Acer Prepares 11.6-inch HD Ready Aspire One Netbook

Taiwanese manufacturer Acer is about to launch a new version of its popular Aspire One netbook with a much improved set of specifications and upmarket ambitions to go with them.

Targeted at professional users, the new Aspire One, known as the Pro 731, will get a 11.6-inch LCD screen capable of displaying 1366x768 pixels (16:9 aspect ratio) and making it officially HD ready.

The new model is also set to have an upgraded hardware platform. The Intel Atom N270 and 945GSE Chipset are out and replaced by an Atom Z530 CPU with an Intel SCH USW15S "Poulsbo" chipset with an integrated GMA500 graphics core.

The Atom Z530 is based on the 45nm Silverthorne architecture which runs at 1.6GHz, comes with 512KB L2 Cache and Intel's HT and VT capabilities. The part, which was released last April, has a TDP of 2W.

The GMA500 graphics chipset is the actual part that is capable of decoding HD content without resorting to CPU resources and thanks to the use of H.264 codec. The Pro 731 will be amongst the first netbook platforms to be equipped with Poulsbo+Z530 technology.

Poulsbo is expected to consume around a third of the power used by the previous platform which means that battery life should improve substantially. The battery life is expected to reach 4 hours, a figure that could be doubled with a high capacity battery.

The Pro 731's list of feature will also include 1GB RAM, a 160GB hard disk drive, a 1.25Kg weight as well as a webcam, Windows XP Home,three USB, RJ45 and VGA ports.

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Our Comments

Quite surprising to see that Acer, not Asus, came up with the first Poulsbo-based netbook. Acer might have less models compared to its Taiwanese rivals but it has been more successful overall. if the price is right, the Pro 731 could become a popular model although we have a few doubts. If this netbook is HD Ready, why does it come with a D-Sub connector rather than a HDMI one?

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