A Fast-Growing Brand On The Cutting Edge of Energy Efficiency
Last Updated Feb. 25, 2010By Johanna Maaghul
Acer is out to conquer the world of computing. These aren't the most solidly built machines on the market, but consumers are snapping them up fast: Acer sold more units in 2009 than any other laptop manufacturer besides Dell. That's quite a feat, and they're aggressively pursuing the top spot in 2010. They have been proactive in the netbook wave as well as the effort to make portable computers more energy efficient. The Aspire One netbook is among the best, with an expected 10 hours of battery life. Acer's Timeline laptop series is also impressive, promising up to 8 hours of battery life, the best of any mainstream notebook. They've also announced tentative plans to jump into the emerging tablet category sometime in summer 2010. Even if their computers aren't our favorite, we like their moxie.
Aspire Series: All Your Home Computing Needs
The Acer Aspire series is the broad catch-all tag for any of their personal use (as opposed to business-use) laptops. As you'll see below, this line includes netbooks, mainstream notebooks, and desktop replacement machines. Some of our favorite Aspire models recently have been the 15.6-inch Aspire AS5740
and the 17.3-inch Aspire AS7740
, two i3/i5 processor powered machines starting at under $800 (we previously reported on these computers here
). These are great for users who need to do everyday tasks (Microsoft Office, web browsing, downloading music and watching movies too) as well as tasks that require extra power, like light gaming or photo editing.
Aspire Timeline Series: Keeps Going And Going
Acer claims that the Aspire Timeline series has the longest battery life of any mainstream laptop on the market. For users who need to work for an extended period of time away from an outlet, these energy-efficient machines can last up to 8 hours on a single charge -- that's enough to last for an entire trans-Atlantic flight and
a few hours at the hotel while you struggle to find the right voltage adapter. Acer has chosen components that consume 40 percent less energy than traditional laptops, including ultra-low-voltage processors and LED-backlit LCD panels (which also happen to be super-thin). Even without considering the long-lasting battery, this is a great pick for someone who wants something just a bit lighter (though significantly less powerful) than similar mainstream models. Travelers and mobile-office users, take note. Try the Acer Aspire 4810
, weighing in at just 4.2 pounds, with an 8-hour battery life, Intel Pentium ULV Mobile 1.3 GHz processor, 3 GB RAM, 14-inch Led-backlit screen, and 320 GB hard drive for $599.
Aspire One Netbooks: Sleek, Light and Efficient
Like any netbooks, Acer's netbook line is great for on-the-go consumers who need a small, light, ultra-portable computer and can settle for less computing power and a much smaller screen than a mainstream laptop offers. Netbooks are nearly the same from manufacturer to manufacturer aside from the designs and maybe one or two standout features. The Aspire One's marquis feature is its beefy 10-hour battery life. The rest of the Acer Aspire netbook lineup runs the gamut from underpowered but super-portable sub-$300 machines with 9-inch screens to bigger, faster models with screens as large as 11.4 inches (right on the edge of the netbook/notebook divide, if you ask us). Our favorite in the line is the 10.1-inch Aspire One 532h
, which features the new-ish 1.6GHz Intel Atom Pine Trail N450 processor for netbooks, built-in WiFi, and a high-definition display. The 10-hour battery life we mentioned is a nice touch for sure, and the whopping 250GB hard drive is considerably larger than most netbooks in the Aspire One's price range. As with any netbook, no built-in disk-drive here, but at $299, this value is hard to beat.
Travelmate Series: For those Truly on the Move
For those whose travels take them to places beyond the neighborhood coffee shop, the Acer Travelmate series is a smart choice for a number of reasons. This machine has been designed specifically for the traveling businessperson with great on-the-go features such as fingerprint recognition security, durable components and 7-hour-plus battery life Models with the Timeline tag (see above) have an 8-hour battery life. Travelmates are also fairly light for their size; the TravelMate 8571 Timeline
, for example, features a 15-inch display and weighs just 5.1 pounds. If you need freedom and mobility and your computer may have to take a few knocks, this machine is a wise investment. At just over $1000, that TravelMate 8571 Timeline
model offers a 1.4GHz Intel Dual Core Processor, 320 MB hard drive, 4 GB RAM, built-in 5-in-1 card reader, built-in Superdrive, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a webcam.