Acer has been making netbooks long enough to know what the users of today are really looking for. With internet dongles available with most service providers and with 3G materializing slowly, connectivity can easily be termed as an important requirement. Acer must have spotted that requirement when they launched the Aspire One D260. But is 3G so important that you invest in it? Let’s see what the D260 has to offer and whether it really is worth your money.

Design and Build Quality
While most netbooks are small, this one feels a tad smaller than the ASUS 1015PEM or the Toshiba NB520. It’s not very sleek, but feels quite compact overall and in terms of weight, the 1.6 kg netbook is not heavy at all. The glossy finish of the lid looks neat, but that’s cool till you don’t hold it for a few minutes. After that, there are fingerprints all over and that does give it a shabby look.

A neat and tiny netbook

A neat and tiny netbook

The fact that the D260 does not have a Chiclet keyboard design is a turn off. Although the keys are sufficiently big, you won’t have an error-free typing experience due to the cramped design. Adding to that, the keys are also a bit hard to press. In terms of comfort, the D260’s keyboard feels very average. The one thing that does look appealing is the power button, which is located over the keyboard at the top-left corner on a slight depression. The trackpad is another aspect that feels nice, smooth and easy to use.

Do you want to pay only for that little thing?

Do you want to pay only for that little thing?

In terms of build quality, there is nothing complain about in the D260. Right from the lid, to the bezel around the screen, the trackpad and the bottom all of them are built really well. So to sum it up, the Aspire One D260 is strictly average when talking about its design and build quality.

Features

The main highlight of the D260 is its 3G capability. The SIM card slot under the battery section of the netbook means you don’t have to attach a special dongle through the USB port. Instead, insert a 3G-compatible SIM card and you’re good to go.

Well placed ports are easy to reach and use

Well placed ports are easy to reach and use

Other than that, the USB ports are all placed well and are pretty easy to reach and use. The multi-card reader slot on the right is another neat feature and that too is placed pretty well and easy to use. The D260 also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity which is pretty standard in most netbooks nowadays, nevertheless these connectivity options are good additions to the existing 3G connectivity.

The little SIM card slot for your 3G card

The little SIM card slot for your 3G card

The specifications of the Aspire One D260 include a single core Intel Atom N450 CPU clocked at 1.66 GHz, 1 GB DDR RAM and a 160 GB HDD. The specs make the D260 look like an average netbook but let’s check out the performance to actually gauge how well the D260 actually does.

Performance
The Acer Aspire One D260 scores below average in terms of performance. As you can see in the scores below, video encoding takes 10 minutes, copying a 2 GB file will be about a minute or so and a 4 GB file will take you about 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes. There’s a big drop in the CPU Arithmetic scores when compared to the Toshiba NB520.  Take a look at the scores below.  

Scores say it all

Apart from these numbers, the D260 does boast of a pretty good battery life of up to 5 hours and 42 minutes. Although this was just a battery life test, it’s quite likely that you get some more time with the netbook if you turn to battery saver mode.

While the screen looks decent at your normal angle, tilting the screen vertically shows that viewing angles are poor. Viewing the screen from any horizontal angles are also below average so the screen is not so good when talking about the viewing angles.

Verdict
At a price of Rs. 17,999 (MOP) or 19,999 (MRP) the Aspire One D260 feels overpriced. In terms of performance, there’s nothing that this netbook does which the Toshiba NB520 cannot do better. Agreed that 3G compatibility is a neat feature, but for now 3G in India is not at its full-fledged best. Although a dongle for 3G is not very convenient to use, you can still go for the ASUS 1015PEM or the Toshiba NB520 which have USB ports for 3G connectivity through a dongle.

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