Acer has come to market with a device that is the new benchmark for the netbook category. The Aspire One 756 is 11.6 inches and runs an Intel Celeron 877 CPU which is actually based on Sandy Bridge architecture. We ran it through the paces and uncovered only a few minor flaws but over all the CPU and 1366 x 768 resolution are both well above netbook category standards at the same price. It is currently available from Amazon for $349.
The Acer Aspire One 756 holds to Acers classic netbook design but with some nice stylistic improvements like subtle tapering around the corners and edges along the side and a sunken keyboard. It has a high gloss lid and display, both of which I wish were matte. All the ports are along the side and easy to access. The bottom of the machine is covered by a single removable panel which is great if you’re looking to upgrade the Hard Drive or RAM.
The device measures 285mm x 27mm x 202 so it’s well out of the 18mmrange and weighs in at 1380 grams or 3 pounds which about half a pound lighter than the average netbook.
The hinge design is industrial and functional looking, it is less stylistically integrated that many other Acer models but it feels very sturdy and durable.
If you think this unit looks familiar it’s actually in the exact same case as the Acer AO725 which is Atom powered. This unit has been out for several months and has been getting solid build quality reviews, if anything they have taken the time to refine the 756.
The lid is high glossy so it picks up smudges and finger prints very easily, it is only a few moments before you’re reaching for a cloth. The palm rest however, is matte and thankfully does not have any issues.
Overall the Aspire One has clean lines and a simple design, it won’t be winning any awards but it has a good looking keyboard and slim profile that will keep you confident in even the most arrogant of coffee shops.
This 11.6 inch Ultraportable has a standard 1366 x 768 display. It’s a vibrant display that offers a full spectrum of rich colors. The viewing angles are also very wide, so that the person sitting next to you on the plane or even the person sitting beside them will have not problem reading your emails or watching whatever you decide to torture them with.
If we compare this to your average netbook, it’s in a class of it’s own, especially since your average netbook usually has a display resolution of 1024 x 600.
If you’ve got a AO722 and want a display comparison, the AO756 has wider viewing angles and a whiter display. The AO722 has a slight blue tinge.
This is not a machine that someone who would like to watch movies or listen to music using only the built in speakers should get. The sound is weak, washed out and tinny, you can make do, but it won’t be enjoyable. I would have to say this is the unit’s weakest offering.
After 30 minutes of 1080p video playback the bottom of the unit heated up but was not noticeably warm. On other Acer notebooks, since the VGA port is located right beside the fan, I have often found that the metal of the port heats up. I’ve often checked my leg to see if it’s left a mark. This often occurs with many Acer models. To keep the units thin and save space, they leave the bottom of the VGA port exposed. This can result in the port itself heating up due to its proximity to the fan. This unit had no such issues.
The chicklet style keyboard offers no flex and feels extremely solid, the keys are firm to the touch and it was a pleasure to type this review and it only took me a matter of minutes to get up to my regular typing speed. The keys are of average size and comfortably spaced out which allowed for very quick typing.
The screen brightness, volume, the home and end key’s are all located on rather small arrow key’s. Apart from that, this device offers a full keyboard with full right and left shift keys.
The track-is a single with integrated mouse buttons. Usually I’m not a huge fan of this set up, but the trackpad was accurate and sensitive enough that I was able to use it with out any cursor glitches or frustration.
The webcam was surprisingly clear and free from noise, the microphone provided very clear audio on the reciving end and the speaker was loud enough that I could have a call with out any issue. If you’re looking for a device for skype, this is a solid choice.
Here is a sample photo taken on a Mac.
The Netbook also comes with a 500GB HDD and 4GB of RAM.
Running Laptop Magazine’s Websurfing and Video battery life test we clocked in exactly 5 hours of run time with the screen brightness at 60%.
If we compare the Acer AO756 to the current generation of netbooks running Intel’s Atom N2600 CPU, we’ll discover a PassMark benchmark score of 592. The little brother of the 756 is the Aspire AO722 with the AMD C-60 which scored 563, if we look at some of the more robust AMD APUs like the AMD 450 it only clocks in at 739. The Celeron 877 which is the muscle behind the Acer AO 756 has a PassMark Benchmark of 1474.
The Celeron that powers this Acer is actually a new CPU, it’s not the single core processor of last decade. It’s basically a crippled dual core Sandy Bridge Core i3 design running Intel’s HD2000 graphics. So it’s a step down from the HD3000 graphics found in your average Sandy Bridge processor, but it’s a big step up from what Atom has to offer.
One of the questions I anticipate getting is, should you pick up the AO725 sibling to this model over the 756? The AO725 has a less powerful AMD C-60 processor. You save about a $70, but you get less RAM and a smaller hard drive along with the slower processor. The difference in speed is nearly 3x difference based on the benchmarks which makes a real difference in productivity when you do need to use the unit for productivity.
If you need more details here are some of the benchmarks from the Acer Aspire One 756:
The Acer Aspire One 756 has been updated and refined compared to the previous generations. The screen is more vibrant with wide viewing angles, the keyboard is solid to type on and the processor is twice as fast as any other Netbook processor on the market. You’re going to be getting the performance of a three year old mid range notebook which isn’t bad for $350 on Amazon.
The two major downfalls of this unit are the glossy lid and display (which you could fix with a cool sticker and foil), the small arrow keys which combine volume and screen brightness and the terrible speakers. All in all we strongly recommend this device for purchase!