Blimey, it's another netbook. While one more miniature laptop to add to the ever-increasing pile might not seem very exciting, if you like the idea of ultra-portable computing, you probably want to stay on top of what's new. Take a gander at our latest competitor, the Acer Aspire One D260-2Dkk -- yours for around £250.
In terms of design, you'll find a subtle square pattern on the D260's black gloss lid. This extends to the interior, too, covering the chassis and surrounding the keyboard. We think it looks pretty cool, and a little Tron-esque, but if you like bright colours, there's not much here for you.
The D260 certainly has a slender silhouette. It weighs just 1.25kg, which is certainly on the lighter side. Concentrate really hard and you can almost conjure up a mental picture of the D260 when we tell you it measures in at 259 by 185 by 24mm. It's plenty skinny, and definitely slim enough to hurl into your satchel or handbag if you're dashing out.
The display is a 10.1-inch affair, with a resolution of 1,024x600 pixels. We've seen the odd netbook with a higher resolution than that, but to be honest this is pretty much par for the course. At least this display is bold and bright, with sufficiently vivid colours.
Where netbooks usually fall down is usability, packing cramped keyboards and uncomfortable trackpads into a tiny chassis. Often they're so frustrating to use, we want to fire them out of a trebuchet into a stony castle wall. We're glad to report that the D260 doesn't suffer too badly from these common afflictions.
The keyboard extends right up to the edge of the chassis, and the whole thing is sensibly laid out. We typed on this keyboard for an extended period of time and found that, although each key offers little travel, this was actually a pretty comfy keyboard to use, with nothing driving us particularly crazy.
The trackpad is pleasingly smooth, and while it's not very tall, it is quite wide, so you shouldn't find your digits running out of space too quickly. The actual click buttons aren't stiff and unresponsive like on some netbooks, either.
Around the edges of the D260 you'll find an Ethernet port, three USB ports, two 3.5mm sockets for headphones and a mic, a multi-format card reader and VGA output. The Aspire One 521 we reviewed a few months ago had an HDMI port, so we're a little disappointed this model is lacking one. In other news, this machine runs on Windows 7 Starter Edition and packs a 160GB hard drive.
In terms of performance, this is bog-standard netbook fare. There's the usual single-core Intel Atom processor (N450 clocked at 1.66GHz) backed up by 1GB of RAM. With that kind of hardware, expect this netbook to handle basic tasks like Web browsing, document editing and email, but anything more intensive will leave the D260 begging for mercy. This netbook didn't fancy running our full PCMark05 benchmark test, but we obtained a CPU test score of 1,414, which is very much in line with other netbooks of this ilk.
In terms of battery life, the D260 coped well with our Battery Eater Classic test, which runs the netbook's CPU at a constant 100 per cent. This little devil lasted four hours and 57 minutes, so take that as the minimum battery life and expect to get even longer if you compute more responsibly.
It rocks the boat in exactly zero ways, but the Acer Aspire One D260-2Dkk doesn't do anything wrong, either. We'd recommend you check out the Dell Mini 1012 if you're looking for something with a higher resolution display, or the Acer Aspire One 521 if you fancy an HDMI port for outputting video to your telly.
Edited by Emma Bayly