Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14, First Take: Windows 10 on a shoestring

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  • $229.99

With a price tag of just £150, the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 is an eye-catching prospect if you're on a tight budget. But can you really use this Windows 10 laptop for everyday workloads without running into any issues?

Plenty of compromises that have been made to achieve the bargain-basement price point. The processor, for example, is a dual-core, 1.6-2.16GHz Intel Celeron N3050 with 2GB of RAM in support. Right away, the CPU/RAM combination, and integrated HD Graphics, will limit your ambitions for this laptop.

Then there's the paltry allocation of 32GB of SSD storage. With Windows 10 Home configured, there was just 12.9GB free, which won't be enough to install many third-party apps. And if you want to store lots of photos, music or videos, then look away or factor in external storage.

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At £150, Acer's 14-inch Celeron N3050-based Aspire One Cloudbook 14 attractively priced -- but you only get 32GB of SSD storage.

Images: Acer

To be fair, Acer makes no bones about the minimal storage -- the 'Cloudbook' name is a heavy hint that you're expected to keep most of your data off-device. Acer bundles 1TB of OneDrive storage, plus a year's subscription to Office 365 Personal -- and of course there's nothing to stop you setting up other cloud accounts as well.

The screen and keyboard are vital components of laptop usability, but the 14-inch 1,366-by-768-pixel TFT panel is disappointing. Brightness doesn't go all that high, viewing angles are poor (especially on the vertical plane) and colours are washed out. The screen's matte finish is welcome, but if you're a fan of video viewing, or you need a vibrant, bright display for other reasons, look elsewhere. Video streamed from YouTube was pallid and disappointing.

Sound quality is pretty poor too: there's plenty of volume, but bass tones are largely absent. Music and video fans should steer clear.

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The keyboard is better, with a fair amount of travel in the keys, which are well spaced. We found typing quite comfortable. The touchpad is generously sized and equally responsive.

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The keyboard is one of this bargain-basement laptop's better features.

Image: Acer

Battery life is also pretty good. Acer claims up to 12 hours and my anecdotal findings, based on using the Cloudbook 14 for a couple of days, suggest that if you restrict yourself to web browsing and document creation/editing, you should get a full day's work from the system on battery power.

The chassis is obviously plastic, and there's considerable flex in the lid section -- this budget laptop won't stand up well to rough handling. It's reasonably portable though, weighing 1.6kg and measuring 33.94cm wide by 23.49cm deep by 1.79cm thick.

It is nice to see a full-sized HDMI port, and there are two USB ports -- one USB 3.0, the other USB 2.0. There's also a headset jack. An SD card slot allows you to expand on that minimal internal storage: you can get a 32GB MicroSD card with SD caddy for less than £10, 64GB costs less than £20 and you can really blow out with a 128GB card for under £50 -- and these are by no means the lowest prices around.

It's unfortunate that the SD card doesn't fit completely into its slot: about a fifth of it protrudes from the edge of the laptop, making it difficult to leave a card in situ as a permanent addition to the internal storage.

You'll have to make some compromises with the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 -- notably on internal storage, screen quality, processing power and build quality. If you can live with these, enjoy the bargain-basement price.

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Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Edition
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Celeron N3050 / 1.6 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 2.16 GHz
Number of Cores Dual-Core
Cache L2 - 2 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Features Intel Burst Technology
Cache Memory
Type L2 cache
Installed Size 2 MB
RAM
Memory Speed 1600 MHz
Configuration Features provided memory is soldered
Technology DDR3L SDRAM
Installed Size 2 GB
Memory
RAM 2 GB (provided memory is soldered)
Technology DDR3L SDRAM
Speed 1600 MHz
Form Factor SO-DIMM 204-pin
Display
LCD Backlight Technology LED backlight
Resolution 1366 x 768 (HD)
Widescreen Display Yes
Monitor Features anti-glare
Type LED
Diagonal Size (metric) 35.6 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation HD
Hard Drive
Type SSD
SSD Form Factor eMMC
Capacity 32 GB
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics
Memory Allocation Technology shared video memory (UMA)
Integrated Webcam Yes
Sound Two microphones
Input
Type keyboard, touchpad
Localization & Layout US International
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
Wireless Controller Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 - M.2 Card
Processor
Type Celeron
Processor Number N3050
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 1.6 GHz
Optical Storage
Drive Type no optical drive
Type none
Battery
Capacity 4920 mAh
Cells 3-cell
Technology lithium polymer
Run Time (Up To) 12 sec
Card Reader
Type card reader
Supported Flash Memory SD Memory Card
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Output 45 Watt, 19 V
Connections & Expansion
Interfaces HDMI
USB 2.0
USB 3.0
Headphone/microphone combo jack
Memory Card Reader Yes (SD Card)
Header
Brand Acer
Product Line Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14
Model AO1-431M-C1XD
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 4.0, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
Interface (Bus) Type M.2 Card
Wireless NIC Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160
Miscellaneous
Color gray
Included Accessories power adapter
Monitor
Diagonal Size 14 in
Image Brightness 220 cd/m2
System
Notebook Type notebook
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 32 GB
Dimensions & Weight
Width 13.4 in
Depth 9.2 in
Height 0.7 in
Physical Characteristics
Weight 3.53 lbs
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Edition
Video Output
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics
Graphics Processor Series Intel HD Graphics
Video Memory
Memory Allocation Technology shared video memory (UMA)
Notebook Camera
Integrated Webcam Yes

Topics: Laptops, Mobility, Reviews, Windows 10

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Where To Buy

Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431M-C1XD - 14" - Celeron N3050 - 2 GB RAM - 32 GB SSD - US International

Part Number: NX.SHJAA.001
Price
$229.99

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