Acer Aspire 3693WLMi review
Good build quality and a great screen, but lacking any other features to make up for the lacklustre performance.
Review Date: 14 Mar 2007
Reviewed By: Jim Martin
Price when reviewed: (£430 inc VAT)
Acer has been aggressive with the prices of its notebooks for more than a year now, and the 3693WLMi is a great example of how the company is undercutting just about everyone else.
At £366, the Aspire is the cheapest notebook in this Labs, and yet it still shares a good selection of features with even those costing up to £800. The TFT is one of them - a 15.4in 1,280 x 800 glossy widescreen that rivals the best here for quality.
Acer also manages to include a dual-layer DVD writer, an 80GB hard disk, 802.11g Wi-Fi and a media card reader that's capable of handling xD-Picture cards. The chassis is also more stylish than the others in this price range and is better built. Plus, it includes a webcam and integrated microphone for video chats using MSN or Skype.
Of course, there are compromises in order to meet this price. The most obvious are the core components: a Celeron M 430 CPU, 512MB of memory and Intel's GMA 950 integrated graphics. Not everyone needs blistering performance, and the Overall 2D application score of 0.55 is still fine if you only want to use the internet, write letters, store and view photos, manage your finances and send emails.
The absence of an ExpressCard slot isn't a big drawback and neither is the lack of a FireWire port. It's a shame, however, that Acer couldn't stretch to a copy of Vista Home Premium in the budget, instead opting to bundle its own Arcade software, which replicates the features in Media Center Edition. It doesn't make up for the absence of Aero and all Home Premium's other features, though. Acer doesn't match MSI's two-year warranty either, sticking with a basic, 12-month return-to-base cover.
Battery life is better than the other budget contenders, though. With light use, you should see almost 2hrs 30mins, and around an hour less with heavy use. At 2.7kg, the Aspire isn't hugely portable, but it's the one to choose if you need to be away from mains power regularly.
Ultimately, while the 3693WLMi is a well-built notebook at an attractive price, it's overshadowed by Advent's generous inclusion of Home Premium and MSI's longer warranty.
Author: Jim Martin
- Microsoft Security Essentials misses 39% of malware in Dennis test
- Ofcom tells BT to fix faulty connections within two days (well, some of them)
- Zuckerberg cashes in Facebook shares to pay taxes
- Lucky Redditor gets Secret Santa gift from Bill Gates
- Tape up your webcams: hackers disable warning lights
- Microsoft yanks Surface update until New Year
- Obama urged to rein in the NSA
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Christmas is cancelled: Apple starts selling the Mac Pro
- Spotify revamps apps for Windows and Mac
- Play it again: Berlin's Computer Game Museum
- Switching from iPhone to Android: what I miss, what I don't
- Tech City: Easy to score when you move the goalposts
- How to remove SkyDrive from the Windows 8.1 Explorer
- Switching from iPhone to Android? Switch off iMessage
- Why is Google pumping more money into Firefox?
- Sky Broadband Shield review
- Samsung Galaxy S4: how to double your battery life
- Motorola Moto G review: first look
- IBM Watson meets Willy Wonka
- Windows XP: Microsoft’s ticking time bomb
- The top five SMB security trends for 2014
- Backup your life: how to keep your data safe
- Best gifts for Christmas 2013: tech gifts for less than £200
- Online "experts" are full of hot air
- Best tablet PCs to buy in 2013
- Closer to reality: photorealism in computer graphics
- Windows 8.1: Top 10 advanced features
- Securing the Internet of Things
- Internet of Things: five unlikely hacking risks
- Jon Honeyball's money's-no-object Christmas gift idea
- The importance of load balancing
- Windows Phone App Studio: an easy way to create your first Windows Phone 8 app
- The end of Windows XP support: what it really means for businesses
- Don't rely on Chrome's password vault
- Using Buffer to manage your social media
- Microsoft needs its own Steve Jobs
- Forget credit cards: hackers want your Facebook account
- Can't get fast enough broadband? Here's what to do
- Leap Motion and the battle against UI stagnation