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Acer Aspire One D250

Inch-thick successor to the popular AA1

Flip the D250 on its belly and three removable backplates are revealed, providing access to the hard drive bay - home to a 160GB 5400rpm Sata drive - memory and an empty Mini PCI Express slot. If you want to improve on the memory, you'll need to jettison the installed 1GB module since the D250 only houses just single SO-Dimm slot.

Acer Aspire One D250

There's room for bigger, better keyboard and trackpad

Acer completely revamped the keyboard on its recently-launched Aspire One 751, but with the D250 it appears to have stuck with the exact same keyboard as used on the original AA1. On the 8.9in A110, the keyboard took up almost the entire width of the chassis, but on the D250 there's a 1cm edge either side of it. It's not much, admittedly, but even a slight enlarging of the keys would improve usability.

Acer could also have switched to the flat-style of keys as found on its new Aspire One 751 and HP's Mini range of netbooks. As it stands, the keyboard is a mite too fiddly to type on at speed.

The trackpad measures just 50 x 30mm, and Acer has managed to furnish it with multi-touch capabilities, albeit fairly limited ones. You can zoom in and out by using a two-fingered pinching motion, while dragging two fingers left and right will perform functions such as navigating back and forth between web pages and scrolling through an album of photos. There are no Apple-style three- or four-fingered gestures available, but that's hardly surprising since fitting just two fingers on the miniature trackpad is something of a challenge.

The small sliver of a bar underneath the trackpad provides one button for left and right clicks, but it's horribly stiff to operate. If you're going to use this netbook for an extended period of time, do your fingers a favour and invest in a mouse.

The 10.1in screen has a native resolution of 1024 x 600 and is bright, crisp and exhibits vibrant colours. Best of all, though, it performs amazingly well outdoors and even in direct sunlight we were able to see the desktop clearly. The only thing you'll need to watch out for when using it outside is the glossy screen attracting troublesome reflections. Located just above the screen is a webcam, but it's only a 0.3Mp job.

Acer Aspire One D250

Here's the three-cell battery - a six-cell unit's also available

The fact Gigabit Ethernet has been sacrificed for bog-standard 10/100Mb/s wired networking won't concern too many perspective buyers, but Acer's decision to go for 802.11b/g wireless instead of 802.11n is surprising to say the least. Bluetooth is built-in, though, allowing for regular pairing headaches with your mobile.

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