Acer Aspire One Unboxing – Canadian Version

I finally received my much-awaited Acer Aspire One this week and have been enjoying it ever since. I ordered the 1 GB/120 GB HDD/Windows XP Home edition from DirectCanada.com last Friday (an online store that is most likely a front for NCIX.com, which I’ve also ordered from) and the package arrived on Monday – this was with the free shipping option!

Keyboard is close to full-size for most keys

Update

I’ve since completed my full review of the Aspire One. Please read if you’re interested.

I’m still forming my final opinion of the device but my initial impression was very positive – I don’t have any major complaints. The device is well-designed, stylish, easy-to-use and very snappy. The 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 that powers the laptop is more than enough for the things you’ll the Aspire One – and it supports hyper-threading and so shows up as “two” cores in Windows.

The Canadian Keyboard

The one downside to the Aspire One that is specific to the Canadian version is the inclusion of a “bilingual” keyboard layout. Apparently, it is required(?) that laptop vendors sell a version of the laptop with this layout in the Canadian market, so many laptop vendors are just switching completely over to this layout for their Canadian versions in order to simplify things and not have to deal with multiple models. This keyboard layout differs from a standard “US” keyboard layout in two ways:

  • The left-shift is shortened to half-size and a pipe/backslash key is placed to the right of it, between the left-shift and the ‘Z’ key.
  • The enter key is not on a single row, but is instead an inverted L-shape. Another pipe/backslash key is placed to the left of it, in between the enter key and the quote (“) key. Thus, the pipe/backslash key is moved down from the “QWERTY” row to the “ASDF” row.

This is an absurd layout and probably no one more than I hates it; it makes no sense that a “bilingual” layout would require such a ridiculous change. However, after typing on it for a bit, it becomes apparent that it’s not that horrible. The biggest problem is the poor positioning of the backslash key, which makes typing Windows-style pathnames difficult. The extra key near the left-shift can hopefully be remapped using the registry editor or some helpful utilities.

Photos

Expect a full review in the future. In the meantime, check out of some of the unboxing photos below or see the full set in my Zooomr photostream.

The actual box
Open!
Contents
Aspire One size
Battery is very small
Keyboard is close to full-size for most keys
Canadian/Bilingual Keyboard - less than ideal
Open and ready to boot!
Battery was already charged from factory
First screen on bootup
Size comparison: Old Dell 15
Virtual-Hideout.net is a site I write/review for
Excellent keyboard size

6 Comments »

  1. I’m thinking of getting one of these because I work in english but otherwise live in french. However, when trying out units on display in shops, none of the “interesting” keys seem to be mapped correctly (I’m interesting in the linpus/linux version). Ie. key with the front-slash, pipe/vertical-bar, and french open/close quotes (“<>”, etc) didn’t work at all as advertised, and I couldn’t get the accented e either. Maybe it’s just a botched installation by the noobs who work at these sorts of places, but I was wondering whether you’re aware if Acer’s linux install actually handles its own bilingual keyboard properly?! Thanks in advance.

  2. Good objective post- I have the same keyboard and was wondering about why it is configured som oddly. Thank u

  3. Hopefully someone can help m,e on this – how can i turn off the unwanted characters like ù that is to the right of the left shift key – thanks

  4. How do I create a question mark on this multilingual keyboard Can someone help(would insert a question mark here but can`t figure out how) – thank you

  5. shift + 6… although sometimesthe english keys work, sometimes the French… would love to know what Ièm pressing to get it to switch… (the è should be a ‘… hence my pain
    )

  6. The Kensington bilingual keyboard I use on my MSI All-in-One desktop has a similar language-switching problem, but my bilinuual Aspire One 721-3858 is “stuck” in English. I would like to switch from English to French and vice-versa at will. Does anyone know how I can do this?

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