Acer TravelMate 4720 (Core 2 Duo 2GHz, 1GB RAM, 120GB HDD, Windows XP Pro)

The Acer TravelMate 4720 is a sturdy notebook with a remarkable long battery life and superior performance as compared to others in its category. The price ranges from $997 to $1138. The Acer TravelMate 4720 is ideal for commercial users as it contains about everything that they need.

Coming to the brass tacks, the Acer TravelMate 4720 houses a 2 GHz Intel Core duo processor with 1 GB RAM. It has a substantial 120 GB hard drive with an integrated Intel GMA X3100 graphics and a mobile Intel 965GM Express chipset. The sleek notebook measures 13.1 x 10 x 1.5 inches, with a fourteen inch screen and weighs just a little over six pounds. It does not have essential features like a built-in WWAN.

Acer has changed the color of the body to gray, to give it a more professional look and incorporated rounded edges in the stylish design of the new TravelMate 4720. The display has a matte finish that reduces the strain on the eyes, especially when working on long spreadsheets. With a screen resolution of 1280×800, images appear clear and bright and videos do not seem grainy. However there is a Web cam, and an optional VOIP.

The keyboard is pretty wide with smooth keys that will not cause a repetitive strain when typing continuously for a long stretch of time. The fingerprint reader does take too much space, leaving a miniscule area for the mouse buttons. There are three buttons that you can configure to quick start certain programs. Placed above them are four buttons to commence a system password application, chat and backup software and an eManager function that controls the power and system settings of the machine. Moreover the keyboard has two slider buttons to regulate the in built Bluetooth and WI-Fi radios.

The audio system is replete with slots for microphones, line out and headphones. The speakers do not amplify the sound much, but you can always connect the machine to external speakers through the line out slots. There is a provision for VGA out and S video. The TravelMate 4720 houses four USB ports along with mini FireWire multiformat memory card reader. This provides ample opportunity to plug in various peripherals around the machine. It comes with a modem, Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g for networking Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Surprisingly it has no Express Card slot, but just room for the now obsolete PC cards. It provides ample storage for DVDs.

The system comes with Windows XP and does well on multimedia multitasking. However if your job entails images, it is better to upgrade to a 4GB ram as Photoshop runs pretty slow on the TravelMate as compared to its peers. It encodes iTunes pretty fast and can run smoothly for simultaneous Web surfing, and routine Office applications without getting stuck. The nine-cell battery delivers power to last four hours with routine work though it adds to the weight of the notebook.

Acer gives a one year labor and parts warranty with access to a toll free number and an online customer support website with useful software and FAQs. All these make the TravelMate a must buy for those looking for a laptop.