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I bought this laptop many years ago. It was my second laptop, before I bought the Dell XPS M1730.
In the time that I had this Acer, I was quite pleased with it. It was pretty quick, had a nice screen and had built-in webcam (but crap resolution). Not too bad. It had an actual graphics card installed and not an integrated one, so you could play proper games on it. The Nvidia 7300 GPU had a bit of grunt behind it, and play several games well, but it was a low-cost, low-powered GPU so many newer games just wouldn't play. I tried to play OutRun 2006, and while it ran, it did feel quite jittery, and not very smooth. OutRun wasn't even that hardware intensive either. There were a few configurations available for this model. I had the 160Gb, 2Gb RAM and Nvidia 7300 256Mb config. Back then, I though this was the dogs' knackers.
It is also a cheap laptop, for the hardware you get. This was one of the good things with Acer. Their laptops were very good while always being a little cheaper then the opposition. The Aspire makes a brilliant desktop replacement, as it can do many of the same jobs relatively easy, but again, don't expect high-end, graphically intensive games to run. If you don't need it for gaming, then you can't go wrong.
Unlike many other laptops, which were small, this one was quite big. As such, it has a full size keyboard, which included the keypad to the left. Only the larger laptops could have this, and it's always nice feature to have.
Connectivity wise, you get 4 USB ports, an older PCMCIA port and a Card Reader. You also get the usual Audio In/Out and the ethernet port. Unfortunately, mine developed a serious hardware fault (well after warranty ran out) where the Card Reader AND PCMCIA slot stopped working. Windows didn't even detect them in the Device Manager. On the odd occasion, they would just suddenly reappear the next time the laptop was booted up. Has anyone else had this problem?
As is the way with laptops, the audio quality from the speakers is OK, but extremely quiet. I almost immediately bought a set of speakers with a sub-woofer, just so I could hear something. That was sorted OK. There was also several shortcut keys above the keyboard, allowing you to access the internet and email with a single button press. There were also some media buttons down the right side of the keyboard to control the Play/Pause/Stop etc.
Some bad points to this machine? Ease of access. Many laptops, including Acers, are fairly easy to get into. There is often a panel on the underside, that when taken off, exposes most of the internal hardware, such as the hard drive, RAM, CPU, graphics card and the fans/heatsink. With this laptop, there is no such panel. Not even under the keyboard. It's a complete strip down just to get inside. Because of this, cleaning the air intake and exhaust fans are very difficult to do. This laptop gets really hot, so cleaning is a good thing to do. The only way to clean the inside without taking it apart is to use a compressor and blast the dust out. Although I haven't had anything go wrong with the GFX card or RAM, the hard drive died after about 1 year and had to be replaced. This only occurred once. The DVD-RW drive also died - about 4 times. It was replaced under warranty twice, but then I had to pay for the new drives after the warranty. Pain in the butt.
Battery life also sucks. 1 hour maximum when at full whack. You may get about 2 hours out of it while watching a film, if you dim the display a bit and turn off the wireless. And the webcam is pretty poor, but it does the job it's supposed to.
When you buy this machine, it would come pre-loaded with Windows Vista (bleurgh) so I quickly removed it and installed Windows XP ASAP. I located all the XP drivers first, otherwise I would have been buggered. Windows XP went on without a hitch and everything worked as it did with Vista. Better in fact. This is something I would advise to many people who don't use Windows 7 - remove Vista from your laptop and use Windows XP instead.
Overall, a cheap and sturdy laptop. A good desktop replacement, but nothing special. If you don't intend to play the games of the future or do anything graphically demanding, and want to stick with Windows XP (it may struggle with 7) this is a good laptop to have and to keep. Probably only needs to be replaced should the graphics card die.
The acer aspire 9303 laptop was (note the past tense) great. It was one of the best laptops that you could buy for the money. It had a webcam, although pretty poor quality, and was easy to use. I got it in august 2007 and this year it just decided it had enough and stopped working. I did expect it to last a bit longer as it is an Acer and has some quality hardware but it lasted just under 2 years. The battery life was ok when not in use but as soon as it was in use the battery just went down after about 1 hour which is no good for people who take their laptop with them. I think Acer made a great laptop but it should be left plugged in as the laptop is too power hungry to run from a battery. I would recommend this to people as a desktop replacement but not for using without mains power. Its also quite heavy and gets hot.
Acer Aspire 9303WSMi is part of the notebook category that can be defined as desktop replacement, this notebook has good quality for a medium/low price, I bought it in a store on a low cost deal, I can say it works fine, comes with windows vista premium ( i personally don't like vista but let's move on).
You can probably find different configuration with this notebook , mine has a geforce 7300, 1 gb memory, 120 giga HD (this are the part that generally are different in a notebook )
I can say I am pretty happy with this notebook, if you are searching for reasonable priced laptop that can: use office programs, play some games (not nextgen probably) the 7300 geforce is a low cost/low power consumption video card so many games will work especially at the lower settings, the notebook weigh around 4-5 KG and has everything you need to connect to the internet anywhere you go, a ethernet port 3 usb ports, is WI-FI 802.11b/g compatible and has a 56k port to connect to analogic telephone lines so basically has everything you need to use it everywhere you go.
The battery has got a 2 hours maximum power, and as I said this notebook is more of a desktop replacement to bring with you if you need it but not so comfortable to use it while you travel.
I installed ubuntu in it without to much hassle and works fine (the only problem I had was the audio that did not work on ubuntu, the real problem is that the notebook use, at least ubuntu thinks the 3d audio engine so you have to change the 3d surround instead of the normal audio (not that is such a big deal))
The notebook is oriented for the people that need a 17 inches monitor for office use to bring with them, and want a notebook that has a REAL video card inside, not the cheap, low cost, low consumption but really without any 3d functions integrated ones, aero(the 3d video engine of vista works fine, ad strangely fast) vista works fine but is a little slow.
The first installation require quite some time to get vista to work, I think it took me something around 20-30 minutes so be prepared to wait some time, but luckily is only to do it one time.