Acer's Aspire One is priced about $250 for the Linux version, but it weighs in with enough features to make me consider leaving my high-end portable on the sidelines. The case itself, and more importantly the keyboard feel very solid. The hinge for the screen looks even more robust than the hinges Apple uses currently on their lines of Mac books.
This Intel Atom based netbook won't be breaking any speed records, but it performed more than adequately for normal activities. Internet browsing, word processing, and even photo editing tasks were handed in a very snappy environment. The most surprising thing from a reviewing standpoint was this subnotebook giving benchmark results in every program we could throw at it. This is not par for the course though, as many other netbooks have limited resolutions or other odd quirks that prevent most of the standard benchmarking programs to give valid results.
The size is exactly right, with a near full size keyboard that is easy to touch type on. The 8.9" LCD at 1024×600 is cramped but not unusably so. If I thought the display was good, then the speakers in the Aspire One are nothing short of awesome. It's pretty annoying to have to strain to hear movie dialog on the crappy speakers built in to previous high end laptops, but the Aspire One not only has oodles of volume, but a way better bass frequency response when it's sat on something solid like a table.
One unique feature of the Acer Aspire One is the dual card readers, which one is aimed for storage expansion. While the extra SDHC-only reader doesn't show up as installable space for an operating system, it is handy if you have one card for storage and another that you just pulled out of a camera. You don't have to swap back and forth; you can just use the open slot.
The Aspire One is not without its flaws, and for a power user, even the OS needs a good bit of tinkering to get the full potential out of the machine. There is a great user community already, and plenty of information on how to best make use of this little marvel.
OK, so the machine isn't perfect. The important part is that Acer gets more than enough right to hit the mark for basic use. And, considering the low costs to own this li'l laptop, you could get a lot of mileage out of the Aspire One. If you have simple needs, this is your notebook.