The screen is called a “CineCrystal HD” and is a 11.6″ TFT display. It has a native resolution of 1366×768 with LED backlighting. It’s powered by an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4225 with 384MB of dedicated memory. At the top of the bezel is a web camera with a resolution of 640×480.
As we stated on page one, the keyboard is full-size but is obviously lacking the side number pad. The keys are well spaced and are completely flat, so it can be easy to mistake one for another. There are no backlights for the keyboard and no outboard illumination so in the dark you’ll have to rely on the screen’s brightness to help you find any key you’re not familiar with.
The track pad area blends right in with the rest of the bottom of the keyboard space, the surface is the same fine grained feel both on the track pad and the non useable area. We were not particularly fond of this as most notebooks feature a track pad that can easily be defined by the smooth surface. It’s very hard to tell where you are on the pad and it’s not very smooth. Only by running off the edges do you get any input that you’ve gone astray. The buttons were also not of our liking, requiring more input than we felt needed and at times meant that it moved the notebook slightly when we used the notebook on our lap. Perhaps with some more time in use they will soften. To it’s credit, the multi-gesture touchpad supports two-finger scroll, pinch, rotate, flip.
On the top of the Aspire 1551 you see a great looking finish and the Acer logo, it also has a very nice feel.
The bottom of the Aspire 1551 is all business, with many vent slots to help keep the underside of this mini powerhouse cool. What you can’t really see behind the vent slots is that there are dust covers inside to help keep the mainboard and fan clean. The warm part of the Aspire 1551 is on the right side of this photo, where you may just be able to make out the fan behind the lower right vent holes. The fan is never very loud and does a good job of keeping the system from burning your legs.
On the right side of the Aspire 1551 we see the memory card reader, the audio out jack/SPDIF, and the microphone jack. There are also two USB ports, a Kensington lock slot, and the RJ45 NIC adapter for Gigabit LAN.
On the left side we have the VGA out connector, the AC adapter plug, and HDMI out, the primary exhaust vent, and a third USB port.
The battery is a 6-cell 4400mAh lithium ion which Acer rates at up to 5 hours. At only 3.1 lbs total for the notebook, almost half of the weight is in the battery.
What you might have overlooked is that the Aspire 1551 does not have a CD/DVD ROM drive. If you need to install software from a disc you’ll need to either get an external USB drive, or copy it to another storage medium on another computer and then transfer it over. To get the size so small, you have to make certain sacrifices and the DVD ROM is one of the largest pieces of a computer these days.
Now that we’ve had a look at the hardware, let’s take a look at how it all performs.