>*clears throat* amendments….

3:06 AM

>I have a new favorite OEM when it comes to laptops.

Move over, Dell. Helloooo, Acer!

I cannot seem to rant and rave enough when it comes to my new Aspire. I honestly was not expecting it to even come close to to touching the hem of the Dell, and it freaking blew it out of the water.

How so?

More features, to begin with - TV out, RF reciever, webcam, high quality surround sound, the ability to be locked, firewire. Smaller and lighter. Much more attractive and user friendly design. Performance - this guy actually has a better motherboard, better graphics, and a bigger hard drive than its Dell twin. Now this isn't the sucker punch... I noticed all of this while I was shopping around online for a new laptop, as I was specifically looking for something that would be a jack of all trades with desktop performance in a small and portable package, and this rang the bell. I was still skeptical though in regards to the quality and how well all of this would fit together.

The quality is so far at least on par with the Dell. The reason I say "so far at least" is because, well, time is the biggest teller of all. As for how everything fits together... holding this is like holding a Macbook more than anything else. Yes, seriously. It is that comfortable. And here's a shocker (considering the OEM is Acer)... the body was designed by BMW. (BTW, what is up with the new trend of having car manufacturers design laptop bodies?)

Now, for one of the biggest surprises of all... the OEM install of Vista.

You know how I feel about Vista already. Did it suddenly get better? No, lol. But Acer did do something that up until now I have only dreamed of an OEM doing.

First of all, a minimal installation of bundled software. There is Norton (initializes on system start up), there is Orion, there is Acer Empowerment (their collection of system config, backup, and restore tools which are all nicely bundled in to a lightweight toolbar that sits on your desktop and initializes on system start up), Acer Arcade (which from what I can tell is kind of like Media Center), a handful of games, a CD/DVD burning application, and of course the registration utility that starts up when you first turn the laptop on. Minus Norton and the games, all the bundled software is actually *useful*, even their Empowerment toolbar, which has marked the first time in my life I've ever found myself using the OEM's system configuration utilities as opposed to what Windows comes with. Also note the LACK of bundled software. I have not found myself spending hours uninstalling useless crap and nag "trial"-ware, which is freaking GREAT!

There is also one more detail, that while small, makes a huge difference. They actually let you make a cd of just the drivers and bundled application software. While I can't say I've never seen this come out of an OEM before, I can say that it is bloody rare. It means no having to download the drivers/software from the OEM's website or "restore" the entire OS just because you need a driver or want to reinstall a piece of software.


Now for support. I generally always find something to call support about, if anything just to check out what I can expect from tech support should anything go wrong. They have got the kind of tech support that won't win any awards for customer service or salesmanship but does diagnose the issue correctly, resolve it correctly, and get you off the phone quickly - my favorite kind. :) Although, I must say here that this is the point where I would *not* suggest Acer to a new computer user. Unlike most other OEMs, Acer doesn't go out of its way to pop support numbers and emails and chat in your face, nor does their tech support seem very willing to "babysit" or overly eager to win the adoration of the people that call in. If you don't have an "average" knowledge of computers and/or expect your OEM to really go out of its way to make sure you get tons of "friendly" and "courteous" support, I have a funny feeling you will hate Acer. The guy I talked to sounded and acted quite a bit like a techie and *not* a customer service representative, i.e., he could care less what my impression was of him (he was cordial and that was it), he just wanted to get the issue fixed. I have one request to Acer - please, for the love of God and all that is sane, DO NOT CHANGE YOUR TECH SUPPORT! That includes but is not limited to: moving your call centers overseas, pushing empathy/sympathy/etc. more than average call handling time and first time issue resolution, introducing lengthy call scripts of any sort, pushing your tech support to upsell (or any kind of sell really), and expecting ANY kind of "professional" "business like" "corporate" behavior. This crap does not work, and only serves to piss off both your reps and your customers (that is, the ones that are not... well, we won't go there). Trust me, things are fine as they are, at least from my experience.

Well, that's all I can think of to say for now. I'm happy with my laptop and would recommend it to others. :) Laters!

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  1. >Ok, well I can actually say that I really considered buying an Acer because of the price range more than anything. I had an old Acer desktop at one point, and she ran just fine without complaint. I've found in the mean time that Acer ranks with just about any major OEM that I've tried. What I did not like about it is that I felt it was bulky and heavy, too thick for me. Maybe that's just me. You say it is nice and light, but I did not like it.I depsise Dell because it's a hell of a trick trying to get it to work with anything besides other Dell stuff, which puts ALL of their products out of my price range. I believe that a larger part of computer performance lies with the user. A car is a useless piece of shit if you don't know how to drive, eh? The only people who can really make any kind of sound arguments are techies and other above average computer users.Have you seen the new Mac Airbook? Those things are so fucking hot, but totally not worth it for me because I don't know shit about Mac, and I don't want to wade thru the bullshit that I don't get with being an average Windows user. I'd take Microsoft's bullshit any day.My laptop is a Toshiba Satellite, and so far, I have not had a single problem on it, except for the one that YOU helped me fix, in the very beginning. It really hasn't happened since, but A. called her ISP and they walked her thru some firewall settings on her modem, which stopped it completely. I remember you saying something about Vista being XP with a skin on it, and it is. If you change all the menus to classic, everything becomes easier to find.I find my Toshiba to be user friendly, and it is the brand that I would reccommend, despite the ugly review from your previous blog.

