by Raymond Chang
Overview and Introduction:
The Acer Aspire 3003LCi is a 15-inch screen budget laptop built by Acer, it’s part of the Aspire 3000 series. The 3003LCi weighs 6.1 lbs, which can be considered a light DTR (Desktop Replacement). The specs for this particular model are:
- AMD Sempron Mobile 3000+
- 512 MB DDR RAM (1 dimm.)
- 60 GB 4200 Rpm Hard Drive
- 15.0″ XGA monitor
- Windows XP Home Edition
- 802.11G internal WLAN
Reasons for Buying:
I bought this laptop to replace my old Toshiba laptop, which kept overheating constantly. I wanted a notebook for basic tasks, and maybe some occasional games at the lowest price. I wanted built in wireless, at least a 40 GB HD, CD Burner/DVD-ROM drive and 256 MB RAM. Some other laptops I looked at were the following:
- Dell Inspirion 6000 (Celeron M)
- Compaq V2000 (Celeron M)
- Compaq V2000Z (Sempron Mobile)
- Acer Aspire 3500 Series (Celeron M)
I didn’t have any experience with Dell’s onlins shopping process, and I found out that Celeron M’s are just stripped down Pentium M’s, which isn’t very good, and the i6000 seemed a bit bulky. The V2000 also uses Celeron M’s, so that too was eliminated. The V2000Z seemed nice, with a lightweight design, but it was a little expensive with comparable features. The Acer 3500 looked nice, and had a widescreen, but I missed out on the $499 promotion, so I chose the Acer Aspire 3003LCi.
Where and How Purchased:
I looked at the local ads of the electronic stores every week, and then one week, I saw a good deal at Circuit City. I bought the Acer for 5$00 after Mail in Rebates (MIRs) at Circuit City with a free printer, router and wireless mouse after MIRs. I think this is an exceptional value, because for such little money, you get a lot.
Build & Design:
I am impressed by Acer’s “folio” design. It looks professional, clean looking, and gives the laptop a feeling that it is worth more than it looks. It’s curved lines make it seem a lot thinner than it is, even though it isn’t really that thick in the first place. The case feels a little flimsy at the wrist rest areas and the screen has a little flex, but the overall build quality of the case feels solid. The case is made up of plastic with a metallic silver look, it feels smooth to the touch. The notebook weighs about 6 pounds. It feels a little heavy, but it is relatively light compared to my old 8 pound Toshiba notebook. The screen hinges feel solid. There is some rippling of the screen that occurs if you push in on the back of the lid. Overall the build quality is OK, good for everyday use, but it’s not meant for taking excessive abuse or being taken into the wilderness.
Top view of Acer 3003 (view larger image)
Compared to a quarter and an AA battery (view larger image)
Programmable Quick Launch buttons (view larger image)
Built-in microphone (Which is perfect for Skype etc.) (view larger image)
The Acer comes with a 15.0″ XGA screen. The screen doesn’t have the reflective type coating, which can be better for doing normal tasks, since I don’t really watch movies on it anyways. The screen is bright enough, but unfortunately, mine came with one dead pixel. There isn’t a lot of light leakage. As far as the dead pixel goes, there was no way to obtain a replacement LCD or notebook, but since it’s in the corner, I’ll live with it.
Here are some pictures of the screen:
Shown when compared to AC adaptor (view larger image)
Shown from a side angle (view larger image)
The speakers are typical notebook speakers: tinny, small and no bass. They might suffice for normal use, but if you are going to listen to a lot of music, get yourself some decent headphones.
Processor and Performance:
The laptop takes about 49 seconds from start to hearing the Windows start-up jingle. The laptop itself feels fast and responsive while doing everyday tasks such as listening to music, surfing the web etc. due to the lack of excessive bloatware eating at the 512 MB of RAM. Having 512MB of RAM is really helpful, which makes the computer a lot more responsive. I could play the Age of Empires 3 demo on this laptop on lower settings of the game, and it runs decently.
