It is currently one of Acer’s best selling netbooks on the market today, and after spending some time with it, it is easy to see why it is so popular.
The 10.1-inch netbook is available in a number of colors (blue, silver and red), is very thin and light and is also very well priced.
The Acer 532h is powered by the now common Intel Atom N450 1.6GHz processor, while this processor doesn’t offer any performance boots compared to the previous generation, it does use less power, resulting in longer run times and cooler operation.
I will be reviewing the Red version of the Acer Aspire One 532h as provided by Saveonlaptops.co.uk.
Please note the model I have here is the UK edition (532h-2Dr) which comes with a 250GB hard drive, but in the US it is available with either a 160GB hard drive, or the 250GB hard drive, also other specifications may vary slightly.
Acer Aspire One 532h Specifications
- Intel Atom N450 (1.66 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache) CPU
- 1GB DDR2 RAM
- 250GB Hard Drive
- 10.1″ Acer CrystalBrite, 1024 x 600, LED Display
- Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 with 128MB Graphics
- 10/100 Ethernet
- 802.11b/g/n WiFi
- 0.3Mp CrystalEye Webcam
- 8-9 Hour Battery Life – 6 Cell
- 1.25Kg (2.8lbs) / 7.28 inches x 10.17 inches x 0.99 inches
- 5-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, MS, MS PRO, xD)
- 3 x USB Ports, VGA out, Headphone/speaker/line-out jack, Microphone-in jack
- Windows 7 Starter
Design / Build Quality
Rather than sticking to their existing 10-inch design Acer have given the Acer AO532h a design which is similar to that as found on the larger Aspire One 751h. I very much like this design, and feel that it has a stylish modern look to it, and it certainly is thin at less than 1-inch thick.
It is available in a choice of colors; Onyx Blue, Rarnet Red, Silver Matrix, and in some places you can even find it in Amethyst Purple. The model I have here is quite clearly the red one, and while red might not be my first choice of colors, I must admit it looks very nice.
Rather than having a plain solid color finish it has a slight metallic finish which gives it a great look. This red finish is also continued down to the left and right hand sides of the keyboard, and also on the trackpad button which completes the look. Unfortunately, as with most netbooks on the market, both the lid, and palm rest area of the netbook have a glossy finish, which although looks great, it does pick up greasy fingerprints rather easily.
The build quality of the Acer 532h is certainly up to scratch and has a good quality feeling to its finish. It is rather solid especially when taking into consideration its slender design. The LCD hinges are strong, and also allow the display to to opened very wide, there is some flex to the keyboard, but I will talk about this more below.
Ports / Layout
The front of the Acer 532h has the LED status lights (power, battery, hard drive activity, num/caps lock, and WiFi activity). On the bottom front of the netbook are two speakers.
On the right hand side there is the multicard reader (SD, MMC, MS, MS PRO, xD) flush, headphone and microphone connections, a USB 2.0 port, Kensington keylock, and an Ethernet port.
The left side has the power input, VGA out, and 2x USB 2.0 ports. In the photo below, you can also see how remarkable thin the AO532h is!
It is also interesting to note, that unlike most netbook / laptops, the AO532h does not have an air vent exhaust on one of the side. This vent is located at the bottom of the netbook to the left hand side. This gives the netbook a cleaner finish.
Acer AO532h Upgradeability / Bottom
The Acer Aspire One 532h has a great advantage over many netbooks on the market. As well as having a small port to upgrade the RAM to a max of 2GB (very easy) with just one screw. There is also a very large panel at the bottom which can be removed with just three screws.
This large panel gives you access the the hard drive and WiFi card. This allows you to easily remove and upgrade the hard drive to a larger capacity one, or SSD by simply sliding it out.
To upgrade other netbook hard drives without a large port access like this, you would have to remove the whole casing.
When you open the lid of the 523h you will notice that the vast majority of the space has been taken by a large keyboard, which is of course a good thing, giving you a larger keyboard and more room to type. The keyboard stretches right to the back, and to the very edges.
The chiclet keyboard keys are very large in size and makes typing very easy, they are also very flat, which might take some users a little while to get used to. But over all it is a great keyboard with a well thought out layout. The spacebar is nice and thick, and all keys are were you would expect them to be, along with a decent sized right hand shift key.
The keys are also very quiet so noisy typing won’t be a distraction. There is some noticeable keyboard flex around the center of the keyboard, but nothing to worry about.
