The Acer 2000 series is built by the same Chinese company (Compal) as the HPZT3000 / Compaq X1000 twins. There is a thread on the X1000forums.com website with photos showing how the internal components are identical.
The main benefit for the Acer is that it has the ATI 9600/9700 video card option with 128mb dedicated video. This is highly desirable for gamers. This notebook is 6.6 pounds and thinner and lighter than the Dell 8600 which also has that option.
The only negatives for the Acer is that it is not available at retail and you can't customize it.
Thus, for many people who don't need the 128mb Dedicated video the Compaq X1000 or HPZT3000 are good choices (go up to 64mb dedicated video) as you can fully customize them for all components.
If you like what the Acer 2000 series offers (a prebuilt sold over the internet) than it is an excellent notebook.
It is very important to try out a notebook as you see from the recent post from another dissastified Acer user (but a lower model, not the Acer 2000 series).
However, as I indicated the core chassis is proven on the HP and Compaq models and you are getting the 128mb dedicated video option (if you bought the prebuilt model that offers that).
You can also read overall very positive reviews at Cnet and user comments there as well.
The things you can get better and or cheaper with a custom order notebook are LCD resolution (can get XGA, SXGA or UXGA with HP/Compaq), memory amount (cheaper to buy 256mb 1 stick and add 512mb PC2700 notebook RAM yourself for under $100 more), hard drive speed (can upgrade to 5400rpm hard drive or sometimes 7200rpm har drive instead of slow standard 4200 rpm hard drive in many notebooks), etc.
Dell of course is fully customizable as well and they do have kiosks in some malls where you can try out the notebooks.
Unfortunately, you have to rely on friends or online reviews for the Acers mostly (at least in the US)
This is a great laptop. I spent months doing research on what laptop to get. The Dell 8600, 600m, Apple iBooks and Powerbooks, Compaq R300Z, 1100, Toshibas and Fujits. The difficulty in buying a laptop is the number of parameters.
First is cost: My Centrino 1,5Mhz, 512Mb, 60Gb, DVD-RAM, 15,4 WXGA screen, 802.11g network card cost me $1200 with XP Pro installed. That's dirt cheap.
Second, what about the features of the laptop such as battery life, heat level, noise level, drive bays, weight, ports. My Acer gets at least 4 1/2 hours on one charge, it does not get warm (unlike Powerbooks and Dells 8600, 600m), the fan only comes on when I boot it up, I can't swap the bays but with a DVD_RAM who needs to, I have S-video, FIrda, 3 USB 2, 4-1 card reader and the usual ports, it is very carryable (I carry it almost every day to school).
Third, you have quality. Is the screen good? How about the keyboard? Speakers? Mousepad? Well, my Acer has a fanatstic screen with excellent color and clarity (like an Apple), the keyboard is comfortable for hours of use with adequate key travel and resisitance, the speakers are a little on the low side but ok, the mousepad is big and comfortable.
Four, you have construction quality. Does it hold up. My Acer scores well here, but not like an IBM. It has a few parts that aren't so sturdy. It won't stop you from taking it with you, but it will make you get a good case.
Overall, I highly recommend this Acer. I have been in the laptop business professionally since 1993 (back in the day of 486 computers) and I have seen many, many computers. This one is a keeper.