New laptop: Acer Aspire 5349

Since we have someone going to school, we wanted to get a laptop for the house. I had been eyeballing two computers over at Micro Center: one was a refurbished Toshiba Satellite, and the other the Acer Aspire 5349.  Both were priced $279US before tax.  Quite a deal, considering how expensive laptops have been in the past.  As the Satellite was out of stock, I took a stab at the Acer.

I can’t say the specs are a total knockout, but for the price it is actually a decent performer.  The OS is Windows 7 Home Premium, which supports up to 16GB of memory, although the laptop itself only purports to support 8GB.  We are not loading this up with much in terms of software, but the main things on it will be MS Office 2010, Adobe Lightroom (or Photoshop Elements), a handful of codecs to go with Windows Media Player (not messing with third party players), and Avast Anti-Virus.  And of course, Google Chrome was the first thing installed, and most icons for IE9 removed.

Typical of new computers you don’t build yourself, it was loaded with a ton of what I call “crapware.”  It took a couple of hours to carefully remove everything, and I’m happy to report that the sub-par McAfee AV was the first thing removed, along with some Norton product that thankfully did not install a rootkit like most Norton “security” products do.  Can’t complain too much about these product placements–they help to bring down the cost of the computer.

The technical specs include an Intel Celeron dual-core processor, 15.6″ LCD screen, 320GB 5400RPM hard disk, DVD±RW-DL drive, a webcam with microphone, and 2GB of DDR3 memory.  We’ll be doing a memory upgrade shortly, covered here in a separate post.  The port options are plentiful: two USB 2.0 ports, one RJ45 Ethernet jack, an HDMI output (!), VGA output, microphone input, headphone output, and a Kensington-compatible locking port. Wireless B/G/N networking is also included, but no Bluetooth.

Quite good value for $279, on sale!

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