Best selling netbook

Acer Aspire One 532h Review

Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Acer, Reviews

Acer Aspire One 532hThe Acer Aspire One 532h was announced at the start of the year and has been available for a number of months now.

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.

Acer Aspire One 532h Lid

Acer Aspire One 532h Lid

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.

Acer Aspire One 532h

Acer Aspire One 532h

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.

Acer AO532h right

Acer AO532h right

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!

Acer AO532h Left / Thin

Acer AO532h Left / Thin

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

Acer AO532h Base

Acer AO532h Base

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.

Acer AO532h Base Open

Acer AO532h Base Open

To upgrade other netbook hard drives without a large port access like this, you would have to remove the whole casing.

Keyboard

Acer Aspire One 532h Keyboard

Acer Aspire One 532h Keyboard

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.

Acer Aspire One 532h Keyboard

Acer Aspire One 532h Keyboard

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.

Acer AO532h Vs Samsung N210 Keyboard

Acer AO532h Vs Samsung N210 Keyboard

Trackpad

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.

Acer Aspire One 532h Trackpad

Acer Aspire One 532h Trackpad

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.

Performance

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.

AO523h Battery Discharge Graph

AO523h Battery Discharge Graph

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.

Acer AO532h Power

Acer AO532h Power

Display

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.

Acer 532H LCD Angle

Acer 532H LCD Angle

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.

Audio

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.

Conclusion

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.

32 Responses to “Acer Aspire One 532h Review”

  1. Cappydawg Says:

    I just purchased one of these about 2 weeks ago in the Silver Matrix finish. Which is very nice, it is not glossy and it has little darker silver dots on it for a sleek little design. I really like the trackpad on it and the keyboard is comfortable to me. I was really impressed with it. Owing 2 other Acers, the D150 and D250. Light and thin. I did not notice much heat build up when using. I like it and you cannot beat the price.

    Reply

  2. 1jdan Says:

    Have had one of these for a month. Dragged it around europe for two weeks in june. took it with us everyday and never ran out of power. Watched movies on the plane, wifi in all the hotspots. Skype back home to talk to the kids.
    Have been using the bluetooth feature up north to hook into my cellphone to get internet. works perfectly. Upgraded to mushkin 2GB of memory and it recognized the 4-4-4-12 timings. Make sure you get thelower timing memory. I also added a Broadcom Chrystal chip and with media player classic and arcsoft theater running it will output 1080p blueray onto a 40 inch samsung. very sweet. Just upgraded to a mushkin 120 GB SSD, 270 dollars.
    Have been playing with an ipad for the last couple of weeks. It locks up momentaraly all the time though. The SSD upgrade for this has made it the equall of the ipad. But no ipad can output 1080p. Or let you load whatever you want.
    Wish list: Next one will be a convertable, the ability to turn the screen around and use it like an ipad or e-reader using win 7 touch feature but also have the big keypad is the way to go. There is also a 3G upgrade I could do but the bluetooth to cellphone thing works for me.

    Reply

    • Robert Says:

      Can you describe the model number (e.g. 991784, etc.) of the stick of Mushkin 2GB 4-4-4-12 timings memory you purchased, as there are multiple model numbers on the Mushkin web site matching this criteria.

      Thank you!!

      Reply

    • Doug Says:

      Sure wish you would explain what device your referring too, that you took around Europe with you. I can tell you this much, your not referring to a Acer Aspire One computer that you supposedly did all these things too, that’s what this article is about you know, an Aspire One? You can’t upgrade the graphics on it!

      Reply

  3. Daryl Says:

    Not all ship with 6 cell batteries. I just bought two AO532h’s for my kids and they both have 3 cell batteries, giving them a lower profile. I tried running Unbuntu on one of them but multi-touch trackpad support is limited.

    Reply

  4. S. Kelly Says:

    I never thought I would purchase a netbook but I love this unit and I
    got it for traveling I will have to do. So far it meets all expectations and I did purchase a netbook size chill pad but do not think I needed it. The function of the keybord and the clearness of the
    screen are far better than I expected. It is a sharp unit for the price and I know I will be using it a lot more than I thought. It is worth the look into thats for sure

    Reply

  5. Jsemar Says:

    I bought this unit but not so happy with its wireless card that works only from time to time. According to Acer Support Dept. it is due to the model is not prepared to work with W7

    Reply

    • Matt Says:

      Thats strange, I didn’t have any problems with my unit, which was running Windows 7.

