I set up an Acer Aspire One 722 netbook this week. I imagine the return rates on these things is horrendous, because the out-of-box experience is pathetic.
This one won’t be going back though. Tune it up, and it’s an adequate performer. It’s still a netbook–all that talk of the AMD C-50 and C-60 chips delivering Celeron-like performance was just rumor–but it can match an Atom’s CPU performance and delivers better graphics performance than Intel.
PC Decrapifier goes a long way toward making the machine tolerable. Actually, pretty much everything I say to do to an aging laptop helps this one, but PC Decrapifier makes the machine 100% better in about five minutes.
Next, uninstall McAfee Antivirus and install Microsoft Security Essentials. It’s more lightweight than the McAfee suite.
For most people that’s probably enough. If I have time to do it, I’d really prefer to just get a Windows 7 image, slipstream it, format the hard drive, and do a clean install.
Do something along those lines, and it’s a perfectly acceptable netbook-class computer. Nice, even, considering it has niceties like an HDMI port that you don’t usually see in Intel-based netbooks. The keyboard is also bigger than most Intel netbooks–the alphanumeric keys are full-size and just the keys on the edges are shrunken. It makes for a much nicer typing experience. And unlike earlier generation netbooks, it delivers 1366×768 screen resolution. The 1024×600 resolution on earlier netbooks makes some programs unhappy, since a lot of software expects at least 1024×768 resolution. Plus, 1366×768 is a lot nicer for watching video.
I don’t recommend paying full retail for one, but if you can get one on sale, or as an open-box discount item for under $300 and you’re willing to do some cleanup work, you can turn one into a pretty nice computer.