The laptop fans run quietly when doing basic tasks, but when you watch videos the fan will sometimes kick in and get a little noisy. The Aspire 3003 isn’t really suited to being used in the lap because the fan is on the bottom-right, causing that area to feel hot after a while, so it’s better to use this notebook on a flat desk or table to allow for proper cooling.
Here is a CPU-Z picture with processor information:
We use Super Pi to get a benchmark of processor speed. The Super Pi program (download: ftp://pi.super-computing.org/windows/super_pi.zip) simply forces the processor to calculate Pi to a selected number of digits of accuracy. Calculating to 2 million digits is our benchmark:
Comparison of notebooks using Super Pi to calculate Pi to 2 million digits (plugged in):
|Acer Aspire 3003LCi (1.8GHz AMD Sempron 3000+)||2m 7s|
|Fujitsu S6231 (1.6 GHz Pentium M)||2m 6s|
|HP ZE2113 (1.6 GHz, AMD Sempron 2800+)||2m 20s|
|IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)||1m 45s|
|Asus Z70A (1.6GHz Pentium M)||1m 53s|
|Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M)||1m 48s|
|Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)||1m 52s|
|Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Pentium M)||2m 10s|
|Sony VAIO S360 (1.7 GHz Pentium M)||1m 57s|
|HP DV4170us (Pentium M 1.73 GHz)||1m 53s|
|Sony VAIO S380 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)||1m 45s|
|Notebook||Futuremark 2004 Score|
|Acer Aspire 3003LCi (1.8GHz AMD Sempron 3000+)||2491|
|HP ZE2113 (1.6 GHz, AMD Sempron 2800+)||2557|
HD Tune Hard Drive benchmark results:
Keyboard and Touchpad:
The keyboard is a full-size keyboard, and it’s fairly easy to type on. There isn’t noticeable flex on the keyboard. The touchpad is easy to use, and if you download the newest touchpad drivers, you can scroll directly with the touchpad.
Keyboard and Touchpad (view larger image)
Acer 3003LCi touchpad
Input and Output Ports:
This laptop has 3 USB ports, 2 on the right, and one at the front. The front USB port is handy for USB drives etc. Sadly, there is no Firewire port, or S-Video port. Here are some pictures showing the various ports on each side of the laptop:
Front side view of Acer 3003 (view larger image)
Left side view of Acer 3003 (view larger image)
Right side view of Acer 3003 (view larger image)
Acer 3003 LCi back view (view larger image)
The laptop comes with a Broadcom 802.11G Wireless Adapter. This card has good reception, and works well. There is no Bluetooth, even though there is a button for it, but it doesn’t do anything at all.
This is one of the major downfalls of the laptop. The battery lasts only one hour when doing normal tasks, due to the 4-cell battery. Acer should’ve at least included a 6-cell battery instead of a 4-cell.
Operating System and Software:
This comes preloaded with Windows XP Home, and there is a lack of bloatware (which is good). Some software programs included are: NTI CD-Maker, Acer e-manager and Acer Arcade, which is an all-in-one entertainment software which lets you watch movies, listen to music and view pictures in one handy interface.
Unfortunately, I had to use the warranty service because there was a small crack on the back of the LCD. When I contacted Acer, they sent a Fed-Ex truck the next day, sent the laptop to their repair facility in Texas, and then contacted me when the laptop was repaired. I received my laptop back repaired, after 2 weeks. I was impressed by their quick service, but I haven’t tested out their customer support.
- Lame battery life
- So-so build quality
- Great Value
- Snappy Performance
- Nice Design
- Nice Warranty Department
- Convenient Built-in Microphone
I recommend this laptop to anyone who wants a value laptop that is snappy, responsive, and shouldn’t need initial upgrades after you’ve bought it. This laptop is a very nice choice for those who want a lot of value, without lackluster performance. Great job Acer for making such an excellent value laptop!
Pricing and Availability: Acer Aspire 3003LCi