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Acer Travelmate 290
It's been a while since I owned one of these. Mine did have a Pentium 4 1.4 GHz processor and a wireless card. However, it only came with 256mb of RAM and the hard drive was 40 GB instead of 30 GB as stated in the listing DooYoo have put up.
The main reason I bought this was because it was portable and I needed it when I was out and about. It was top of the range when I bought it, but it quickly became out-of-date. It started to slow down a lot and it used to take forever to load applications. I ended up having to upgrade the memory from 256mb to 1gb. You wouldn't be able to play any of the games out at the moment. I remember this used to struggle with Unreal Tournament 2004.
The outside case of the laptop felt very solid. I have used other laptops where the plastic feels cheap and thin but this wasn't the case with this one. It has a touchpad below the keyboard that you use instead of a mouse. You moved your finger across it and the pointer would move on the screen. It didn't work too well though; it could be a bit too sensitive.
The wireless facility worked fine for browsing the web but you wouldn't be able to download large files using it.
Battery life was between two to three hours from what I can recall, no more than that. I tried to plug it into the mains whenever I could.
It ended up dying on me after just over three years which I wasn't too pleased about. I did have an extended warranty but the laptop failed just after it had expired. I think the motherboard died. I remember checking on Google and finding many other people with the same kind of fault with their Acer Travelmate 290. I have had a quick look on Google again, while writing this and it appears people are still having similar problems to what I had. I've read that it could be that a certain chip on the motherboard becomes loose after a few years. I didn't know enough to open up the laptop and fix it myself. I phoned Acer explaining what had happened and that it appeared I wasn't the only one with this problem. The guy on the phone started screaming at me. I didn't really think that was good customer service. He said if my warranty had run out then they wouldn't fix it. I would have to pay £300 to buy a new motherboard. With that kind of money, I could buy a new desktop that would have better specs than my laptop. Anyway, I tried phoning back to try again and the same guy picked up again and started screaming down the phone at me so it looks like they only had one person working at their call center that day.
I took this into a local computer shop and was told they would be able to get a second hand motherboard for £60 off EBay. They never did though. Fortunately, I no longer needed a computer I could carry around with me by this time, so I ended up getting a desktop PC instead.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I can't recommend this laptop. Primarily, because I found it difficult to find replacement parts and even when I did, they are really expensive. If you don't know how to open up a laptop then you will have to pay extra to get someone to put the parts in for you. With a desktop PC, they mostly use the same kind of parts and they are cheap compared to laptops. The hardware on this is out of date by current standards and you wouldn't be able to do much on it apart from web browsing and basic word processing. You wouldn't be able to run the latest version of Windows on this and even if you did manage to install it, it would be extremely slow.
Additionally, I won't be buying anything made by Acer in future because of their rubbish customer service. I do think the laptop should have lasted me at least 5 to 6 years based on what I paid for it.
If I did need a portable PC in future, I would most likely go for a net book instead which are much lighter than this. I used to carry this around in a carry case which was more like a suitcase. The carry case used to have a shoulder strap and I remember my shoulders used to start aching if I carried it around for long periods of time. It isn't light for a portable device. I am giving this one star.
The TravelMate 290 series is designed to mobilize budget-conscious outbound professional users, whether self employed or from small, medium and large corporations with a slim, light and modular Centrino powered work tool that features exceptional, energy-efficient independence and opens the door to ample mobile performance combined with flexible and complete communication facilities.