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Below the touch pad sits the Aspire 2020's unique Arcade button--its ace in the entertainment hole. The Arcade button launches an excellent entertainment-software interface that lets you choose whether you want to watch a movie, create a CD, listen to music, or view photos. It can play content from the system's hard drive, the CD/DVD player, or a flash memory card, but it can't tune in a favorite Internet radio station.
With a 15.4-inch wide-aspect screen powered by ATI's mobility Radeon 9700 graphics processor with 128MB of dedicated video memory, the Aspire 2020 has 20/20 vision. It's equally good for watching DVDs as it is for running the demanding Trainz railroad simulation game or editing video clips. About the only thing the Aspire 2020 lacks entertainmentwise is a built-in TV tuner, but not many laptops have one. You can easily add an external tuner, however, as the Aspire 2020 has three USB 2.0 ports, as well as connectors for FireWire, external monitor, S-Video out, and audio, including an optical S/PDIF plug for a digital sound link.
In addition to standard modem and Gigabit Ethernet connections, the Aspire 2020 can connect with Bluetooth devices, and its Intel 802.11b/g data radio has an exceptional 125-foot range. You also get a mixture of old and new ports, including a Type II PC Card slot; a stodgy parallel port; an infrared transfer window; and a four-in-one flash slot that works with Secure Digital, Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard, and SmartMedia modules. The machine comes with Windows XP Professional and a decent software package, including CyberLink PowerProducer 2.0 Gold for creating multimedia discs and NTI DVD and CD Maker for writing discs. Unfortunately, there's no productivity suite included.Mobile application performance
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating|
To measure maximum notebook application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark 2004, an industry-standard benchmark. Find out more about how we test notebooks.
Performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.Intel's new Dothan Pentium M processor marks a great improvement over the older Banias Pentium M architecture. Working to reduce the chip's power consumption, Intel ended up also improving its efficiency, resulting in a fast processor with a long battery life. The Acer Aspire 2020, running a Pentium M 745 processor with a 14.8V, 4,300mAh (64WHr) battery, scored extremely well in CNET Labs' performance and battery life tests. With more than four and a half hours of battery life when running office and content-creation apps, the Acer Aspire 2020 is geared for long-lasting mobile use.
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes|
Battery life analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.
To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).
Acer Aspire 2020
Windows XP Professional; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 128MB; Hitachi Travelstar 80GN 80GB 4,200rpm
Dell Inspiron 8600
Windows XP Home; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 Pro 128MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 60GB 7,200rpm
HP Pavilion zt3000
Windows XP Home; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 64MB; Fujitsu MHT2080AT 80GB 4,200rpm
Acer provides support for the machine for as long as you own it, with a direct e-mail link for service as well as a toll-free hotline that's open 24/7. When we gave Acer's tech support a call, a technician was on the line in just less than two minutes and correctly answered our test question.