Calling all students, victims of the financiapocalpyse, and other cash-strapped customers: If you're in the market for a new PC but don't have the budget for anything fancy, here's a deal you won't want to miss.
Best Buy has the Acer Aspire AS5532-5535 laptop for just $299.99. Shipping adds another $17 or so, and you'll probably be on the hook for sales tax as well. Even so, this is one mighty solid PC for the price.
The Aspire is a single-core (AMD Athlon TF-20) system, so it's no speed demon--but it should have no trouble keeping up with everyday computing tasks: e-mail, word processing, Hulu, etc.
The rest of the specs are solid enough, starting with 3GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. Acer also supplies a DVD burner, an ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics subsystem (way better than the integrated Intel chipset you typically find on low-end laptops), and a six-cell battery.
The screen spans 15.6 inches and offers 1,366 by 768-pixel resolution, aka 720p. That makes this a mighty fine system for watching movies on the go.
I do have a couple complaints. First, despite the fairly low-power processor and reasonably large battery, Acer promises only about 2.5 hours of runtime between charges. That's a little weak. Second, the Aspire has just two USB ports. There ought to be a law mandating at least three.
Still...$299.99. That's pretty stellar, especially considering this is a new, fully warrantied system, not a refurb. Might be just perfect for a college-bound freshman. And check the 700-plus (!) user reviews on the product page: they're overwhelmingly positive.