Spec wise the 9504 is powered by a 2GHz Pentium M, and 1GB of RAM. Uncovering the slot on the underside revealed that this was made up of two 512MB soDIMMs, so should you feel that 1GB isn’t enough there no free slots to make use of. 1GB should be fine though for most uses. The graphics are provided by an ATI X700, which for those of us used to the latest and greatest is starting to sound a touch old hat. However, I fired up Far Cry and set detail levels to medium settings and it looked absolutely great on the widescreen display.
Storage is provided by a 100GB Seagate drive. It only spins at 4,200rpm though, which isn’t the fastest. The capacity isn’t bad for a notebook though and makes sense considering the Acer can record TV using a built-in MPEG2 encoder.
Considering the specification the Acer is only reasonable in terms of raw performance, though it should be said straight away that it’s fast enough to do what it needs to do. However, the overall SYSmark score of 261 is way behind the 352 achieved by the recently reviewed Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi dual-core notebook. Of course, that’s more expensive and doesn’t have the same multimedia features that this does. Battery life is not spectacular, but you’d be unlikely to be watching a DVD on this thing if not connected up to the mains.
There’s no denying though that the Acer is a superbly featured notebook and is all the more remarkable when one considers the price. At only £1,162 it’s simply great value, and undercutting the similar Toshiba Qosmio by a significant amount.
Quirks with the undersized keys and the poor performance from the VoIP phone mean that it’s not a perfect notebook, but one can forgive these when one considers the price. Acer has a knack of undercutting its competitors and it’s done it again here in style. If you don’t mind not having Microsoft’s Media Center Edition, and based on what we’ve seen of Acer Arcade there’s no reason why you should, this is the best value entertainment notebook on the market.
Acer once again offers superb value with a fully fledged entertainment notebook that will be perfect for the student or home office, though you’ll need to accustom yourself to the layout of the keyboard if you want to have a happy relationship with your notebook.