260 - a variant of the "Aspire One" series Netbook from the company, with a 3G EV-DO modem built-in. So, does the AOD260 finally pull off the characteristics of a netbook without the need to have a stick-like object poking out of its USB port? Read on to find out.
Design and Build
The Acer Aspire AOD260 is very similar in design to its Gateway counterpart, the LT23. The glossy black top with the "Aspire One" logo is striking, and oddly enough, the same glossy part is even fitted at the base of the laptop. The AOD260 is pretty thin and light compared to the current iteration of Netbooks; anything smaller than this is going to burn a hole in your pocket. The build quality is also pretty good as the AOD260 does not creak or flex to the point of concern.
The display is a typical 10-inch 1024 x 600 pixel LCD panel that portrays good clarity and brightness. Text appears clear and the viewing angles are also not too bad. On the inside, we have a keyboard design that Acer has been using in quite a few previous generations of its laptops. The keys have an evenly flat level and offer good tactility. But then the size and placement of certain keys, like the area surrounding the arrow keys, makes you accidentally hit the wrong place occasionally.
Below that is a decently sized touch-pad that has a silky-smooth surface that we loved. It is pretty accurate too, except for a few times that it behaved oddly by zooming into webpages. The touch-pad also supports multi-touch gestures like two-fingered scrolling.