Acer has some great models but be careful on the battery they specify as standard. If it is a Pentium M notebook (Centrino) you should have at least a 6 cell battery which will normally give you 3.5-5 hours battery life on a Pentium M notebook . HP/Compaq and others are offering 12 cell batteries on Pentium M models now which are much heavier and thicker of course but can make battery life go to double the time or 7-10 hours on a single battery ! (3.5 hours on 6 cell is customary for wi-fi use or playing a DVD but having both of these turned off can push the time closer to the maximum figure as well as turning down the brightness of the LCD).
Some cheaper Acers were supplying a 4 cell which was barely giving you longer battery life than a Pentium 4M or AMD 64 notebook which defeats the entire purchase of a Pentium M notebook.
The Acer Ferrari and other pricier Acer models won't pull this but you seem to be price sensitive so make sure you are getting at least a 6 cell battery included.
Gateway is very competitive at retail and online but keep in mind they closed all their retail stores about a year ago so they are working their way back. They are at Best Buy however and I think Office Depot carries them. Those are 2 large retailers that don't carry Acer in the US (Acer is mostly an online entity in the US similar to Fujitsu but even Fry's Electronics in the West has Fujitsu notebooks).
I think both of these notebook brands should be judged on their features as neither has outstanding service or a large retail presence to make them stand out.
Make sure to get a Pentium M cpu if applicable ending in a 0 (example 730, 740, 750) not ending in a 5 (example 725) as the new Sonoma chipset, Pentium M cpu, etc run off the chips ending in a 0 -that gives you the faster system bus of 533mhz (versus 400mhz), faster RAM (PC3300 versus PC2700), etc .. the new Pentium M chips themselves like the 730 1.6mhz is Sonoma wheras the Pentium M 725A 1.6mhz is the former generation Dothan -- both have 2mb L2 system cache but again see the benefits of the Sonoma chips above ..........
I'm planning to get a new laptop, and have pretty much narrowed down my choices to the Acer TravelMate 3000 and Gateway M250X.
I can configure the Gateway with a 2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM for less than what the Acer costs. But, what's more important is which computer would be more reliable.
I know that Gateway and Acer aren't as great as the Dells and HPs, but they seem to be the best value so far. My budget is $1299, and I prefer lighter PCs (but don't want to sacrifice too much performance). So what should I get -- the Acer, or the Gateway?
Thanks in advance,