We bought one of these in person at our local Micro Center for a very reasonable price. We didn't want to spend a lot since we already own two high-end desktops and this one was mostly for vacations (e.g., Internet, email, manage photos). That store had over 60 laptop models open and turned on for customer examination and this one stood out as the best buy in this price range.
The closed case is 10" x 15" x 1.25" thick, with metal screen hinges, which are an improvement over the previous model's plastic hinges. Here are the specs:
- Intel Core i3-2370M Processor (2.4Ghz, 3MB L3 cache) - 4GB DDR3-1066 RAM - 500GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive - 15.6" HD Widescreen CineCrystal LED-backlit Display - 8x DVD-Super Multi Double-Layer Drive - 5-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader, - other receptacles: 2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, Audio, RJ-45 Ethernet, HDMI, VGA 15-pin - Intel HD Graphics 3000 - 10/100/1000 Network - 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi CERTIFIED(tm) - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) - 5 ½ pounds - 6 cell Li-ion battery lasts up to 5 ½ hours. - Includes Windows 7 Home Premium & AC adapter (to run off 110v, charge the battery)
- The sound is supposedly Dolby® audio, but it's disappointing. E.g., other devices with tiny speakers such as the Kindle Fire, have decent sound. The ACER's mostly treble sound is passable, but for serious music listening or to watch a movie, consider using [aftermarket] head-phones. Since good sound on a laptop isn't important to us, no rating stars were deducted.
- ACER loads a minimum of bloat-ware (software most people wouldn't want) on their PCs, so it didn't take very long to uninstall things like the eBay and Barnes & Nobel applications, and the trial version of McAfee Security Suite. I installed the [free for Comcast customers] Norton Security Suite and other software we use via DVDs or USB flash drives with files from our other computers.
- The 15.6" (diagonal) screen is bright and very sharp, which is important with digital camera images, movies, etc. (If the screen is tilted too far back the image turns dark and if too far forward, it gets washed out; a common laptop issue.) Screen brightness is adjustable.
- Processor is very fast for a laptop in this price range. E.g., nothing we do results in obviously slow processing as was clearly evident with other lower-priced laptops at the Micro Center.
- A separate left & right "mouse button" is just below the cursor control pad, which we prefer over machines without that feature. The excellent cursor control pad has a slightly embossed surface, rather than a perfectly smooth surface.
- The black keyboard keys are raised 1/16" over the aluminum colored frame, which helps the fingers to feel the keys, when compared to models with mostly-flush keys.
- Cursor control is nearly as good as expensive laptops, but whenever possible, we plug an actual mouse into one of the USB ports, for desktop-type cursor control. This machine also supports use of a separate keyboard and/or video monitor.
- Hover the cursor over a screen icon for remaining battery-life or use the supplied adapter and plug it into a 110v receptacle.
- To be on the Internet immediately, simply connect an RJ45 Ethernet Patch Cable between the laptop and a home router (or modem).
- Includes built-in network adaptor and software. To initiate a wireless connection, click the screen-tray icon that displays available Wi-Fi signals, strength (1-5 bars), and names. Double click on one to connect, and enter that network's security code IF required. If you know the code or no code is required, you'll be instantly Internet connected. E.g., when you check into a hotel/motel, ask the desk clerk for their WiFi password. That's all you'll need to use THEIR wireless network.
- To watch a movie, simply insert a DVD and follow the intuitive commands. During the movie, you can stop, pause, skip ahead or behind, and control the volume. Picture quality is comparable to an LED TV of this size.
Purchased this laptop from our local MicroCenter store for $349. What a steal! The I3-2370M does move a little faster than the 2350M. It'll cost me $21 to upgrade the RAM to 8GB, and with those hardware capabilities, this laptop should be good to go for 3 years at least.
Definitely suggest this purchase, especially if you can get it under $375.