  2. >How old are we talking? And what model did you check out when you were laptop shopping?Hehe, yah, I've seen the Airbook. I like Macs, but at the same time, I know they're not for me, more due to philosophical differences with Apple than anything else. The OS is a lot more BS free than Windows, but you're right, it does take some getting used to, and personally I don't like the fact they obscure everything that you need to fix an issue so well - which is good for the end user but bad from a tech support standpoint. Either way, one can easily throw Windows on a Mac since they use standard PC hardware now... but... who wants to spend $200+ for a retail copy of Vista? Ugh.The reason I gave Toshiba such an ugly review was because as an OEM they have actually went out of their way to make it almost impossible for anyone outside of a Toshiba service center to take care of a simple BIOS issue. It would've cost over $100 to get the issue I had fixed by one of their service centers, when it was something that even an average user could've very easily fixed themselves had Toshiba followed the norm (reset a jumper and update the BIOS - very easily covered by instructions/a how to guide). There was also the fact they didn't provide individual drivers for their Toshiba manufactured hardware, which for the end user means completely reinstalling the OEM version of their operating system just to be able to install/reinstall a driver.An OEM's job involves more than just tossing hardware together in a user friendly package. The biggest tell all to the quality of an OEM is in support - how easy they make it for you to get the product repaired/serviced, both inside and outside of the warranty, both by them and by others. A bad OEM tries to lock you in to relying on them for every little problem that may arise - and it's about more than just cost. Should the company go out of business or stop support for your product (which they're usually pretty quick to do), it means you're screwed. Unfortunately, Toshiba falls under this category. Sony's notebooks are great too but I avoid them for this same exact reason.More than anything though it boils down to user experience and what the user wants. While you've had problems getting Dells to work with anything but Dell stuff, I've experienced the exact opposite. Meanwhile Toshiba left me frothing at the mouth because I couldn't repair the simplest issues, yet your experience with them has been great.Either way, I'm just happy I've finally found an OEM that works the way I think. :)

  3. >Well, you know how hard I shopped around. Its funny that you mention Sony too, because I looked at their (Sony's) Vaio and almost picked on, in fact at the time it was a toss up between the Acer at Staples, and the Vaio that I thought that I was going to get from Sissy. In the end, it was the Toshiba that she offered me at a much more lucrative price than either of the two. (not to mention that the Sony was to be given away before I came along, but that isn't the point. ) After some searching, I have come to the conclusion that I was looking at the Acer Aspire 4250. It didn't look bad, and I was really impressed by the webcam.I suspect that your problems with the Toshiba boils down to support ethics, which is fair. I can't imagine having the same kinds of problems that you did with my Toshiba, because I can't imagine myself trying to do what you were doing. I know zero about chipsets and the like, and most anything I need to know can be found in support forums and stuff online. I actually appreciate the fact that they tossed some hardware in a user friendly package.On the other hand, take a step back and think about who YOU are: A web savvy tech support veteran with more knowledge than a Dummies book. You have the luxury of complaining about ethics and getting frothy over Toshiba's bullshit, while others simply get their Piece fixed and continue on like nothing ever happened. Like you said, you found one that works the way you think. :)The Acer that I worked with before was an oldie with Windows 98 on it, and this was back in 2000 before the emergence of XP, if 2000 or ME was out, I was not aware at the time. It was a good computer and served well, despite the fact that there was an idiot user on it all the time. (hi mom)Also, Acer sponsors races for Formula One, Bar-Honda, and a few other fat names in the car industry. Do not forget too, that Acer is the new Gateway, as Acer bought them, Texas Instruments' laptop division, and owns about...75% of Packard Bell, and even financially sponsored the move on PB by Gateway. That's a lot of cookie jars for one hand, and they've already been sued more than once.My favorite OEM (and there's no telling what you'll say :P) is Emachine. I have one of the t6126 models (or something close to it, one of the first marketed with XP i think? I havenever had a problem with it related to the hardware or had to make a tech call that resulted in contacting the OEM. The only thing that's wrong with it (and I think it's really just age) is the A drive doesn't work anymore, and even THAT is a recent event. I know that it is at least six or seven years old, has been thru several moves, has no corrupted components that I know of, and -- and! has failed to acheieve the legendary failure of power supply. <333 (yes!) *knock on wood.* So I love them. What do you think?

  4. >"On the other hand, take a step back and think about who YOU are: A web savvy tech support veteran with more knowledge than a Dummies book. You have the luxury of complaining about ethics and getting frothy over Toshiba’s bullshit, while others simply get their Piece fixed and continue on like nothing ever happened. Like you said, you found one that works the way you think."LOL... that's why I originally said that I wouldn't suggest Acer to the average user. ;). Anyways, I wasn't just thinking about whether or not I can fix it, but also whether or not your average repair shop can fix it. It's basically like having a foreign car. Yah, it runs great, but if it breaks down, you're going to have to tote it to an "authorized" shop for repairs because none of your normal mechanic shops are going to know how to fix it. Does this mean a foreign car is a bad buy? No, it just means it's not for everyone, especially those who like to work on their own cars.I like Emachines for much the same reasons I like Acer, and did they make laptops, I would've looked for one.