In comparison to the Samsung N210, you can see how much larger the individual keys are.
The trackpad on the 532h is flush to the palm rest, rather than being separate, and features no boarder (similar to that of the 1005PE). The trackpad area is distinguishable by many small raised dots, and dashed for the scroll area on the right. It also support multitouch input, which allows to to scroll, zoom and more with two fingers.
It is well sized, and almost has a “widescreen” feel to it, which makes sense as the display is widescreen. But as the palmrest is glossy, the trackpad is also glossy. This leads to there being some extra resistance when moving your finger over the trackpad. It’s not a problem as look as you don’t press too hard, but may require some time to get used to it, it may also be due to the netbook being brand new.
The Acer Aspire One 532h uses the now very common Intel Atom N450 1.6GHz processor, so we can expect it to perform on part with the other N450 powered netbooks on the market. As stated before, this processor isn’t any faster than the previous generation, but is more energy efficient.
I tested the performance of the 532h using the CrystalMark 2004R3 benchmarking software. And as expected it performed very similar to the other N450 powered netbooks I have reviewed.
The Acer 532h scored an overall score of 26555. This is slightly lower than the Asus 1005PE (27775) and the Samsung N210 (28400) and seems to have lost points on the memory speed. Although the memory / RAM test scored slower, I didn’t feel that this affected the overall speed of the system compared to the other two models.
- CrystalMark : 26555
- ALU: 6785
- FPU: 3827
- MEM: 4609 | (Read: 1866.84 MB/s (1866), Write: 1150.31 MB/s (1150))
- HDD: 7964 | (Read: 66.42 MB/s (2656), Write: 59.89 MB/s (2395))
- GDI: 1843
- D2D: 1072
- OGL: 455
Acer 532h Battery Life
Battery life is one of the most important aspects of a netbook. The 532h has a 6-cell battery with a very respectable claimed battery life of 8-9 hours. The 6-cell battery has a voltage of 11.4v and 4.3Ah, while this isn’t the highest we have seen, it should provide the stated battery life.
During normal use, Windows reports the battery life at just over eight and a half hours.
In the US the $299 model comes with a 4400mAh capacity battery, while the $349 version (250GB hard drive) comes with a larger, longer lasting 5600-mAh battery.
I ran a battery eater test, which stresses the system to drain the battery as fast as possible. The 532h managed to last for 286 mins (4 hrs, 45 mins) with the LCD at 50% brightness, WiFi on, and the CPU and graphic stressed.
In real word usage, you can expect to see a couple more hours at least. Also, if you buy the more expensive model in the U.S, the larger capacity battery will last even longer.
Rather than having a plug, and power brick. The AO532h has the power brick part build into the plug, this saves space and can be packed into a small bag easier.
The Acer 532h has a 10.1-inch LED backlit LCD with a standard 1024 x 600 pixel resolution. It provides a good amount of brightness with easy adjustment. It has a gloss finish, which provides a sharp image with good colors, but does show a number of reflections. I personally prefer a matte LCD, as reflections are less of a problem, but this is personal preference, so gloss displays are normally somewhat sharper.
I very much liked just how far the LCD could be opened. It opens much further than many netbooks, which can be useful it you are very tall or wish to use the netbook as an e-reader.
Heat & Noise
As stated earlier, the 532h has an exhaust vent located at the bottom left of the netbook, rather than on the side. I was curious as to how this would effect the noise and heat of the system. During normal usage the netbook was very quiet with the fan only spinning up very occasionally.
The keyboard and trackpad area of the netbook stayed nice and cool, with the bottom becoming slightly warm to the touch. The bottom left side with the vent was the warmest, but also nothing too much to worry about.
The 532h has two speakers under the front lip of the netbook, which provide quiet some power considering their small size, above what we would expect from a netbook. As expected the bass was lacking.
But they are plenty loud enough to fill a room or for listening while using the netbook.
I have been very impressed with the Acer Aspire One 532h, from its design and build quality, to its battery life and low price. While its specifications are a lot like many other netbooks on the market today, the 523h is a great choice.
What makes the 523h a real winner is its very low price of just $299 or $349 (even less on amazon.com!). Acer have managed to undercut the likes of Asus and Toshiba, without compromising on design or battery life.
For less money you get a very stylish, thin and light modern netbook with a great keyboard and battery life. I can highly recommend the Acer Aspire One 532h.
In the UK you can buy the Acer Aspire One 532h from Amazon UK for less than £299.