I have just got an Acer 4501WLMi (UK model, 60GB HD, 512 MB, Pentium M 715 (1.5m ghz, 400 mhz FSB, 2mb l2 cache, 15.4 wxga, ATI Rad 9700 64MB, DvdDual, 802.11g) - here are my impressions after a couple of days.
Performance wise it is good. Just what I hoped for. I was apprehensive of getting an M-processor but they seem fine. That said, I don't do games really. No benchmarks done yet but it protects big Director files very quickly, much like a desktop Pentium 4 3ghz. That's not a scientific fact, just a basic opinion. And sorry that not all of you will understand what that means. On another note, I've just been moving a 40MB bmp around in Fireworks, and that drags around in slightly than less than realtime, but perfectly workable. By the way, where do you get benchmarking utilities from? Conclusion: happy (though was led to believe by flash movie on global.acer.com/products/notebook/tm4500/index.htm
site that the 4500 that this series had a more uptodate chip than the 715, namely the 755. Of course I should have checked with retailer but still its a bit of a con... how many other specs are false I wonder.)
Chassis: Looks good, the 'fresh folio' design is nice. THe screen is quite thin and because of the extra width of a widescreen machine it seems quite fragile but its probably not. The keyboard is not too warm by any stretch, nor the wrist pad area but its not cool either. The underbelly however is too warm. I often work on the lounge couch and I find the heat passed through to my thighs is too much, not comforting as has been suggested. Especially when you fall asleep and wake up at 3am, it literally feels like you've been on a longhaul flight. Conclusion: disappointed but will survive. No good work was ever done on the couch anyway.
Audio: In-built speakers are absolutely abysmal. As a user you may get used to it - poor audio tends to get more and more listenable over time. But if you want to play audio to someone else without the need for external speakers and without immediate embarassment, forget it. Very tinny. As bad as my 2 year old Vaio. And that's bad. I expected better for a machine so obviously conceived for a media user. Conclusion: speakers almost send this machine back to the shop.
Screen quality: the screen is good without being drop-dead gorgeous. Its what it says it is, ie. wxga. xga with the widescreen. BUt its easy on the eyes. My graphics files have been perfectly acceptable. If it were just for my use, I would trade the widescreen-xga for super-xga all day long though. My reasoning pre-purchase was that if i present to clients on this, some of them don't like 1400-size screens because things are too small, and I have found on some native 1400 machines (ie SXGA) that changing resolution to something lower just reduces the screen area on the screen, so not enlarging anything at all! Don't know if they all do that, so I got this one. Conclusion: happy considering...
Other: Wireless works very well. Its a good price I think (£940 inc vat), but suspect there may be better products for same money. Perhaps the 8002. Battery life seems v.good. Nice and quiet, even when DVD is playing. Not when importing from CD in itunes - that is noisy, but the noisier the faster so that's fine! YOu could easily use this in bed and not keep partner awake with fan noise. And after all, isn't that the real acid test of a laptop!
Any questions let me know, btw I am known for being v.hard to please!