Sunday, November 22, 2009

Acer 1420P Review

Fully paid attendees of Microsoft PDC recevied a rather neat little treat: a new Acer 1420P Laptop. I've been playing with it for a couple of days, and while I haven't fully experienced the entire capabilities, I have seen the basics.

The battery lasts forever. I've been synching my ITunes from my current Toshiba U405-2854, and I've had the Acer unpluggeed most of the day, but had to put the Toshiba on the grid after an hour and a half of use.

This laptop is light. I'd almost say too light. At least the base is too light to support the display once the angle of the display to the verticle exceeds about 15 degrees, at which point the laptop flips over. The hinge on the screen is a little weak as well, and once past 25 degrees to vertical, the display slowly falls to horizontal.

The keyboard is really different from my Toshiba. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I write novels, and I'm a bad typist. So every adjustment in key position is a double whammy. The keys are more comfortable for me now than I first thought they would be. They are a lot rougher in feel than the Toshiba, but a lot of people like that. Maybe I will too after a while.

I haven't done any performance tests yet, so I can't give stats on that.

It took me half a day to figure out how to disable the Tap to Click feature on the touchpad. It turns out that the version of the Synaptics drivers shipped with the unit are not up to date, and that by upgrading to the current version, you can get the option to turn it off. I sent this question to ACER support before I figured it out myself, but they were completely useless didn't read the question, and answered something I didn't ask). I also had a problem with my keys repeating while typing, and spent a few minutes changing the settings on the keyboard so I could type without every letter repeating twice.

They've done a nice job keeping the bottom of the laptop cool while working. I'm wearing shorts right now, and while it's a little warm, it's a little better than the Toshiba, and a heck of a lot better than the old Dell my wife has been using.

The screen is crisp and clear, so no issues there.

I'm definitely going to pop a couple more GB of memory into it so I can run my usual suite of work apps.

I think this is a keeper. Would I have bought it for myself? Probably not. I never had ambitions to have a tablet PC. It'll be interesting to see if I use it for what Microsoft intended.


rspray said...

Thanks so much for the review. Is there any evidence (in the OS or otherwise) of the device being "co-developed" by Acer and Microsoft? Or does it just seem like Acer already had the hardware settled, and they just slapped Windows 7 on it? I guess I'm just curious how much will be possible with Windows 7 since they keep claiming it will usher in new touch capabilities. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried to disable the accelerometer sensor? I have been messing with it for a day without any hope.

JB said...

I haven't tried to disable the accelerometer. Not sure why I would. Would it help the keyboard issues?

Anonymous said...

JB. Is the screen glossy or matte? And can you get 8 hours of battery life on a single charge? Thanks!

JB said...

The screen is extemely glossy. Like looking at the glass on a window at night from inside with bright lights behind you.

I routinely go at least 6 hours per charge, but I haven't timed it or run the battery completely dead. 8 hours might be pushing it a bit, but it probably depends on your display brightness as well.