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I have had this Travelmate 5520 for a little over 2 years now, with no fuss and no problems at all - it is a great little machine.
Here, I use 'little' as a term of endearment, rather than an expression of size, as this is not a netbook laptop (ultra-portable mini-computer) by any means. The screen (which pretty much dictates the size of any laptop these days) is a sharp 15.4" LCD, which offers a pretty good compromise between a desktop display and a portable machine, but as a compromise it leans more towards the desktop. In terms of battery life, on 'High power' a charge lasts around an hour, depending on what exactly you are doing, and to be honest even on the lowest setting for processor speed etc, if you have the wireless connected you are only going to get a couple of hours between charges. Perhaps it would be worth considering as a simple, more portable desktop substitute than a truly portable machine.
Regarding spec, the 160GB HDD is big enough for most, with the obvious option of a removable HDD if large storage is a must. At 2GB, the RAM is enough to be running Vista, although the Radeon XT does steal some of this when you are running graphically-intensive programs. As a result, I would recommend splashing out about £20 on another 1GB of RAM (might have to be in the form of a 2GB chip, as the installed memory is likely to be 2x1GB), just to give you a buffer if you are planning on watching video etc.
On that note, a problem that all laptops struggle with is cooling, and the 5520 is no exception - should the computer determine that it is running too hot, it will increase the fan speed (to audible levels) and reduce processor speeds until it has cooled sufficiently. Unfortunately, this can lead to slightly jarring frame rates.
Aside from that, the chassis is solid and the keyboard is suitably robust, and connectivity (in terms of both the Bluetooth functionality, and the excellent Wireless reception) is very good indeed. A fantastically clear webcam (Acer's built in Crystal-Eye) means that the 5520 is also very capable when it comes to VOIP and video conferencing.
To sum up then, this is perhaps not the most portable laptop in the world, but if you are looking for a pretty cheap (if you can still find it anywhere!) portable desktop that is great value for money, I would highly recommend it!
This acer travel mate is a really good allround laptop.
Its really reasonable priced too, and you'll be able to pick one of these up for just about £400.
This is an acer travel mate, basically all travel mates are made by acer and designed customly for business users, however you could buy one for home use, and it doesn't really make any difference apart from it does come with vista business, so you'll get some extra software on there.
Also it might look a little more smart than other laptops, this is because its made for the use In offices and maybe a sleek cool laptop aren't allowed in offices?
This one however doesn't look too bad, its quite thin and is quite small too, which makes it very portable and very good for train journeys.
A reason why its so portable is because it has quite a small screen, only 15.4 inches infact.
This isn't really small however a lot of laptops nowadays have 17 inch screens so this is a bit of a let down.
The screen is actually really good quality and the main reason behind this is because its an active matrix screen. This technology is being used by so much more laptop manufacturers nowadays as it makes the screen lighter, therefore making the laptop lighter, is makes the image quality so much better than a normal TFT screen and it also makes the response time a lot better, which makes videos look sharper, photos look sharper and game playing look better than ever before.
Another feature built into this screen is the fantastic X-black technology, this gives you better contrast, better quality, but the best thing of all, this gives you wider viewing angles.
In the past, watching movies on laptops has been for only one person and two people positioned very closely to each other. Even then you would have to set your laptop up just right pointing at exactly where your sat to get a good picture and if you moved your body in the slightest your view would be spoilt and the screen would look black and faces look weird colours too.
However, with X-black technology, you can just watch your laptop from pretty much any angle, your whole family could be crowded round watching something on your laptop and they would all have the same view, the best view, so this X-black technology is great when looking for a laptop.
Also its hard drive space is quite big too, its 120 gb Which again is huge considering its only £400.
So £400 for this laptop, this is cheap especially when you consider its massive gb of hard drive, which is the amount some laptops have that cost well over £1000
Games play really well on this laptop too, and when testing the fan noise I noticed a little when starting up, but when I run demanding games or software there is absolutely no fan noise at all.
This laptop also has a great built in webcam at the top of its screen.
Having an web cam installed means you don't have to go out and buy one for about another £40, it also means you don't have to get home and install It and worry about whether it works or not. It also means you don't have to have wires all over your desk and a huge camera on the top of your desktop.
The best thing about having a webcam built in must be the fact that you don't need you do anything with it, and because its built into your laptop you wont need to take another webcam with you wherever you go, because its built into your laptop and your webcam will always be with you.
This laptop has a great high spec, some really good extra features, and runs and looks great, its even really portable and will last you 2.5 hours at least, and its only £400.
This laptop is defiantly a steal and if your looking for a new laptop, for a cheap price, id defiantly recommend this one.