Most helpful positive review
84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Very impressive for the price
on May 3, 2012
I bought this because I had a three-year-old Toshiba 13.3 inch laptop with a Pentium u 4100 processor that had a loud fan which was annoying. I had a very low budget, but needed a machine that could replace my regular laptop. For me, this meant:
- Fast web surfing with acceptable scrolling speed and smoothness.
- Flawless video on Hulu at 420p resolution and for downloaded video (I don't have a TV)
- Great keyboard, fast response times for typing.
I had tried a netbook three years ago and found the video capabilities lacking, and had returned it. In 2012 I figured that in the three years since I bought my Toshiba, AMD processors in this price range would probably have caught up with that older Pentium processor in terms of speed. I was almost right. I didn't look at the benchmarks for these processors available online, but the old u4100 is still just a little faster than this AMD C60. Other aspects of the Acer make it a better computing experience, though, and so, for me, a good buy.
When I got the Acer, I was immediately impressed with sturdy construction of the laptop and smooth movement of the screen. The screen is movable back until it is nearly flat with the keyboard part of the laptop, which is useful when using this laptop as I mostly use it, which is sitting on the couch. With your legs up on for example an ottoman, you can put the keyboard part against your lap and push the monitor far back and type very comfortably, or watch video with the display at a more comfortable height than was available for me on my previous laptops.
The keyboard is the best I've had on a computer. I had thought previously that my Toshiba was the best, but now, when I return to that computer, I notice that the Acer has a more satisfying firmness than that computer had.
If you haven't had an LED screen before, like me, you will be amazed by the monitor. It took me a while to get used to how good it is. Photos have a certain realism because of the better contrast (and maybe other factors) than CCFL LCD monitors. Colors look great. For the first few days, I was annoyed by what I thought was a kind of texture I was able to see in the monitor, which was like seeing the lines of pixels more distinctly than on my other computer, but I no longer notice this and I think it was just a matter of switching laptops.
Even though the processor is slower than my old computer's, there is a certain fastness in moving around in windows that is slightly better. Here are the details for the Acer:
- Scrolling on some web pages like Wikipedia pages and amazon product pages can be utterly smooth, like you get on an expensive machine like a mac. More cluttered pages are jumpy scrolling, but for me, and for this price range, I think, acceptable. I find that I can manage these pages better sometimes by using the pg up and pg dn buttons. The response to a quick bunch of presses of the pg dn button is not absolutely instant, but is something I can get used to.
- Scrolling in Word is smooth.
- Switching between programs and windows is instant/extremely fast.
- Typing response in Word (and for this review) is pleasingly fast. The computer has a reliably instant connection between pressing the keys on the keyboard and the characters appearing on the screen. (Better than my Toshiba).
The video performance was the only disappointment, and is the only reason I give this laptop four instead of five stars. Playing video on Hulu in 480p full screen, this laptop delivers a reliably watchable video, but it is not absolutely smooth. It goes usually a little while without dropping any frames at all, and in scenes of conversations where the camera stays put, you will get the feeling that the video is flawless. But when the camera pans across a scene, there will be dropped frames. I almost returned the laptop for this reason, but after watching a few shows on hulu, I concluded that the playback is reliably watchable, and the amazing quality of the images on the LED monitor makes up for the occasional jumpiness. The hulu performance does not have to do with download problems, since it happens when the buffer is full, but for whatever reason, downloaded movies perform better than hulu. For the perfectionist, I think even downloaded movies are still not absolutely smooth, but they are very close (not dropping five frames at once).
Overall, my impression is that the Acer is an accomplishment for this price range and well worth the money.