Notebook Review: The Acer Aspire 3935

Woo woo. Or if you prefer, hubba hubba. The Acer Aspire 3935 is a brushed-metal slimline just 1-inch thick and just 4.2 pounds, including the DVD±RW drive missing from ultralight notebooks like Apple’s MacBook Air (and the Ethernet port and swappable battery missing from the Air as well).

No, it’s not quite as skinny and sexy as the Apple status symbol or Lenovo’s magnesium-alloy ThinkPad X301. But this 13.3-inch widescreen traveler is about half the price — $900 at Newegg and J&R.

And that’s not for a stripped-down model, either. The CPU is one of Intel’s up-to-date “Penryn” Core 2 Duos — the P7350, a 2.0GHz dual-core with 1066MHz front-side bus and 3MB of Level 2 cache — teamed with 3GB of quick DDR3 rather than more mundane DDR2 memory and an ample 250GB Toshiba hard disk, itself a lighter, cutting-edge 1.8-inch compact rather than a more mundane 2.5-inch model.

Both Bluetooth and 802.11 draft-N Wi-Fi wireless are built in, as are a fingerprint reader and Webcam. The 32-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium anchors a software bundle that includes 60-day trial versions of McAfee Security Center and Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007; NTI Backup Now and Media Maker; the eSobi RSS-feed reader and Orion instant-messaging client; and Acer’s (really CyberLink’s) Arcade Deluxe, an alternative to Windows Media Center for enjoying DVDs, photos, and music. There’s also a handy window-tiling utility dubbed GridVista that makes it easy to arrange, say, one application on the laptop’s LCD while two others share a split-screen external monitor.

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