This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Intel
I was recently sent an Acer Aspire to review along with my family. I tried so hard not to like this laptop. I really did. After all,I have used laptops for years and always tried to buy the most product that I can afford. I'm really fussy. My latest is a Sony Vaio - top of the line two years ago - the best thing I could find that wasn't a Mac. (I'd love a Mac. We'd also love to eat.) So, I am really, really fussy about my computers. They have to be smart, fast, stylish, have lots of memory and I need to be able to run every single program I could possibly want. I also need a laptop that runs for a long time on a battery, is lightweight and I'd like it to be attractive. It's a tall order, I know.
When the Acer arrived, my kids were delighted. Their desktop computer had died an unexpected, speedy, painful death three days earlier, and we aren't in a position to buy another, so they've been limping rather painfully along on a very small, slow netbook. Opening the package of the Acer, at first they were disappointed - "It's so small! I bet it doesn't run any faster than the other one!" - and poof! They were no longer interested in the computer and left me alone to set it up. Hoping that I'd be able to get it at least partially set up before I had to leave for Thai class, I plugged it in and turned it on. No lie - I was online and fully functional within 10 minutes. I checked. It was easy and painless.
We've used it for a week now, and with 7 computer users in the house, that little laptop has taken more abuse than I think it signed up for. My oldest son, a high school senior (eep!) at 17 is online almost every minute that he's awake and not at work. He praised the speed and loved that the screen was crisp and bright. (I noticed that if I set it to a brighter resolution - we like things bright around here - while it was unplugged, the computer would dim the screen after about 30 minutes of use to conserve power. Keeping it plugged in didn't cause this feature to activate as long as you were using it, but if it idled for more than a few minutes, it dimmed. Unplugging the computer also causes an immediate down shift in power - a good battery saver.
With an Intel Core 2 Duo processor (1.4 GHz and 800 MHz FSB), this computer is speedier than I thought it would be. Videos downloaded quickly and there was very little buffering time. I did notice that a video at full screen lost some of the clarity and was less crisp, but this could have been at least partly due to the video itself. There's a built in webcam and and screen is a comparably generous 13.3 inches, so videos and movies don't feel cramped. We downloaded iTunes, a 74.4 MB file, and it took just over 2 minutes. The keyboard is spacious and I don't have that annoying "one finger on two keys" feeling that I had on so many of the netbooks.
One feature that my entire family loved was the built in memory stick drive. We are avid photographers here and download numerous pictures, but often one of us has forgotten to replace the USB and we have to hunt for it. With the built in slot, the stick pops in and the pictures pop up. No more excuses for not downloading the pictures!
4 GB memory and 500 GB HDD completes the picture of quality with economy. You could easily upgrade if you needed, but there's plenty there to meet the needs of your average student. The Aspire is extremely lightweight and I literally tossed it into my purse several times - each time it barely registered. At just shy of 7 pounds, that's a big difference from my large and heavy Vaio, and one thing that strongly made me rethink my desire to remain a lover of the Larger Laptop. At the lighter weight, you'd imagine that you'd sacrifice battery power, but nothing could be further from the truth. I took this computer with me everywhere for an entire day - I didn't quite get the eight hours that it promised, but I definitely had more than 6 good hours of work. That was amazing to me - I never needed to charge up. And as an added boost, it's quiet. Acer advertises that they offer Thermal Efficient Cooling - I never once felt the computer get hot on my lap and never heard the fan on - and we used this computer just about every waking moment.
The only trouble I had with this laptop, and it's a pretty major one for my kids, is the lack of cd drive. It's easily remedied by using either an external drive or changing to flash drive usage, but there are a lot of games that my kids play that only come on cd. Despite that one missing element, my kids fought over the use of this computer and my son vows to purchase one next year as he departs for college. I think he's on to something - it's a sweet, sweet deal at well under $1000.
To enter, leave me a comment below and leave a comment about who knows more about computers – you or your kids? - or you may leave a link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. The contest will begin at 9:00 a.m. (PST) August 3, 2009 and will end 5:00 p.m. (PST) August 31, 2009. Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct.
- No duplicate comments.
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- This giveaway is open to US residents, aged 18 and over
- Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
- You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
- Please see the Official Rules