Thursday, March 3, 2011

Netbook versus Tablet: Acer Aspire One 522 v. Apple iPad WiFi 16GB

With the new lower price of the original iPad, brought about by the announcement of the iPad 2 this comparison is inevitable. Right now AMD Fusion powered Acer's Aspire One 522 is the our choice for the best locally available netbook. The Apple iPad 16GB, either with or without 3G, is the best value for money tablet in the market right now. We will compare the Aspire One to the WiFi only tablet.

This prize fight is like comparing apple's to...

Display. The Aspire One comes with a 10.1-inch led backlit 1280 x 720 display. This allows it to play 720P HD content at its native resolution. The iPad has a 1024 x 768 screen. While the iPad can display 720p content, but it will scale it down to the lower resolution iPad screen. WINNER - ASPIRE ONE.
... oranges.

Power. The Aspire One is no speed demon but its dual core 1GHz AMD C50 APU and 2GB or RAM, it will runs most desktop Windows software, can play 1080p content and will even allow a fair amount of 3D gaming. At low settings it can even run Star Craft II. The iPad has a 1GHz A4 processor and 256MB of RAM. While it will run most iPhone and iPad apps with ease, but it stutters a bit on things like Angry Bird HD. It cannot play 1080p content, but can do 720p easily enough. You cannot run your favorite desktop software, and will have to look for iPad alternatives. There are thousands of them so we would not worry too much. WINNER - ASPIRE ONE.

Storage. The Aspire One has 250GB of storage while the iPad had 16GB. Not much to discuss here. WINNER - ASPIRE ONE.

Input Method. Each has their advantages. The Aspire One has a keyboard, the iPad a touchscreen. Which is better depends on what you are doing. DRAW.

Battery life. The iPad will run for 10 hours, even using WiFi or watching videos. The Aspire One is rated at five hours, and we expect four hours of real world use is more realistic. WINNER - iPAD.

Portability. Both are small enough to fit in a medium size bag or carried under the shoulder. The iPad weighs in at 1.5 pounds while the Aspire One comes in at 2.9 pounds. WINNER - iPAD.  

Connectivity & Ports. Both have WiFi, but after that the Aspire One leads all they way with a 5-in-1 card reader, HDMI out (to plug into you LCD TV) and three USB ports. While both have Bluetooth, on the iPad is limited in its implementation, so no file transfer. WINNER - ASPIRE ONE.

Video conferencing. The Aspire One has a webcam and the iPad does not. WINNER - ASPIRE ONE.

Utility. While not recommended, the Aspire One can be your one and only computer. The iPad is an accessory to a laptop or desktop. WINNER - ASPIRE ONE.

Price. The Aspire One comes in at Php17,990, and at that price already you can pay for it over 12 deferred monthly payments. The iPad comes in at Php19,900, and that is cash. WINNER - ASPIRE ONE.

... so who wins. If you keep score, the Acer Aspire One 522 offers more at a lower price. The iPad is much more mobile, being lighter and having a longer battery life. While it has less grunt, this is made up for by being strong ecosystem of software which supports the device. 

Based on the numbers  we give this round to the Acer Aspire One. For desktop owners, the Aspire One will probably still be more appealing, given that you can run the same software on both. But if you already have a laptop and are looking for an even more portable device, the Apple iPad is the clear choice. In the end, it is a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

One question lingers. Should you wait for the iPad 2? We always recommend to buy gadgets only when you need it. Something new will always come out sooner rather than later. If you need a portable device right now, the iPad's Php19,900 price gives it a buy recommendation from us.


  1. Hi Mobile Raptor.

    What about the Samsung Galaxy Tab? The wifi only version now sells for only P16,000. Won't this be a good deal against the netbook?

  2. Yes and no. Based on our own comparison, it gives you an alternative option to eke netbook, but in the end the two devices are so different a straight up comparison tells you little. Will do a comparison with the SGT which might illustrate this better.

  3. Hi bro.

    Will be looking forward to that comparison. I'm asking since I might be moving to Singapore for good and have therefore been thinking on whether to buy the Aspire One netbook or the Galaxy Tab.

    I'll be using it for light web browsing and work - basically something to tide me over until I get a decent laptop. Or maybe I should just buy a decent laptop already?


  4. Well, I put up a new article, but I decided not to do a pure comparison :)


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