By SUBASHINI SELVARATNAMintech@thestar.com.my
You get the best of both worlds with the Happy netbook which has Windows and Android operating systems.
IT IS a minor thing but it's great that Acer has done away with model numbers for its netbook. Instead, it's simply called Aspire One Happy.
It's probably called Happy because it's available in two colours - Candy Pink and Lavender Purple, both of which you'll probably be happier to see than just boring black. We got the Lavender Purple model for review.
The netbook is slim and compact and can easily slip into an oversized ladies' handbag or a backpack.
It's not just the look that's nice about the Happy netbook because it also comes with two operating systems - the standard Windows 7 Starter edition and Android 2.1.
We tested the boot up time and was not surprised to find out that Windows takes almost 50 seconds to start up but Android only takes 20.
This makes Android great for starting up the netbook really quick to just check e-mail messages or chat online with friends.
Or if you just want to kill time, there are games and applications that can be downloaded from the Android marketplace.
However, there is no way to tell if the application is optimised for the netbook because some will only work with phones or Tablet computers with touchscreen.
Also, currently you are only limited to downloading free applications from the Android Marketplace.
Windows, on the other hand, is great for getting work done. We typed this review on the trial version of Microsoft Word Starter edition that's bundled with the netbook.
And what's really handy about the Happy netbook is that you can seamlessly switch from Android to Windows with just a click of an icon.
The Happy has a decent keyboard and a wide touchpad. The keyboard was comfortable to use and it was responsive. The touchpad supports multitouch which is great when handling photos.
For storage, the Happy netbook has a whopping 320GB of hard disk drive. That's really big for a netbook although very common for notebooks.
The netbook has a new dual-core Intel Atom processor, the N550 running at 1.5GHz. Thanks to the speedy processor and 2GB RAM, the notebook is no slow poke.
We ran multiple applications like Word, web browsers and Windows Media Player and the notebook was still responsive.
Switching between applications was also fast and crash-free.
It wouldn't be a nice experience if you can't watch movies on the Happy netbook.
The netbook has an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 graphics chip which should be able to handle videos.
We used Windows Media Player to play HD videos - both 720p and 1080p ones - and the netbook was able to play them without any hiccups.
However, the 10.1in screen and the non-HD resolution of 1,024 x 600-pixels isn't the best way to fully enjoy a HD movie.
Also, the Realtek HD audio chip and built-in speakers weren't up to par. The speakers were not loud enough even at the highest volume level.
We had to be really close to listen to the audio but a good pair of earphones should solve this problem.
Battery life is also great. We played several short videos, surfed the Net and worked on this review and it lasted almost seven hours before needing a recharge.
That's really great for working and playing casual games on the go.
We are happy with this netbook. The two operating systems - Android and Windows - are a great combination and it's so easy to switch from Android to Windows.
It has a decent processor and enough memory to handle multiple applications running simultaneously and a spacious hard disk to store all your files.
Also, the screen's resolution is not HD but it is still good enough for watching movies.
The one minor complain with the netbook is that the speakers are too soft.
At RM1,299, the Happy netbook is also affordably priced and has a lot of features.
Overall, the Acer Aspire One Happy will make a great Christmas gift for anyone who needs a netbook.
Pros: Runs on Windows and Android; spacioius hard disk; affordable.
Cons: Speakers are too soft.
ASPIRE ONE HAPPY
PROCESSOR: Intel Atom N550 (1.50GHz)
MEMORY: 2GB RAM
DISPLAY: 10.1in with LED backlight
GRAPHICS: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150
CONNECTIVITY: WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Ethernet port
OPTICAL DRIVE: None
PORTS/SLOTS: Three USB ports, VGA port, microphone/line-out jack
BATTERY: Six-cell Lithium-ion
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 7 Starter and Android 2.1
OTHER FEATURES: MMC/SD card reader, 1.3-megapixel webcam
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 258.5 x 185 x 24mm
RATING: 3.5 stars
Review unit courtesy of Acer Sales & Services Sdn Bhd, 1-800-88-1288