Help Me, Laptop: Should I Buy an Acer Notebook?

  • MORE

Springing for a new laptop isn't a purchase to take lightly. You'll spend at least a few hundred bucks, and on the high-end prices can climb to multiple thousands of dollars. So when it comes to parting with your money, choosing a brand you trust is important.

One LAPTOP reader, Arnold, feels the same way. He wrote to helpme@laptopmag.com asking:

I just want to ask about the laptop brand name ACER. I want to purchase a laptop, but the problem is I'am just a rookie.  A friend of mine told me to buy an ACER because they're cheap, and they have their own empowering technology. I'll need that badly since I don't have much computing  experience. Also, I'd like to know what was the difference is between all the Intel processors like dual core, core 2 duo, core i3, i5, and i7? I appreciate it, and please help me. Awaiting to your favorable reply.

Thank you,
Arnold

Well Arnold, lucky for you we just completed  a comprehensive assessment of ten major laptop brands in our Best and Worst Laptop Brands story, taking into account scores of in-depth reviews, hours on the phone with technical support, and key features like keyboards and touchpads. When all was said and done, Acer ranked 9 out of 10 this year which is close to where it placed last year (8 out of 10). For the record, Apple came in first and MSI brought up the rear.

As you note, Acer earned points for offering a wide selection of laptops for very affordable prices. On the other hand, we haven't been extremely impressed with the Acer models we've reviewed compared to other manufacturers. Amongst the company's problems are weak tech support and weak keyboards on some systems. The fact that Acer's president and CEO Gianfranco Lanci just decided to step down might not inspire confidence, either, but the company says it will be focusing on strengthening its PC business.

Even with all that, 85% of the folks we asked who personally own Acer notebooks said they were happy with their purchase. Here are some recent and compelling Acer machines we reviewed that you may be interested in.

  • Acer TimelineX AS4820TG:This $799 notebook squeezes a lot of power into a compact 4.6-pound frame. The 14-inch notebook packs Intel Core i5 speed and AMD graphics muscle, impressive Dolby sound, and more than 5 hours of battery life.
  • Acer Aspire AS5253-BZ480: This 15-inch laptop costs $499, is powered by a less robust AMD processor, and offers long battery life.
  • Aspire One D260: This netbook will set you back only $399 . Besides its small size, it offers quick performance plus a slim design.

To answer your question about Intel CPUs, you definitely want one of the Core Series processors (Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7) because Pentium CPUs are for low-end systems and Core 2 Duos are on the way out. Intel Atom CPUs are fine, but for netbooks only. Amongst Intel Core Series CPUs, Core i3 is the entry level, Core i5 is faster, and Core i7 is fastest of all.

Of course, amongst these CPUs, you also have different clock speeds and cache sizes so a higher clock speed (2.3-GHz versus 2-GHz for example) is better as is more cache. That said, a Core i3 CPU should be fine for most computing tasks. If Core i5 is only a few dollars more, go for that. Core i7 CPUs are only necessary for hardcore gaming or high-end productivity work.