Acer resurrects eMachines with $429 laptop

The new eMachines eMD620-5777 is a full-sized laptop that competes with Netbooks on price.

Michelle Thatcher Former Senior Associate Editor, Laptops
Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.
Michelle Thatcher
eMachines eMD620-5777: funny name, seriously low price. eMachines

It's Halloween time, and I think I've seen a ghost: with the new eMD620-5777, Acer has resurrected the eMachines brand in the laptop space.

Of course, eMachines never completely went away--of late, the brand has been on desktops and monitors--but it's been some time since I've even seen an eMachines laptop, never mind received a press release about one. But the popularity of low-cost Netbooks, coupled with tough economic times, must have convinced the company that there was still market demand for cheap laptops.

At $429, the eMD620-5777 costs less than many of the best-equipped Netbooks, and its 14.1-inch wide-screen display and DVD burner make it more of a true laptop. Given that the case comes stocked with AMD's 1.6GHz Athlon 2650e--a low-power processor designed for small-form-factor PCs--and just 1GB of RAM, we hardly expect great performance or battery life from the eMD620-5777. It's likely to be used for the same basic computing tasks as Netbooks (surfing the Web, typing documents), plus watching movies.

Additional specs: integrated ATI Radeon x1200 graphics, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, a 160GB hard drive, three USB 2.0 ports, headphone/microphone jacks, stereo speakers, and Windows Vista Home Basic.

The eMD620-5777 will be available at Best Buy starting November 1.