The Aspire 3000 sits right on the edge between thin-and-light and midsize. It weighs 6 pounds and measures 14.3 inches wide, 11 inches deep, and 1.5 inches thick, so it's a bit bulky for regular travel. It's a smidge larger than two other inexpensive laptops--the 6-pound Acer TravelMate 2350 and the 5.7-pound Toshiba Satellite L25. The Aspire 3000's AC adapter weighs 0.8 pound, which is about average for an adapter on a laptop in this category.
Designwise, the Aspire 3003LCi is a dead ringer for the Acer TravelMate 4060 save for its keyboard: the TravelMate's is curved and the Aspire's is rectangular, and we like both just fine. The Aspire 3000 features a nice wide touch pad, two big mouse buttons, and a convenient rocker button for scrolling through documents or Web pages. It doesn't incorporate multimedia controls or external volume buttons, though it has four programmable application buttons and a Wi-Fi on/off button. The system's 15-inch display has a standard 1,024x768 native resolutionand is plenty clear and bright, but it doesn't have the wide-screen dimensions you find on more and more laptop displays. The two speakers deliver mediocre sound. For a better multimedia experience, check out the Dell XPS M140, which starts at $999.
The Aspire 3000's limited group of ports, jacks, and connections reflects its rock-bottom price. It offers one VGA port, one Type II PC Card slot, 56Kbps modem and Ethernet jacks, three USB 2.0 ports, and three audio jacks (headphone, microphone, and line-in). Also onboard is a cost-cutting DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive. Absent from this group are common connections such as FireWire and S-Video as well as a flash-media card reader--a key feature for digital-photo enthusiasts.
Microsoft Windows XP Home comes preloaded on the Aspire 3000, though other configurations in the Aspire 3000 series ship with Windows XP Professional. Acer bundles very little software with the system. For viewing and burning discs, Acer includes CyberLink PowerProducer and NTI CD and DVD Maker; it also provides its own utility for managing core system settings, such as passwords. Starting at $989, the Sony VAIO FS series provides a more palatable software package.
Operating SystemWindows XP HomeCPU TypeMobile Sempron 2800+Screen15.0" XGA DisplayMemory Size256MB DDRHard Disk40GBOptical DriveDVD/CD-RW ComboGraphics CardIntegrated SiS GraphicVideo MemoryShared memoryCommunicationModem, LAN and WLANCard slotPC Card slot for one Type II cardDimensions14.3" W x 11.0" D x 1.5" HWeight6.2 lbs
CPU TypeAMD Mobile SempronCPU Speed2800+CPU L2 Cache256KB
Screen Size15.0"Wide Screen SupportNoDisplay TypeXGAResolution1024 x 768
Operating SystemWindows XP Home
GPU/VPUSiS Mirage 2Video MemoryShared 128MBGraphic TypeIntegrated Card
Memory256MBMemory SpeedDDR333Memory Type2 x DIMMMax Memory Supported2GB
Optical Drive TypeDVD/CD-RW Combo
ModemV.92 56KLAN10/100 LAN, Wake-on-LAN readyWLANAcer InviLink 802.11b/g wireless LAN, Acer SignalUp technology for enhanced antenna efficiency, WI-FI CERTIFIED
Card SlotPC Card slot for one Type II card, 32-bit PC CardBus architecture, Zoomed Video supportUSB4Video Port1 x VGAAudio PortsMono microphone/line-in, Mono headphones/speakers/line-out
AudioMicrosoft DirectSound compatibilitySpeakerInternal Speakers
TouchpadTouchpad with four-way integrated scroll buttonKeyboard-88-key keyboard, inverted T cursor layout, embedded numeric keypad, hotkey controls, international language support, 2.7mm minimum key travel
-12 function, four cursor, two Microsoft Windows keys
-Web browser, e-mail with LED, one user-programmable, Acer Empowering key easy-launch buttons
-Wireless LED button
AC Adapter65-watt AC adapterBattery4-cell lithium ionBattery Lifeup to 1.5 hours life depending on configuration and usage
Dimensions14.3" W x 11.0" D x 1.5" HWeight6.2 lbs. (2.8kg)
Parts1 yearLabor1 year