      All I can recommend, is you try and update the drivers.

      Reply

      • Jsmar Says:

        Yes, it is strange. I updated the Atheros AR5B95 driver to 8.0.0.259 version, and also the BIOS to 1.25 version. Also i was recommended to check the battery control to avoid wireless stop at low bat.

        But until today, not stable.

        Looking for solution in the web I found many similar cases to the mine.

  6. John Day Says:

    Owned an acer aspire one for 6 months, here is the good, bad, and ugly.

    Good, battery is 4 hours not eight as described. Wi fi does good job, but comes on in middle of night with laptop off. no virus,just software it came with doing that.

    Bad, touch pad quit working, no software or key stroke can fix it. Bought at walmart and paid almost as much in software and memory upgrade to get a decent orking machine as I paid for machine. Laptop udates every time i shut off or turn on, this process can take up to 45 minutes. Also laptop will update during the day and shut you out from work. I kno turn off the updates, but the laptop will flash a indow at top of screen and keep jumping to window even with updates off.

    Even though I type hard, characters keep comming up missing on screen.

    Upgrading any new hardware like video cams or navigational gps, is another waste of time, I had to buy all new again.

    I do not recommend this for a student or professional, maybe a stow away for camping, or a truck driver who doesnt need reliability.

    I thank this site for letting me post. The three sites before asked for registration, then wouldnt let me post a negative review. If your looking at this, bu a gateway, and stick with Windows XP unless you like stress and have lots of money to spend.

    Reply

  7. dcc Says:

    is possible that this model has a SIM port?

    Reply

  8. NJ Says:

    I just got one of these on sale for 200 dollars. I am extremely impressed.

    I do not know if the Atom Chip is optimized for net access, but this computer is a lot faster than both my desktop computer and my notebook computer. Both have the same clock speed processor and the desktop has twice the memory, the notebook the same amount. The only thing I am having a problem with is getting used to the keyboard size. I am impressed to the point that when I have to replace my desktop, I am thinking of one of those Atom based tiny nettops. If they managed to make a decent copy of the Mac Mini so something in that size format had a build in DVD drive/burner, I would be happy, indeed.

    Reply

  9. kate Says:

    Very unhappy!!! Mine is not even a year old yet and its been giving me trouble its super slow and just recently wont turn on. Mac is looking better and better.

    Reply

    • John Says:

      Unfortunately even with a good virus protection, the machine I had crashed and I had to reset it to factory settings. I lost everything, had to re register everything, and spent 4 days with online updates. But it is a great little workhorse when its running. Im not sure why it gets gummed up. I dont gamble or do porn sites. I use my for internet mostly, its tethered to a blackberry curve cell, and is the best internet machine I have owned in 20 years.

      Reply

    • D.W. Says:

      You need to download the always free Ccleaner, at Cleaner.com, program and run this twice a week. Also, a good virus program to keep as many things out of it as you can. Even still, without regular cleanouts they do get slow and so you have no choice in running this Ccleaner regulary. I Know this, I have seen modern faster processor type computers, laptop and PC alike, slow way down from all the crap that collects from browsing the web and so this has to be purged often.

      Reply

      • no one Says:

        this shouldn’t be a problem. even with XP.
        look up guides to safe settings for IE (internet explorer). image searches should find guides with screenshots, for those that prefer visual tips.
        Maximize security IE is another phrase to search.
        then don’t use IE.
        Use noscript and other web security.
        Install only opensource and/or software with long term good reputation. (ccleaner by piriform is one)
        If not connecting to other devices on local network, disable sharing.

  10. tina Says:

    brought one of these for my daugter for xmas not happy screen broke after 20days black blob appeared then spread across the whole page took it back to retailer who sent it back to acer they said its been dropped which i know it hasnt and wanted £120 to repair it not happy at all!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

    • D.W. Says:

      Well, sounds like screen was struck with object or stepped on, if your daughter is too young to take care of it properly then well, she may not be ready to have one. I don’t want to come off as sounding mean or something but, my daughters 15″ Toshiba worked fine for over 5 years until my grandaughter sat on it, bouncing up and down which created a big black blob in its screen. So this is not the fault of the computer but meerly poor care of it, sorry but it’s the truth.

