You want power and portability, but you're not keen to shell out big bucks for bleeding edge technology. Say hello to a middle-of-the-road laptop.We've seen a string of exciting ultraportables lately, including the Air, and Lenovo's X300, and some very cheap, basic portables like the EeePC.
The 2920 is the notebook for everyone else. It's not particularly flashy, but it's a decent value, middle of the road option for those wanting a small screen.
To give you and idea of the vast range in sub-2Kg prices, one of the last notebooks we looked at was the Fujitsu Q2010, a sleek 1Kg unit with 12.1inch screen that blew us away with its design and costs $3,899. The Acer is a bit bigger, chunkier, and definitely heavier at 1.95Kg, but at $1799 we know which way we'd direct cash-strapped students.
The performance is also decent - in fact it's far more responsive than the Fujitsu, which does the job with an ultra-low voltage 1.2GHz Core Solo chip. By contrast the 2920 was responsive running Vista, coping with multiple apps where more expensive ultraportables start to lag.
Under the hood our test unit had DVD super-multi, Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 (2GHz), 2GB RAM (upgradable to 4GB), and Intel Media Accelerator X3100 for graphics.
Missing are some of the cutting edge features found in notebooks like the Q2010, and the X300, including built-in 3G wireless broadband, solid state drives (SSD), and a security chip for business (TPM).
At the other end of the market, the Acer offers some solid advantages over cheapies like the EeePC - 250GB hard drive, a 12.1inch screen, decent keyboard, and internal DVD.
Probably the Acer's biggest achilles heel is the design - it's not terrible, but the grey "ceramic" Gemstone style doesn't have the same sleek look as some of the competition. If you're not a fashionista when it comes to portables, then this is a good, reasonably light, no-frills option.