The new Acer Aspire One D260 is designed in a similar way to the Aspire One 532h netbook - but the Aspire One D260 is a lot more smarter, even cuter. The netbook's coloured in lavender with a glossy finish on its 10-inch screen lid. Acer has relegated its company logo to the top left of the screen lid (compared to the Acer Aspire One 532h), proclaiming instead the D260's "Aspire One" series slogan prominently across the screen lid of the netbook. The Acer Aspire One D260 is another good-looking netbook next to the Sony VAIO M, MSI Wind U160 and Dell Inspiron Mini 10.

The Acer Aspire One D260's palmrest, touchpad, and area surrounding its keyboard deck have a matte lavender finish which doesn't attract any fingerprints or smudges, another minor improvement over the Aspire One 532h netbook. The netbook, however, has a glossy black bottom panel, it's one single plastic panel so upgrading the netbook's hardware isn't exactly easy. But the Aspire One D260 is well-built and weighs 1.25-kg with a six-cell battery, pretty similar to the Aspire One 532h.

Acer hasn't changed much in terms of screen and keyboard on the Aspire One D260 10-inch netbook. The D260's 10-inch glossy widescreen LED-backlit display supports a resolution of 1024x600 pixels. The screen has average viewing angles compared to other netbooks, but its bright and sharp, and good for watching movies or reading text. The screen's equipped with a webcam, placed on the top bezel, that comes in handy for videochats.

The Acer Aspire One D260 retains the same keyboard design and layout as on the Aspire One 532h netbook, also seen on the Gateway LT21. The Aspire One D260's keyboard sport isolated, flat-top keys that are full sized and nice to type on. The D260 netbook's keyboard deck doesn't flex while in a typing frenzy. It isn't as good as the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3 or Dell Inspiron Mini 10, but the Acer Aspire One D260's keyboard is definitely very good to type on.

Another minor design enhancement on the Aspire One D260 netbook compared to the 532h is the D260's touchpad. The gesture-enabled touchpad on the Aspire One D260 is slightly raised above the rest of the palmrest, so you know if you stray out of the touchpad's boundary. The gestures on the D260's touchpad works well, no complaints. The Acer Aspire One D260's single strip mouse button might take time getting used to but works well overall.

The Aspire One is a standard 10-inch netbook with standard netbook hardware. It contains an Intel Atom N450 1.66-GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB hard drive and Intel GMA 3150 graphics. The Acer netbook doesn’t have Windows 7 Starter operating system, but comes with the older Windows XP Home Edition instead.

Acer Aspire One D260

In terms of connectivity options, it doesn’t pack in anything exciting. The netbook comes with three USB ports, VGA, ethernet, card reader and audio jacks, and supports wireless connectivity standards 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1. No new features compared to the Aspire One 532h but nothing missing either.

There is some useful proprietary software included: ePower Management, eRecovery Management and CrystalEye Webcam. The power management software and recovery tool are especially useful.

The Aspire One performs like a regular netbook. With a WorldBench 6 score of 34, it stacks up as well as any other netbook we've reviewed. Like any other netbook based on Intel’s Pinetrail Atom N450 processor, it can handle up to three programs running simultaneously before hitting performance roadblocks and slowing down.

The netbook managed to play 480p and 720p HD YouTube videos without a hitch, but couldn’t handle smooth 1080p HD video playback, much like any other netbook. The D260’s 10-inch screen is good for both indoor and outdoor usage, and its onboard speakers, situated under its front edge lip, are good for personal entertainment at best. All through our testing, the Aspire One didn’t overheat overmuch.

The Acer Aspire One D260 offers very good battery performance. The netbook’s six-cell battery lasted 4 hours 52 minutes through our synthetic tests, at full screen brightness and high performance preset. This beats the Dell Inspiron Mini 10 and MSI Wind U160 battery time. Expect easily over 8 hours, even close to 9 hours, of battery life while surfing the web over WiFi off a single charge, as long as you turn on Acer’s ePower management tool or use a conservative power plan.

OUR VERDICT

For the price, you get a decent 10-inch netbook with a fresh new look, standard performance and features, and very good battery life. But it doesn’t come with the Windows 7 operating system, settling for Windows XP instead.

The netbook doesn’t come with extra features like a pre-OS, face-recognition tool, more RAM or larger hard drive. But if you want a no-nonsense netbook with all the essentials covered at the most inexpensive price point, buy the Acer Aspire One D260.