      I still like mine by the way. Mine only acts up when filled with junk left on it from web sites, so I just have to clean it out from time to time by purging the browser cache, cookies, ect.

      Reply

      • John Says:

        Not always the case of dropping. New stuff out of the box has heated up on me and created the black blob. It was caused to overheating, which was caused by faulty equipment. She is lucky it didnt catch on fire in the middle of the night and burn the house down.

      • John Says:

        All good advice. I was refering to a cold solder on the circut board. I have seen a brand new tv out of the box fry after being turned on. Cold solder can happen, and is usally caught by a proper burn in. I usually turn on new things and leave them on 3 days. If anything is going to go wrong, it will in those three days.

  11. D.W. Says:

    Well, not all virus programs are created equal. For one, some virus programs cause more slowing down of ones computer more than others do but, most importantly how well does it protect it. Example; Norton Antivirus used to be a quality product I feel but it got to where I was getting to much infiltration of malware and virus problems. This Bitware I have now, thus far for two years, has been very active at stopping port scans, and in blocking other Trojans and things on four separate computers. When something tries to get in it shows you it stopped something. The only problem is I don’t think their program is optimized for the slower systems as with atom based computers and older slower systems on other computers but all in all I feel it’s doing a mighty fine job of stopping any and all rouge infiltrations.

    Reply

  12. D.W. Says:

    You have to allow cooling of any computer especially laptops. All kinds of people fry them by setting them on beds, blankets ect. People could save themselves much trouble if they just set them on something flat. That’s why they have vents in the bottom for cooler air to come in, but sorry, they could never get hot enough to break a screen I believe. They’re computers and should be treated accordingly and not thrown around and such, nor left in the hot sun baking in ones car. But all in all this shouldn’t, and most likely would’nt ever break a screen. Also, while they are running don’t slam them around causing your hard drive to skip a beat and possibly loosing your system. I should know I have one netbook and two laptops, sort of. With reasonable care and patience even when they get moody and they’ll last a decent amount of time.

    Reply

  13. john k Says:

    i have just purchased one netbook but any time i try to switch the bluetooth it tells that the device is not available. does it mean the bluetooth device kis not there or what. when compared to other notebooks, this netbook doesn’t overheat.

    Reply

  14. Andrew Says:

    Iv owned one of these little netbooks for about three months now . Paid R1999 ($278) for it in December 2010. The models released here in South Africa only come with a 3-cell battery which is good for about 2 hours of moderate internet browsing over a wi-fi connection. Other than that the specs are more or less the same with 1GB ram , 160GB hard-drive, Windows Xp Home Ed and a Atom N450 processor. I Recently upgraded the operating system to Windows 7 Pro and swapped in a 2GB ram module. Iv also ordered a Crystal HD PCIe card from Logic Supply which will make all the difference when watching HD video. All in all i’ll give this netbook a 9/10 rating , only losing a point for it not shipping with a 6 cell battery.

    Reply

    • D.W. Says:

      I heard this before, and so where are you supposed to plug this so called Crystal HD PCIe card? You make it sound as though you have a desktop computer with PCIe slots on the MOB….Dahhoyyee. This computer doesn’tttttttttttttt have these slots for some imaginary HD card. You must be dreaming? Not only that but your the same guy that keeps saying this and it makes no sense whatsoever. Why do you keep saying this YOUUUU CANNNN’T!

      Reply

      • Andrew Says:

        Umm actually it does have a spare mini PCIe slot, right there next to the wi-fi card which is also mini PCIe . LOL do you even own one of these things ???

  15. Mannan Abdul Says:

    Due to some problems, I need to replace the keyboard. Where it is available and in price plz.

    Reply

  16. John Says:

    Remedy for the touch-pad is to buy and install a new one. Could just be a loose cable too.

    This little guy goes with me when im in the wilderness as a full size laptop is not feasible to carry around.

    The screen does not have high enough resolution for my game sites. But to surf the web, transfer pictures from my camera in the field, or tether to my smart phone for internet anywhere just does a great job.

    I was disappointed Walmart sold it without a working OS. It cost a few hundred dollars to get it working as advertised.

    Reply

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