Acer Aspire One 571 with Vmedia “mini Blu-ray” & 720p screen

Chris Davies - May 15, 2009
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Acer Aspire One 571 with Vmedia “mini Blu-ray” & 720p screen

Acer may not be quite in the ASUS league when it comes to confusingly large netbook ranges, but they're obviously trying to catch up.  Latest - and managing to offer something unique in the netbook segment - is this, the Acer Aspire One 571.  Not to be confused with the Aspire One 751, the 571 boosts the resolution of the 10.1-inch display to 1280 x 720, and throws in an optical disc drive.  Unlike the ASUS Eee PC 1004DN, however, this is no DVD burner but a Vmedia drive.

Vmedia uses 32mm Blu-ray discs, loaded inside tiny plastic cartridges, each with 1GB capacity.  In the case of the 571, they load into the left-hand side of the palmrest; initially only ROM discs full of media content will be available, with 576p-quality video content, but the company promises recordable versions at some point in the future.

To deal with that media, and keep up with the 1280 x 720 display, the Aspire One 571 pairs its Intel Atom N280 1.66GHz processor with the Quartics Q1721 Multimedia Coprocessor.  That can handle hardware decoding/encoding of H.264 and other HD video formats, meaning the netbook might actually be a realistic media processing companion.

Other specifications are apparently pretty much in line with Acer's own D150 and D250, which means around 1GB of RAM as standard and a 160GB or 250GB hard-drive.  Expect Bluetooth and WiFi in there too.  No word on pricing, nor whether consumers will fall for Vmedia, but at least it's something vaguely new in the netbook arena.